The Intel Extreme Masters XIII Katowice Major 2019 has dominated headlines the past few weeks. So let’s start there in today’s weekly preview/review we’ll look at some action you may have missed.
Danes dominate in Katowice
If the aim for the top teams in CS:GO was to wrestle the crown from Astralis, well, they have a long way to go. After shaky moments, Astralis looked utterly dominant in crunch time.
Having secured a Legend Status, they entered the tournament at the New Legends Stage along with eight others (Natus Vincere, MiBR, Team Liquid, complexity Gaming, BIG, HellRaisers, and FaZe Clan). Then, there were the eight qualifiers from the New Challengers Stage (NRG Esports, Renegades, ENCE, Team Vitality, AVANGAR, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Cloud9, and G2 Esports).
How Astralis cleaned up
From the moment they entered the tournament, Astralis looked like the champions-elect. They defeated compLexity Gaming in their first game, then Cloud9 in their second, and then rounded that off with a victory over Renegades in the third, a result which left them top of the table and with a massive +45 Round Difference. To put that in perspective, the other top seed, Team Liquid, won all their three games and only had a +16 Round Difference.
Having made short work of that stage, Astralis’ romp through the tournament continued. Next up were Ninjas in Pyjamas, who were thumped 16-2 in the first game of the best-of-three contest. They put up a better fight in losing the second 16-14.
In the semifinals, MiBR threatened to cause an upset in the first game before Astralis showed their class. There, they claimed a 16-14 win and followed that with a 16-7 win in the second to earn a place in the final.
Here they would meet the surprise team of the tournament: ENCE. The European team had come through the New Challengers Stage and the New Legends Stage to earn a spot in the playoffs. They then defeated two big name teams in Team Liquid and Natus Vincere.
Could the new boys unseat of the old legends? The answer was an unequivocal “no.” Astralis landed the first map 16-11 and then rounded off the victory with an even more impressive 16-4 victory.
In total, the champs played 265 rounds of matches, winning 177 and losing just 88. Second place ENCE, in comparison, played a total of 605 rounds, winning 303 and losing 302.
This win was also the first win of the new Intel Grand Slam season. Of course, last year, Astralis claimed a $1,000,000 bonus prize for winning four tournaments out of 10 successive Intel Grand Slam events.
We’ll see whether Astralis decide to compete in the next IEM event, which takes place in Sydney, Australia in April. The team has, in the past, elected not to travel to some of the more far-flung world events. That may well give a chance to the likes of FaZe Clan, MiBR, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Renegades to get on the board with their first Intel Grand Slam win of the new season.
World Electronic Sports Games 2018 preview
One of the biggest esports events of the year gets underway this weekend in Chongqing, China — the World Electronic Sports Games 2018.
The contest has been a huge success over the last couple of years. Last year’s range of tournaments saw combined prize pools of $5.5 million. Sixty-eight thousand players represented 126 nations.
We’re looking at six different esports this year:
In addition, there will be separate tournaments run for women players in both CS:GO and Hearthstone.
The action unfolds March 7-17. The Olympic Stadium will host the Grand Finals in front of a massive crowd.
The most lucrative tournaments are the CS:GO and Dota 2 events. Both boast confirmed prize pools of $890,000 apiece.
While many of the top Dota 2 teams won’t be in attendance, there are some more familiar names in the lineup for CS:GO. These include Fnatic, MiBR, Ninjas in Pyjamas, G2 Esports, AGO Esports, OpTic Gaming, TNC Pro Team, and Team Singularity.
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