IEM Katowice Semifinals Recap

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IEM Katowice Semifinals Recap

All the action from the penultimate day of the IEM Katowice Semifinals.

As this year’s IEM Katowice nears its hopefully climactic finish, we glance back at the Semifinals just gone by. Danish dominators Heroic took on what was essentially their bogey team in Ukraine’s Natus Vincere, while resourceful American underdogs Team Liquid locked horns with in-form world beaters G2. While they were both rather one-sided and didn’t provide as much end-to-end excitement as we’d hoped for, they were certainly high-quality games. If you couldn’t watch the matches live, here’s your chance to catch up before the Best of 5 Grand Finals begins. 

Katowice 2023 Playoff bracket semifinal_ ESL

Copyright: ESL

IEM Katowice Semifinal 1: Heroic vs Natus Vincere 

After being booted out of tournament after tournament by Na’ Vi, Heroic has finally reached a stage where they aren’t just as good as the 2021 Stockholm Major champions, but are the favorites to win against them. However, odds don’t decide the results, so they’d have their work cut out for them. Na’ Vi meanwhile, had shown signs of strain within its core group, and with a newcomer struggling to fit in, are far from the dominant force they used to be. 


Na’ Vi picking Inferno is nothing out of the ordinary — the Ukrainians have beaten just about every big team on the Italy-based map, and Heroic themselves have succumbed to them in the same location. However, the BLAST Premier Fall Finals champions dominated the game early on, going up to an 8-2 lead on the CT-side. Na’ Vi fought back, but still had to settle for an average 9-6 attacking half. After the switch, Heroic barely gave their opponents any chance, blazing past them and onto victory within just 9 rounds for an emphatic 16-8 triumph.

Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard once again proved the importance of his recruitment by Heroic by topping the charts, but team veteran René “TeSeS” Madsen wasn’t far behind with his own efforts on the rifle. On the other hand, most if not all the Na’ Vi players were absolutely average, if not below that.


On to Heroic’s pick of Mirage, and the Danes once again proved just how powerful they are at the moment. Despite losing the Pistol Round on the attack, Heroic went on to mount a massive 11 rounds in the half, destroying Na’ Vi on eco, half-buy and full buy rounds to assert their dominance. The CIS side did put up a fight once they were on the attack, but they weren’t even in the same league as their Western European counterparts, and capitulated shortly after for another easy 16-8 win for Heroic that pushed them forward into the Grand Final. 

TeSeS was once again the man in form for the Danes, with team leader Casper “cadiaN” Møller following closely behind along with the aforementioned jabbi. Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy was brilliant for Na’ Vi, but he was the exception by far, with no other players so much as reaching statistical parity. Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi was by far the biggest disappointment with a performance rated 0.60 on HLTV. 

IEM Katowice Semifinal 2: G2 Esports vs Team Liquid

G2’s incredible form has brought them to the brink of winning a second S-Tier tournament in less than 60 days. The French organization, with its mix of Eastern-European, Danish and Australian talent are a force of nature in the esport right now. Liquid, on the other hand, are very much mortal, and the American side barely managed to squeeze into the Playoffs through the lower bracket. However, given their illustrious history, they can never really be ruled out. 


Liquid have had a tremendous amount of success on Anubis, most recently beating FaZe to make it into this Semifinal. They even put up a strong performance on the defense, putting up a commendable 8 rounds on the weaker CT-side of the T-sided map. However, all that changed when they went on the attack as G2 put up a veritable wall. Try as they might, they could only muster two rounds on the T-side, and lost 16-10. 

Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski was an absolute beast for Liquid as usual, but his teammates were far, far behind. As for G2, Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, Rasmus “huNter-” Nielsen, Justin “jks” Savage and Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov were all on point, carrying their leader Nemanja “HooXi” Kovač as they’re used to by now.


G2’s map Inferno was, indeed, G2’s map as they completely dominated Liquid during the former’s attacking half for a commanding 11-4 half. They quickly went up to 13-4 once on the other side, but Liquid weren’t going out without a fight. The Americans took 7 of the next 8 rounds to plant a grain of doubt in the back of G2 minds, but unfortunately for them, it just wasn’t to be as G2 took two on the trot to finish the game and book their spot in the Grand Final alongside Heroic.

It was the unlikely hero huNter- who stepped up big for G2 with strong support from his cousin NiKo. They needed such a performance, because Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis and Nick “nitr0” Cannella were firing on all cylinders for Liquid. Sadly for those two, however, EliGE was completely off his game in the last map. 

Make sure to join us again for the recap of the Grand Final once it’s over, and do catch our overviews and analyses of the tournament in the days to come.

IEM Katowice Semifinals Recap
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.