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No, we don’t know how they did it either. Esports’ Tottenham Hotspur are now overwhelming favourites to win IEM Katowice. Get caught up so you'reready for a weekend of amazing CS
For a while at the start of 2022, FaZe looked like they were starting an era.
But what powered them was an ability to win every single close match. Think of the infinite overtimes against G2 in Katowice in 2022, or the thrilling finish to Cologne’s grand final against NAVI.
That superpower has now deserted them.
Heroic were more clutch than them in Copenhagen, and Liquid were than them this week in Katowice.
Yes, Liquid: The perennial chokers managed to beat FaZe in a white-knuckle elimination best of three to qualify for playoffs. The grand slam will have to wait once again.
Joining them is Outsiders, who put together a lower bracket run against a NIP in turmoil, an OG that had ruggah standing in, and finishing it off by squeaking past Complexity in the last game of the group stage.
Complexity were the big underdog in Group B, putting together a run to match IHC’s in Group A. The first big scalp they took was MOUZ, before topping it off by eliminating fnatic as well.
Grim and hallzerk (who won 13 clutches in Poland) were popping off like never before, but even then Complexity lacked that something special that could have taken them past Outsiders. A 12-9 lead on the T-Side of Inferno looked to be enough but well, you know how it goes with NA by now.
In the winner’s games to decide who jumped straight to semi-finals, Heroic battered Vitality and G2 stomped NAVI — which the losers will put down to wanting an extra game in Spodek and the winners will say confirmed their hegemony.
If only there was a format that could fit eight playoffs teams, eh?
Illustration by ANDYJ.
We had a soft spot for Sprout.
They were like a mini Heroic, with refrezh calling and a high-potential trio in Staehr, lauNX, and Zyphon.
But maybe it wasn’t as sweet inside the team.
refrezh has announced — with a Twitlonger, obviously — that he no longer wants to IGL, citing his stutter as a key factor that was holding him back in intense situations.
He also wants his old lurky roles back, meaning Zyphon has been kicked to the curb to make room for a new caller.
At first, ex-FNATIC Rising captain Maze was given a go, but after a failed attempt to qualify for IEM Brazil he’s gone too.
Filling the IGL-sized hole for now will be coach BERRY, an old-school Danish IGL who already had more than a hand in how Sprout were playing.
He used to be HUNDEN’s angelic twin, developing talent so that they could reach heights his individual ability stopped him from reaching himself.
So, we wouldn’t expect any fireworks from him in the server. The 32-year-old is clearly not a permanent solution.
This will always be an exciting team with Staehr and lauNX — but Zyphon was a key part of why they were so threatening.
Rumours that he can be a bit toxic have been around since Zyphon was cut from Astralis Talent in 2021. But his removal this time round just seems like an unfortunate consequence of refrezh’s resignation.
If his attitude is not an issue, there are plenty of teams that could benefit from this. Cough, Astralis.
As for Sprout, not only do they now need to pluck an IGL out of nowhere, refrezh needs to become a star player again. Neither of those things are going to be easy.
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We got so inspired by IHC’s surprising Top 12 placement at Katowice that we had to know more.
So aizyesque called on expert Asia analysts and casters, TeaTime and YouM3, to school us all on IHC and the Asia scene in general.
We left plenty of time stamps in this juicy episode so you can skip around.
Some highlights include:
We hope you like it, and even if you don’t please consider liking and rating.
It helps us get amazing guests on the pod and leads to better content for you.
It didn’t take long for BIG to make changes after their early exit in the IEM Katowice group stage.
Just two days after getting the boot by Spirit, the German org announced that the top AWPer, syrsoN, is taking a step back from competing. The reason? Unknown.
This comes as the 3rd change to the roster in the last few months which doesn’t give us a whole lot of confidence about the team’s near future.
syrsoN has always been an integral part of BIG’s success since joining in early 2020 where they dominated during the online era. However, the German sniper could never seem to get to the same level on the stages of international CS, maybe this was part of the problem for BIG.
For now, BIG has called upon the 21 year old sniper Marcel “hyped” Köhn from the academy to take his place. BIG has been fortunate with their academy players being brought in as both Krimbo and s1n showed that they could hold their own outside of the academy leagues. Hopefully hyped can live up to the… hype. Sorry.
hyped stepped in to play the IEM Brazil closed qualifiers and after a rocky start losing 1-2 to Monte they found their feet and dominated the rest of there games 2-0 with hyped having an outstanding 1.46 rating vs HEET.
Later today BIG will be facing HONORIS for the final spot in Brazil. Hopefully they won’t crumble under the pressure, like someone else did…
G2 are an interesting case study. Just a few months ago, they sat at home like the rest of us as Outsiders won the Major. Coach XTQZZZ left, in what appeared to be a leap off of a sinking ship.
But something clicked at BLAST World Final. G2’s victory there heralded the start of a 17-0 LAN win streak, the third-best of all time. It’s more maps in a row than 2018-19 Astralis managed, more than 2015 fnatic, and beaten only by NIP’s 87-0 against farmers in 2012 and NAVI’s pre-war 19-0 run at the end of 2021.
They even had time to film the best skit of all time, while m0NESY went 13-0 against s1mple in their last match of the group stage. If that doesn’t make them the third-best team of all time, what does?
A grand slam? Qualifying for a Major? A truly prestige trophy?
Yeah, okay. We’ll calm down. G2 still have a way to go — even if 77% of Pickstop users think they’re going to win IEM Katowice at a canter.
It’s like they’ve won the event already, such is the community reaction to their 17-0 streak.
Unfortunately for them, they haven’t yet. Heroic prowl as the #2 team, yet to face G2 since their own victory at BLAST Fall Finals and with jabbi in career-best form.
Vitality and ZywOo have finally made it to Spodek after going out in groups in their last three attempts. And, the air quality in Katowice is looking good for the weekend so you can’t count them out either.
Liquid beat FaZe, with YEKINDAR finally returning to some semblance of form. Outsiders ruin a party like no other. NAVI still have s1mple, electroNic, b1t, and Perfecto.
This playoffs is STACKED. It’s 6 of the best 7 teams in the world, with only FaZe missing out.
If G2 continue their streak, it will have to be against the very best teams in the world and on one of Counter-Strike’s biggest stages.
But… if they do, the parity era will be broken. NiKo will have revenge for his three 2nd placed finishes in Katowice. HooXi will be free from the echoes of “How about today, dickhead” that go round and round in his head.
They’re so close to greatness they can touch it — but the last few yards are always the hardest. The parity era didn’t hear no bell.
😴 Sleeping at the wheel
🪦 Dead teams
🔙 To nostalgia