ESL is hosting the first CS:GO Major of 2019, and it is in the legendary city of Katowice. IEM Katowice will be ESL’s first Major since ESL One Cologne 2016, and the third Major in Katowice. In the past, CS:GO Majors have been given to other tournament organizers, such as ELEAGUE and PGL.
John Bonini, Vice President and General Manager of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel Corporation states:
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice brings together the top gamers, fans and technology like no other esports competition can and continues to surpass expectations year after year. With the 2019 tournament featuring a Valve Major Championship for CS:GO, we look forward to delivering even more, from the elite competition to the best gaming technology for fans in the arena and those tuning in around the world.
— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) July 12, 2018
Michal Blicharz, the Vice President of Pro Gaming at ESL also says:
IEM Katowice has grown to become one of the most iconic esports tournaments in the world. I expect that coupling the heritage of IEM with the gravity of a Valve Major Championship will elevate the tournament to what will be the most incredible IEM event in history.
Since this is a Major, 24 teams will come to compete for the crown, over three weeks of games. IEM Katowice will last from February 14 and March 3, 2019, a teams will battle it out for a share of the $1,000,000 prize pool. They are also looking for a win counting towards the Intel Grand Slam title, where the first team to win four premier events wins $1,000,000.
The Major breaks down like so:
- February 14 – 20: The Challengers Stage puts 16 teams against each other. The ESL Arena in Katowice will hold the competition.
- February 21 – 24: The Legends Stage takes place at the International Congress Center (ICC). The top eight teams from the Challengers Stage and the top eight teams of the previous Major will fight for a spot in the playoffs.
- February 28 – March 3: The Champions Stage is the place of the final competition. It is a four-day playoff taking place inside the Spodek Arena, to crown a new IEM champion.
The last time Katowice was host to a Valve Major tournament, it was in 2015. That year, Fnatic would dominate over the competition. They would only lost one game the whole tournament, and end up winning against Ninjas in Pyjamas. Their lineup would actually be the legendary squad of Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, Jesper “JW” Wecksell, Markus “pronax” Wallsten, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson and Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson. Currently, Olofmeister and Pronax have been able to change teams. However, Flusha, JW and KRiMZ all still remain on the team to this day.
The Competition for 2019
Speaking of teams returning to Katowice, the competition will be stiff this time around. We expect organizations such as Astralis, FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, Cloud9 and Team Liquid to all be participating. FaZe Clan are looking to secure their a Major win in the next three major events. However, if they fail, they will have to win Katowice to capture the Intel Grand Slam title. Astralis, who many were considering the best in Counter Strike, were upset by Natus Vincere at ESL One Cologne. They will also want to prove their worth amongst the best teams in the world.
IEM Katowice promises to be another exciting venue for one of the biggest tournaments in Counter Strike. It looks like it will be an event you will not want to miss!
What do you think of Katowice hosting a Major in 2019? Let us know how excited you are in the comments below! For more Counter Strike content, check us out here!