After two weeks of competitive Counter-Strike, the knock-out stage of the IEM Katowice 2019 Major is finally upon us. We’ve ranked the surviving teams in order of how likely it is that they will lift the trophy this Sunday.
The Finnish squad has been given the most challenging route to the final and would need to beat two of the top five teams in the world to get there. While ENCE boasts an exciting playstyle and excellent teamwork, they have historically struggled to beat elite teams. While one upset is possible, it is unlikely that they can do it three times.
Renegades are the weakest team on paper at this stage of the tournament, but an impressive run in the group stage could bode well for the Aussies. They were able to upset FaZe and pushed Astralis to three maps, though a shocking performance in map three indicates that Renegades are likely to struggle now that the best-of-ones are behind us.
6. FaZe Clan
FaZe has shown that they are still capable, but their performances at this major have been undermined by their lack of discipline. If all of their key players perform, FaZe can overcome anyone. All too often though, they fall short of the mark and FaZe were humbled by some much weaker teams in the previous stage.
5. Made In Brazil
MIBR occupy a similar space to FaZe; the Brazilians certainly have the talent to beat anyone but struggled in the group stages. Part of this may be due to the recent return of TACO and felps who will be playing in their first tournament in the MIBR organisation. Given time, the fivesome could return to their winning ways of 2017, but they aren’t quite ready yet.
4. Ninjas in Pyjamas
A potential dark horse, NiP could be the team that knocks out Astralis in Katowice. The Swedes have a good record against Astralis, though one could argue that the current version of Astralis is a very different beast to their previous incarnations. Plus, even if they can master the Danes, NiP may struggle against the teams they would face in the later stages.
3. Natus Vincere
NaVi is a beautiful mess. Despite clear internal problems which ooze onto the server, NaVi remains one of the best teams in the world. S1mple can win on his own and is bolstered by electronic and flamie’s talents. The CIS team is capable of winning the tournament through sheer talent and firepower, but discord within the organisation makes that a tall order.
2. Team Liquid
A best-of-three victory over NaVi in the group stage cements Liquid’s position and the pretenders to Astralis’ throne. Equally, Liquid proved their capability of beating Astralis in best of three situations at iBUYPOWER in January. Beating the Danes on the grand stage of the Major might prove too much for Team Liquid, however.
Astralis closed out 2018 by winning four LAN events in a row and have bagged over $2million in prize money since the August player break. They’ve shown signed of ring rust at the start of 2019, they dropped a map against Renegades and lost a best-of-three to Liquid at their last tournament, but they are still undoubtedly the team to beat in Katowice.