Photos: By Radoslaw “MAKKU” Makuch and Josip “brcho” Brtan for HLTV
The second day of the IEM Katowice 2019 major saw 2 teams advance to the New Champions stage undefeated, to play in front of the polish crowd at Spodek Arena. With promotions also cam eliminations, however, as we also said goodbye to 2 teams, that will have to go through the hell of qualifiers once more for the next major as they didn’t win a single matchup in the stage. We take a look at all the matchups here from day 2.
Day 2 commences at IEM Katowice
Kicking off day 2 would be the 1-1 brackets, where two once mighty teams that have fallen short lately would face off; MIBR and G2. Set to battle on Inferno, a map which MIBR had been wrecked on by Cloud9 yesterday, odds did look like they were in the Frenchmens favor. Despite big clutches from french prospects Lucas “Lucky” Chastang and Audric “JaCkz” Jug, a vintage performance from Marcelo “coldzera” David would see the Brazilians close the map 16-12.
On the other round 3 game, FaZe would face AVANGAR on Mirage. With Nikola “NiKo” Kovac not showing his usual superstar performance, the Kazakhstani side would be able to seize momentum, ending the half 8-7 in their favor. Thanks to Ali “Jame” Djami leading the way for AVANGAR once more, they would stun FaZe 16-13, sending the superstar team down into the “do-or-die” bracket.
Up next would be Vitality meeting Cloud9 on Mirage, the NA team coming off a resounding 16-0 defeat the day before at the hands of Astralis. Despite two big pistol round plays from youngster Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro, Vitality would constantly be a thorn in the side breaking C9’s economy, securing a 13-9 lead which wouldn’t faze Cloud9 as they seized several rounds before finally getting beaten at the finish line by the Frenchmen, sealing the deal 16-14 for Vitality.
On Overpass once more, NiP would this time battle it out with HellRaisers. Starting off strong with a 4-0 lead, HellRaisers would finally fight back, yet thanks to impressive plays from young Swede Fredrik “REZ” Sterner, HellRaisers would not be able to get anything going as the Ninjas would run away with the map 16-5.
BIG fall short
The first elimination matchup series of the day would see BIG against an oddly underperforming ENCE. The Finnish side would start off Dust 2 on the back foot 5-10 and BIG weren’t looking to stop as they didn’t let the Finns get a foot in the game, closing the first map 16-5.
On Train, BIG was once again in the lead, as big plays from Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz and Tizian “tiziaN” Felbusch would bring them to a 13-9 scoreline. Hope was not lost for ENCE as their young talent Jere “sergej” Salo would go huge in multiple clutch situations, evening the scoreline to 14-14. The Finns would steal away the map 16-14 by the skin of their teeth, forcing the series into the decider, Overpass.
Overpass would finally see ENCE in the lead for once, as they strung together 6 rounds before BIG could finally answer back. Despite a clutch from BIG captain Fatih “gob b” Dayik, the Germans would lose the half 11-4. Although they gained a few rounds to get back on the board, ENCE was too big of a mouthful and they would win Overpass 16-10, eliminating BIG from the major. This will be a heartbreak for the Germans as they will have to qualify all over again if they are to reach the next major at Berlin.
The Stars align at IEM Katowice
The second BO3 would be a promotion series as Australian dream team Renegades would battle it out against Danish powerhouse Astralis. The first map would be Mirage and pivotal for a Renegades series win as Astralis own pick would be Nuke, their playground. Astralis met no resistance in the first half as they sped towards a 12-3 half. After trading rounds back and forth, Renegades would put up a stalwart defense as they won 10 rounds straight to force overtime. The Aussies would reign supreme in overtime, as they closed Mirage 19-17.
Despite coming off strong 6-2 on Nuke, Astralis would not be able to contain a well-playing Renegades that would end the half 9-6 in their favor. The second half would start fantastic for the Danes as Nicolai “device” Reedtz would get a pistol quad kill. Astralis would not let Renegades gain any momentum as they beat them 16-9, not letting the Aussies get a single round on the board on the second half.
Going into the decider, there was no more juice left in the Aussie tank, as Astralis picked the Renegades apart, ending the first half on Inferno on a 13-2 deficit. The Renegades would not come back, as Astralis quickly finished the series 2-1 with a 16-2 scoreline.
The second promotion matchup series would see two powerhouses clash. NaVi would start off strong on their own map pick with 3 consecutive rounds, but back and forward affairs would see Team Liquid take the half 9-6. With the lead going back and forward between the two teams, a double entry from Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken would see the scoreline tied, and Liquid would go on to clinch victory from NaVi’s clutches as they went 1-0 with a 16-14 scoreline.
On Dust 2, NaVi would be able to take control of the economy mid-game, but due to hectic rounds gone to Liquid’s side through force buys, the half would end 8-7 in Liquid’s favor. Twistzz would once again be a game changer as a triple kill in the pistol round would pave the way for Liquid taking away the map 16-9, securing their New Champions spot undefeated.
NRG out of energy
The final matchup of the day would either see compLexity lose their major spot after finally gaining relevance once more after their phenomenal run last year at the London Major, or see a heartbreaking end to NRG’s Cinderella run. On NRG’s pick on Nuke, the first half would end 8-7 in NRG’s favor before coL answered back, suddenly sitting 14-10. Thanks to big plays from Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte, NRG would begin mounting their comeback forcing the game into overtime not once, but twice. A 1v3 from Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz would see coL steal away NRG’s map pick 22-19.
Cache would proceed in much the same way like Nuke, ending the first half 8-7. Thanks to a pistol quad from Ricardo “Rickeh” Mulholland, compLexity would start the second half strong, and despite NRG grabbing matchpoint, coL would manage to force overtime. In the end, a 1v3 from Shahzeb “Shahzam” Khan would see compLexity survive another day in Katowice, at the expense of NRG, who will have to go through the major qualifiers again.