The good, bad, and ugly of IEM Katowice 2020

Mar 02 2020 8 min read
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IEM Katowice 2020 delivered on all fronts as the first big event of the 2020 CS:GO season. While the venue was empty due to coronavirus concerns, the livestreams were jam-packed with fans from all over the world witnessing history in the making. We saw tremendous performances from teams no one expected, and we saw giants of CS:GO topple on the main stage. 

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The good

Natus Vincere

The Na'Vi of old has reemerged onto the scene. Calling this squad the Na'Vi of old may not even be a good enough comparison. This Na'Vi came into IEM Katowice 2020 with limited practice and managed to beat down just about everyone they came in contact with. They did lose to fnatic in group stages, but they won when it mattered most. The only question mark that remains for Na'Vi is if they can beat a strong fnatic since that is the only team they lost to, and they never played them again at the tournament.

Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev has him boomstick in the AWP back, and man did he swing that damn thing in Katowice. He pulled off some of the craziest and most mind-boggling plays I have seen in a while and clutched rounds that should have never been possible. He finished IEM Katowice 2020 with a 1.33 HLTV rating and a +119 kill differential, making him the MVP of the event.

G2

The Frenchmen surprised the world at IEM Katowice 2020. We knew they were a capable team due to their performance at the BLAST Premier Spring Series, but I'm not sure anyone had them pegged as a team that we would see in the grand finals. While they did get smashed in the grand finals, their tournament up to that point was phenomenal. Let's also not forget that they didn't get crushed by anyone, though. Na'Vi was cracking skulls all over the place throughout the entire tournament. And, I don't think anyone could have put a stop to it.

The stand out player for me on G2 was Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač. Even in games where G2 were getting rocked, huNter- was trying to frag out and get something going, and in some cases, he did. He finished IEM Katowice 2020 with a 1.17 HLTV rating and a +23 kill differential. The Kovač gene may be something CS scientists need to look into cloning.

fnatic

fnatic honestly had a strong showing and earned their 3-4th placing in Katowice. fnatic managed to beat the champion Na'Vi squad in the group stage portion of the event,  but couldn't replicate it in semi-finals. Their losses were to Astralis and Na'Vi, arguably two of the best teams at the event.

Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson had a good performance throughout the tournament and showed why he is one of the best members on fnatic. He finished IEM Katowice 2020 with a 1.13 HLTV rating and a +46 kill differential.

Astralis

Placing Astralis correctly in this recap was a bit difficult for me. They ultimately ended up in the "good" category because if it were any other team, they would be here. Astralis is held to a much higher standard than other CS:GO teams given their immense amounts of success over the years. They had a much better event than their showing at BLAST Premier Spring Series, but it still isn't the same Astralis that CS fans are used to seeing. A 3-4th place finish is a massive improvement, and, hopefully, the Danes will find their form again because a top form Astralis versus a top form Na'Vi is going to be quite the spectacle.

Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Emil "Magisk" Reif finished at the top for their team with a 1.21 HLTV rating for IEM Katowice 2020.

100 Thieves

100 Thieves make the good category due to their vast improvement form the BLAST Premier Spring Series and how deep of a run they had in Katowice. 100 Thieves weren't viewed as the worst team to enter Poland, but they weren't considered as one of the top ones either. Their most notable victory was against Evil Geniuses, who were viewed as a top team coming into the event. I didn't have them making it to the quarter-finals, but they did.

The top player on the 100 Thieves squad was Justin "jks" Savage with a 1.15 HLTV rating and a +28 kill differential

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The bad

mousesports

mousesports were a favored team going into IEM Katowice 2020. They have won several recent events, most recent being ICE Challenge 2020, where they took down a very new Na'Vi. There only wins in Katowice were against TYLOO and MAD Lions, two of the weaker teams at the event, then lost to 100 Thieves in quarter-finals. This isn't the result I expected out of mousesports, and I would imagine they feel the same way about it.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid was another favorite coming into Katowice. They were the best team in the world for a three-month stint at the end of 2019. Their 2020 hasn't looked anywhere close to how the end of 2019 looked for them. They don't seem like their usual confident selves, and it's showing in the server. The most significant indicator of their struggles was the Evil Geniuses series. The current iteration of EG is not doing very well, and they still managed to take a map off Liquid and quite the number of rounds. I'm ready to see Liquid bounce back and be the powerhouse squad they were at the end of 2019, and I truly hope they can get back to that.

