IEM Katowice 2020 is right around the corner, and 16 CS:GO teams from around the world are looking towards the event with deserved anticipation. Katowice will be first big event of the year and with it comes a shot at $500,000 USD.
In addition, this is the first event of the year that attributes to the Season 3 of the Intel Grand Slam. With so much on the line, this really is one tune into. And the prize pool and start of the Grand Slam only just scratch the surface as to why.
High Profile Contenders
The two biggest contenders in the event are easily Fnatic and mousesports. Both of these rosters have made a fantastic comeback in the last half of 2019. mousesports dominated the December, with Fnatic not so far behind them. Fnatic has yet to compete in 2020, and they closed out their year with overall positive notes. Whilst other teams have been busy with DreamHack and BLAST Premier Events, Fnatic has kept quiet and honed their craft.
As for mousesports, they continue their spree of successful LANs. Their first event of the year at event Ice Challenge was a success, and now their attention turns to the IEM Katowice 2020 trophy. With the current form they’re in, this is their time to win a top-tier trophy as a pundit’s pick, rather than underdog’s longshot.
Time to step up
2020 has already seen quite the stir in the CS:GO power rankings. In November, we profiled the top five teams in the world. And Whilst some did fall off a little bit, they were still clearly a peg above the rest. But that seems to have changed. The titans of Astralis, Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves all are not themselves.
It is no secret that player breaks can stop teams momentum. It was only in August we saw Team Liquid lose their major after the player break cut short their era. After the most recent one for Christmas, history repeated itself. Astralis finished fourth place at the Blast Group stage, and 100 Thieves and EG didn’t get out of group C either. It is quite concerning that teams like this can drop off a cliff, even if it is just for a single event. These three teams will be attending the IEM Katowice 2020 and will need to show that the BLAST Premier was just a warmup for this.
Read More: Blast Premier – The story so far.
A number of teams at this event look more than ready to cause upset. It was this time last year that ENCE managed to break all expectations and finish second at the Katowice 2019 major. Newcomers like MAD_Lions are so ready to give it their all and cause upsets along the way. They managed to take a game off mousepsorts at ICE Challenge, and the roster seems like they are working well together. This is the event they can really get that LAN experience and take down teams that are struggling.
On the other hand, FaZe Clan are on the up. The story for them has been that they can get a good LAN performance here and there with their new roster, but nothing seems to push them back into the top echelons just yet. However, their domination in the BLAST Premier Group A is the sign we need to get invested. There has never been a better time for these guys to show up. Their first game is against Na’Vi – a good team to set the ball rolling from the get go.
IEM Katowice 2020 kicks off tomorrow and will bring a week of solid CS:GO action. This is the first big event of they year. With most reasons outlined, you cannot miss a second of this LAN.
Featured Image via ESL