On Friday, March 1st, Fortnite players from all over the world gathered in Katowice, Poland for the 3-day tournament known formally as the ESL Katowice. The tournament was an event at the at the IEM Katowice 2019, an exposition put together by Intel. The first day of the event was dedicated to the solos tournament. Seven games were played throughout the day for a total prize pool 0f $100,000.
Of the 100 players attending, 18 were from North America while the rest hailed from Europe, Asia, or even South America. This was unique to the ESL Katowice, as tournaments in the past have been generally restricted to only NA or EU players. The Katowice was the third major international Fortnite tournament, following the style of TwitchCon and PaxWest, the finales of the Summer and Fall skirmishes respectively.
The tournament coincided perfectly with the start of season 8 which launched last Thursday. The update brought a complete renovation of the northeast portion of the map and cannons – the newest movement item in Fortnite. The new locations on the map are Lazy Lagoon, Sunny Steps, and a volcano. Epic seemingly is creating a contrast in Fortnite between ice and fire in this most recent update. The southwest and northeast corners of the game have created a juxtaposition that will undoubtedly be continued by Epic. As for the cannons, they have the ability to shoot a player up to 260 meters in any direction, making them an excellent tool for rotations and evading the storm.
Atlantis Khuna started game 1 with a nice edit play to confuse Mirwana and take control of one of his walls, eventually winning the fight. Khuna and other players have been forced to adapt to the nerf of the hand cannon by finding new creative ways to take walls from their opponents. After winning the fight, Khuna broke out the default dance to get the crowd going early in game 1.
The final circle of game 1 took place just outside of the Dusty Divot Diner. Two players, Ghost Bizzle and VP Jamside battled for the high ground while the rest of the lobby stayed close to the ground. Jamside eventually ran out of materials and was ironically picked off by Bizzle as the final circle began to move. Bizzle, who won the solos event at the Secret Skirmish, always makes sure to have lots of materials saved for endgame. He is constantly in a better position than other players, as he does not get greedy and chase kills (and waste materials) during the mid-game.
After branching out as far as he could with his remaining materials, Bizzle was able to spray down Lestream Skite and take game 1. Bizzle has seemingly benefitted from the cap placed on materials more than any other player. He is able to avoid conflicts and save materials in order to take absolute high ground when it matters most at the end of matches. Along with his patience, Bizzle trusts himself enough to get eliminations at the end of games and does not pressure himself during the mid-game as other players often do.
Game 2 started off with a revenge kill. Crippa, who was taken down by TSM Myth in game 1 via a stink bomb, returned the favor by sticking Myth with a clinger to start game 2. He struggled in the Fall and Summer Skirmishes after being an early pioneer of Fortnite. It was interesting to see him back on the mainstage with a new partner, TSM Clouds. Myth has generally played with bad partners, as his average partner veloscore is .33 in past skirmishes. You can learn more about my Fortnite ranking system.
Liquid Vivid had a nice play in the storm of game 2. He eliminated Aipha while he only had a dozen or so HP points left, taking advantage of the 50 HP gained from each elimination, Vivid was able to escape the gas safely.
Game 2 ended near the volcano however the final storms pushed the circle away from the new landmark. It was an excellent game for Solary Kinstaar as he entered the top ten with zero eliminations finished with five and a win. The Swiss gamer evaded a well-placed trap by Zexrow and managed to outplay him from the low ground and finish off the match with a pump-p90 combo.
Solary Nikof, another EU player and teammate of game 2 winner Kinstaar, started off game 3 with three quick kills in Retail Row.
The final circles of game 3 took players to the center of Loot Lake. Mitro, an EU player who has earned a name for himself in past Fortnite Tournaments, sat comfortably above the rest of the lobby at the start of the 8th storm circle. With 50+ builds, Mitro found himself in a position similar to Bizzle in game 1. While Mitro had great position, he lacked ammunition in all of his weapons besides his shotgun, making him a very one-dimensional player.
Mitro’s position was not good enough to make top for his lack of ammo, as he failed to creep down to the low ground and surprise his last opponent, GO Julez. Julez and Mitro exchanged shotgun blasts, but Julez came out victorious, claiming game 3 and six eliminations.
After a sub-par performance at the Secret Skirmish, Nate Hill looked poised to respond and perform well on day 1 of the ESL. This was not the case. Game 4 brought the first time the broadcast showed Nate, only ten seconds later he was eliminated after being trapped and “completely outplayed” by Vitality Keolys.