FaZe

FaZe is another team I had trouble categorizing correctly. They ultimately ended up in the bad category due to the sheer talent this roster promises, but failed to deliver on in Katowice. They had an abysmal 2019, but they showed significant improvement at the BLAST Premier Spring Series. FaZe probably weren't predicted to win the event by many, but I think they should have at least made it to the quarter-finals. But, I do acknowledge and realize they had to play Na'Vi twice, which is unfortunate for them. I very much doubt they are happy with a 7-8th placing, so I'll share in that with them.

MAD Lions

MAD Lions have been a pleasant surprise to the 2020 season. They came out of nowhere and began winning qualifiers when no one expected them to. I also think it's safe to say that they are the second-best team from Denmark at this point. MAD Lions is another team that can be great, but they have some things holding them back. As much as I dislike calling out individuals for a team's loss, Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen has to step it up for his teammates. He has done very poorly across the board for MAD Lions, and while a 4-stack can carry in qualifiers, they can't carry against the best teams in the world.

Ninja in Pyjamas

NiP continue to show progression in their development as a very new team. They had a pretty tough schedule, having to face off against Vitality and Na'Vi, but at least they won their game against Cloud9. A 9-12th placing, I'm sure, isn't what the Swedes wanted, and it's not very good, but at least they are overperforming other new teams. It will be fun to see what their ceiling will be with more time and preparation.

Renegades

Yes, I know Renegades had a last place finish, but honestly, I expected them to. Renegades had an extremely tough schedule, fnatic and FaZe, and I honestly didn't expect them to win either of those matches. Regardless though, last place is never what a team expects or wants to place. But, something to take away from the matches is that three of the four maps they played were fairly close games against teams they really didn't stand much of a chance against. Renegades is a fairly new squad and put up decent numbers against teams that probably should have run over them. 

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The ugly

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses is usually regarded as one of the best teams from North America and a contender for a top-five spot in the world. But, that is not the EG we have seen lately. They beat MAD Lions, but it wasn't nearly as convincing as it should have been, and they got taken to a map three. EG doesn't seem as cohesive as they did in 2019 and is having trouble finding their stride. But, with the first IEM event behind us and being three months into the 2020 season, they need to find their groove sooner rather than later.

Vitality

Vitality is another squad like Evil Geniuses that can't seem to find their 2019 form. HLTV's number one player for 2019 in Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut is struggling to pull his team up to play at his level, which makes watching him lose a little bitter. The rest of Vitality has to step up to the plate for them to compete at these top-tier events. If they don't, they will continue to exit from events just above the bottom.

Virtus.pro

Virtus.pro can't seem to find any success lately. They have been beaten down in just about every event they have been in, and it's becoming commonplace to expect them to be knocked out of everything with relative ease. This team surprised everyone when they were AVANGAR in 2019, but it seems more and more like that may have been the high point for this team as a five-person unit.

TYLOO

TYLOO seems flat since the exit of Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand, and reasonably so. BnTeT was the superstar of this lineup, and they are going to have a hard time trying to fill his shoes. The circumstances in which TYLOO found themselves at IEM Katowice 2020 were a bit unprecedented, so they may have lacked proper preparation coming into it. Regardless though, a 13-16th placing at a 16 team tournament will never be a good thing despite the reasons that may be used to soften it.

Cloud9

Cloud9 had a great start to the 2020 season. But, as the season has gone on, that strong start has dwindled. An early exit at DreamHack Open Leipzig 2020 was the start of it, and now IEM Katowice 2020 is a continuation of it. They did play Astralis in their opener, a match I would never predict them to win, but the match against NiP is one that should have been much closer than it was. The Cloud9 doubters were silenced at first, but now that we see them against top tier competition, they are growing in volume once more. 

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