What group of death?

Harry Richards
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Source: ESL / G2

Group A in IEM Katowice, by any metric, is stacked.

It has NAVI and FaZe, the two best teams of 2022. G2, many people’s #1, are also here, along with top ten teams Liquid, Cloud9, and Spirit.

After that, you’ve got upset-magnets BIG and a red-hot IHC who just eliminated FURIA.

Even the best teams in the world would be forgiven for dropping a map or two in this group.

For G2, however, standards weren’t allowed to slip. We can laugh at NiKo for being the best group stage player of all time, but boy is he good in these group stages.

A swift 2-0 over BIG set G2 up with a fight against FaZe. Nuke delivered, a pulsating 16-14 win for G2 but Ancient was barely a fight at all — G2 grabbed another 2-0 to make it 12 maps in a row undefeated, and nine best of threes.

When Outsiders won the Major, and even when Heroic won in Copenhagen, people weren’t convinced we were witnessing the start of a new era. But this G2 team… everything just makes sense.

Something scary clicked in Abu Dhabi, and now we just have to wait to see if they can do the same in the Spodek Arena.

Elsewhere in Group A, NAVI dispatched of Cloud9 and Liquid to shake off an unconvincing BLAST group. They’ve made many a role change, but it’s still the same devastating quartet of fraggers in the server.

While that’s the case, you’d be a fool to count them out. If B1ad3 thinks npl is the solution, then so do we.

February 5, 2023

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