The sun sets on another IEM Katowice, and we have a winner.
The halls of the Spodek Arena have seen another epic Grand Final with the conclusion of this year’s Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, and although the Best of 5 didn’t go all five maps, it undoubtedly delivered for both fans of the winning team and CSGO aficionados. The winners take home the magnificent trophy, an eye-watering $400,000, automatic qualification for IEM Cologne 2023 and get on board to be in contention for the Intel Grand Slam — plus bragging rights. Meanwhile, the losers don’t quite get as many things, but do earn a neat $180,000.
If you missed out on the action, here’s your chance to catch up in the shortest amount of time.
IEM Katowice Grand Final: G2 Esports vs Heroic
A Grand Final between two teams who have dominated the tournament is always an exciting prospect, and this one delivered plenty of excitement. G2 hadn’t so much as dropped a map all tournament, and hadn’t lost a series since the Rio Major. Meanwhile, Heroic were playing their third Grand Final in four tournaments, and although they had looked a lot more mortal initially, they had bounced back to appear even more untouchable than G2 — if that is even possible. With two well-oiled machines locking horns, it would likely come down to the little details.
When G2 picked Nuke, they’d probably have expected to get much more on their attack than just 5, especially since they’d been racking up scores as high as 10 or even 12 on the same side of the map. However, once the switch was made, they were nearly flawless. Even though Heroic put up an excellent fight, there were some exploitable gaps in their gameplay, and even on an individual level they couldn’t measure up to G2’s players. In the end, all they got on the T-side was 2, losing 16-12.
If you were expecting to see more likely candidates as the MVPs, it was actually Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač who played some of the best CS of his life, including an Ace in a crucial round that set off the chain of events that landed G2 their victory. Justin “jks” Savage also deserves mention for his excellent support. Heroic players were mostly average, but Rasmus “sjuush” Beck’s failure to step up was one of the things that cost them the match.
Heroic’s first pick Mirage could and should have been theirs by all means. It was their game to lose when they were up 8-1 on the T-side, and thanks to some sloppy play by them and good decision-making from G2, Heroic ended up only getting 9 on the attack in the end. That could have been a winning score, but G2’s offense was just as deadly as they went up to an 8-1 lead on their own attack to make the score 14-10. Despite a 3-round streak by Heroic, G2 closed the game out 16-13.
The leader of the Danes, Casper “cadiaN” Møller played his heart out for a massive 25 kills while his teammate Martin “stavn” Lund had the highest Average Damage per Round in the game. Despite this, the audacious efforts of young Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov soared higher, and came at times when it mattered more despite a typically low performance from his captain Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen.
With talks of G2 achieving a clean sweep and a flawless tournament floating around, Heroic mounted a commendable attempt on Inferno. Starting off strong on the defense, they nevertheless leaked many rounds near the end for an even 8-7 half. On the attack, though, they finally managed to channel their true strength as they refused to let G2 consolidate either their morale or their economy, smashing past the French clan’s defenses to pick up 8 rounds out of 12 and winning the map 16-11.
This time, it was jks’ efforts that went in vain as René “TeSeS” Madsen continued his good form from the Semifinals. In a surprise turn of events, it was m0NESY who ended up at the bottom of the table, and not HooXi. In fact, it was shutting down m0NESY that enabled Heroic’s victory.
By the time Ancient rolled around, people were starting to wonder if Heroic could make a namesake comeback. Sadly for them, their opponents had other plans. After a strong defense that saw them put up 9 on the board, G2 was nigh-untouchable on the attack as they got 7 rounds and only allowed Heroic one. The Danes were completely outplayed, with the 16-7 result harkening back to the final map of the Rio Major where they suffered a similar defeat. G2 had triumphed, and the coveted IEM Katowice trophy was theirs.
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) February 12, 2023
There’s a reason why huNter- was chosen as the Player of the Tournament. The Bosnian was extremely consistent and had a whore highlight reel’s worth of hero moments. He sported an HLTV rating of 1.39 in the final match, with his captain HooXi stepping up to provide the highest ADR in the game. For Heroic, stavn’s miserable performance, combined with similarly weak outings from sjuush and TeSeS led to their defeat.
Katowice has ended, but ESL Pro League Season 17 begins in just a few days, so stay with us for analyses about the events gone by as well as previews and more about the upcoming tournament.