This past weekend the Legends Stage of the IEM Katowice Major 2019 finished up. Now, the teams along with the first round matches for the playoffs are all set. The Champions stage give teams an opportunity to engrave their names in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive history. What teams have a legitimate shot to win it all? Who will finish on top?
First Round Match-Ups (Quarterfinals)
Astralis vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP)
The tournament favorite Astralis will be facing NiP In the first round of the Champions stage. Astralis is one of two teams to advance to this stage with a 3-0 record. On the other hand, NiP struggled to make it into the Champions stage. They do not look like a team can compete for the championship let alone beat Astralis in a best of three. I think Astralis will sweep NiP and win the series 2-0.
Renegades vs. MiBR
MiBR versus Renegades is the only first round match up that I see any potential for an upset. The “boys” from Australia are playing some great Counter-Strike at the moment. Justin “jks” Savage has been playing exceptionally. Renegades seem to be getting hot at the right time. This MiBR team could very well lose to Renegades.
The reason for this is because MiBR struggled against what some would call a weak Cloud9 team. Granted that was the first match they ever played as a roster of five, many find concer with MiBR’s ability to close out maps. This series will be close and Renegades could quite possibly walk away victorious. However, with the roster and amount of talent MiBR have, this author predicts MiBR will take the series 2-1.
Natus Vincere vs. FaZe Clan
After losing Kerrigan and adding Dauren “Adren” Kystaubayev this FaZe team does not look the same. Not only is it a different roster, but FaZe are not playing to their full potential. Olof “Olofmeister” Kajbjer did not play well during the Legends stage and FaZe will need him to play like the star he is in order to beat Natus Vincere.
Natus Vincere’s only loss during the Legends stage came from Team Liquid. Natus Vincere went on to be clicking on all cylinders as they dominated AVANGAR and G2. They also proved that they can win close matches as they beat Team Vitality in overtime 25-22. When it comes to this series, a good looking Natus Vincere will 2-0 a sloppy and inconsistent FaZe team.
Team Liquid vs. ENCE
ENCE made it here by finishing 3-2 in the Legends stage, while Team Liquid dominated the competition and finished with a 3-0 record. ENCE has talent but perhaps not enough to compete with one of the top two teams in the world. Team Liquid just has too much. The whole Liquid roster is made up of players who can frag out. In the end, the raw talent on Team Liquid’s roster will be too much for ENCE to overcome. Team Liquid will win the series 2-0.
The Quarterfinals of IEM Katowice 2019 Major start on February 28. When looking at these matches, it seems that there is only room for one upset to happen. The only team that seems capable of pulling off an upset going into the quarterfinals is Renegades. MiBR versus Renegades will likely be the closest series of the quarterfinals. The other matches you can just assume the higher seeded team will win.
Good luck to all the teams and good luck on your Pick Em’s!