The IEM Katowice 2023 has already proven to be a tournament full of surprises, as is often the case with the start of a new season. One team, however, is standing out and making waves. ICH has made history by advancing from the Play-In stage and surprising everyone by defeating Cloud9.
Next, the Mongolian team is going to face off FaZe, the former champions, in the Lower Bracket Semifinal. Despite the Americans being favored, the nature of competitive gaming means that anything can happen. This has already been proven with the four unexpected upsets that have taken place during the Play-In and Group stages of the tournament.
Play-In Stage: Lower Bracket
The final showdown of the Play-In phase at IEM Katowice saw eight lower bracket teams battling it out for a chance to stay in the tournament. Among these matches, two teams deserve special recognition: IHC Esports and Sprout. IHC Esports emerged victorious after a grueling three-map battle against FURIA, while Sprout pulled off a surprise upset by defeating Evil Geniuses.
FURIA vs. IHC
- Nuke (14-16)
- Mirage (19-16)
- Anubis (10-16)
The opening map in the series was won by IHC Esports with a score of 16-14. Despite a slow start, they were able to rally on the CT side and secure the win. Skor led the way with 23 kills and a 1.26 rating. The second map saw both teams evenly matched. Although the Mongolians managed to get to Map Point first, FURIA made a comeback, and finished the map 19-16 on the scoreboard.
The final map, Anubis, saw IHC once again make a comeback after trailing 9-6. Their T-side was outstanding, allowing FURIA only one round win in the half. Even though Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato was highest rated at 1.59, it was not enough to secure the win for his team.
Sprout vs. EG
- Ancient (16-14)
- Mirage (16-13)
Sprout came out as the better squad in this matchup, as they took the series 2-0. It is worth noting that both CS:GO rosters have recently undergone changes within their organizations.
In the first map, EG started off strong with a 9-6 lead in the first half, but Sprout forced a remarkable comeback on their CT side to secure the 16-14 victory. The second map, Mirage, saw EG dominate the first half with a 10-5 lead. However, Sprout refused to give up and fought back by winning 8 straight T-side rounds, and eventually taking the map 16-13.
Group A: Upper Bracket
The top of Group A is almost set and attention turns to the lower bracket. The highlight of the group will be the highly anticipated match between G2 and NaVi. The samurai continue with the arrow up and have reached the last match of the group after beating BIG and FaZe. Meanwhile, the s1mple’s team has also faced large teams such as Cloud9 and Team Liquid, but it has solved them without many problems.
If you’re interested in predictions, head-to-head matchups, and the latest results for G2 vs. NaVi, check out the https://cover.gg/ website. And below is a recap of the standout match between G2 and FaZe, where the samurai took on former champions in a commanding fashion.
FaZe Clan vs. G2 Esports
- Nuke (14-16)
- Ancient (7-16)
On Map 1, G2 got off to a strong start in the first half, ending it with a 9-6 lead. Although the American organization managed to level the score at 11-11, they briefly took the lead by one round in the 25th round. G2, however, regained control and secured the map 16-14 with huNter leading the kills with 26.
On the second map, FaZe couldn’t keep up with G2. The latter dominated the first half 10-5 and completed a dominant T-side to win 16-7. This time, it was NiKo who led the match with 24 kills and a 1.48 rating.
Group A: Lower Bracket
The elimination round of the Quarterfinals in the Lower Bracket saw the end of Group A and the departure of BIG and Cloud 9 from the tournament. Despite putting up a strong battle, BIG was unable to secure a win on the deciding map, Anubis, against Team Spirit. Meanwhile, IHC caused an upset by taking down the opponent 2-0 in their match. Here’s a recap of this unexpected outcome.
Cloud 9 vs. IHC
- Inferno (10-16)
- Mirage (14-16)
Cloud9 managed to get the lead in Map 1, but IHC Esports mounted a comeback and dominated on their CT-side to secure the map 16-10. Despite a valiant effort from C9 in the second map, they were unable to overcome IHC and lost 15-14. A clutch 1v2 win from Techno sealed the victory for the Mongolian team.