This was one of the most impressive plays of the day. Keolys took advantage of Nate Hill leaving his wall open for too long. He quickly fired his heavy sniper and placed both a wall and a trap while Nate Hill was playing around with his ramp edit. This was one of the fastest and most tactical plays yet in competitive Fortnite. The play was not novel in idea, but it was a metaphorical changeup compared to how players normally attempt to enter boxes.
Game 4 late-game took place at the remains of Tomato Temple, just north of the recently added volcano. Ghost Issa, an EU controller player, looked to have promising control of the lobby as he owned the absolute high ground with only 5 players remaining. The remaining minute was the most entertaining ending to a game thus far. CP Jarkos knocked Ghost Issa gliding down in the storm after rifting. He then jumped into the circle and fell perfectly onto a launch pad, only to be shotgunned in the face shortly after landing low ground. The game ended with Aimhero confusing INTZ Histtory by crouching behind an awkwardly placed wall between the center of the circle and storms edge. Aimhero simply waited for Histtory to be forced forward and shotgunned him in the face when he made the move.
Ghost Aydan, another console player for the Ghost clan had a great game 5. He picked up 5 eliminations before dying to the storm in 4th place. Aydan is generally known as an early game warrior. He typically will land Tilted, slay the opposing players there and then die in the mid-to-late game. He fell 22 spots in the last iteration of my Fortnite Power Rankings.
The game ended in a 1v1 between Skram and Lestream Blaxou. Skram played the high ground, waiting for Blaxou to challenge. The challenge never really came, as the game ended with Blaxou dying to storm while attempting to shoot out Skram from the single floor that was holding him from a fall damage death. A clip of the final minute can be viewed here.
Game 6 end game took place around one of the mountains near Dusty Divot. As soon as the 6th storm began closing nearly every player began to migrate to the top of the mountain.
The storm circle continued to move over the mountain. Players who had just launched or built up the mountain built right back down the other side. This aspect of Fortnite, how the map and building combine to create entirely unique challenges for players (such as having to traverse a mountain while being hunted down by 30 other players), is why the game is so exciting and will continue to be the premier Esports shooter.
The game ended with Lestream TheVic shotgunning Forward Ares as the two were forced into the storm at the very end of the game. Both players had no materials and TheVic landed a headshot before Ares was able to fire a shot back and ended game 6 for good.
As they usually do, the final game played out much more slowly than games 1-6 on Friday. The key storyline of game 7 was the close race for first place between Atlantis Magin and TSM Vinny1x. Entering the final game, Magin held a six-point lead over the recently signed TSM member, Vinny1x.
Both players stayed quiet through the midgame and made it to the top 25. Magin was taken out before Vinny1x; however, Vinny1x finished the match with more eliminations before falling to his death in an attempt to eliminate CP Jarkos.
CP Jarkos, who performed well in game 4, was kitted again late in game seven with a gold scar, blue pump, and gold RPG. While the loadout was impressive, Jarkos conserved his ammo and waited for the remaining players in the lobby to put themselves in an explodable position. Eventually, Jarkos found Zeek and Madzen unprotected and killed them both with a single splode.
Eventually, Jarkos was taken out by Meta SinOoh who picked up his RPG and eliminated E11 Crippa before being taken out by SEN Animal to lose the final game of day 1. The final minute can be viewed here.
|2||Atlantis Magin||316 points||$16,000|
|3||Solary Kinstaar||269 points||$12,000|
|4||Ghost Bizzle||255 points||$8,000|
|5||LeStream Skite||248 points||$6,000|
|6||SEN Animal||244 points||$6,000|
|7||NRG Zayt||244 points||$4,000|
|9||INTZ Histtory||224 points||$4,000|
|10||Forward Ares||223 points||$4,000|
|12||LeStream TheVic||220 points||$2,000|
|13||LeStream Blaxou||219 points||$2,000|
|14||DV1 Hoopek||208 points||$2,000|
|15||AGO Zeek||205 points||$2,000|
|16||Atlantis Mitr0||205 points||$2,000|
|17||Faze FunkBomb||205 points||$1,000|
|19||Liquid Vivid||196 points||$1,000|
|20||LeStream Vato||185 points||$1,000|
Recap and Upcoming News
Tomorrow I will follow up this article with two more – one to elaborate on all of the duos games from the past weekend and another to address general trends and changes in the competitive Fortnite scene as a result of ESL Katowice. This article will contain all of the general trends from each of the solos and duos events along with discussing certain player’s performance. Along with these two, I will update my Fortnite Power Rankings with the data from this weekend’s games and post an article or two discussing the changes in the rankings. I am also considering creating a EU rankings list – so if this is something you are interested in please let me know.
Have a great rest of your day, and I hope you enjoyed the ESL Katowice.