The Spodek Arena will be filled once again by the ever so passionate Polish eSports fans, potentially surpassing the amazing crowd we saw back in 2014 during the Valve supported the major event. Of course, times have changed and now the bigger organizations can easily match the previous major standards set by Valve, which admittedly was not that high to begin with. IEM Katowice 2016 will be leading the new standard of a big CS GO event, boasting $250,000+ in prize money and 12 elite teams willing to lay it all down for the glory.
There will be 2 groups sporting 6 teams each and will kick off with the not so great B01 round robin group stage, which we will be covering today. The winners from these groups will advance to the semifinals, but those who lag behind in second and third place will fight it out once again in the quarter finals to remain in the running. Fortunately, the quarter and semifinal matches will be in a B03 format, so we can expect some excellent series once the group stages are done and dusted.
Below you guys can check out our in-depth analysis for all of today’s matches.
FNATIC vs Natus Vincere
We live in an era where FNATIC’s new lineup have dominated 5 tournaments in a row and while they do have a kryptonite in EnvyUS, the French squad often lacks the consistency and seem to have trouble against other teams. That makes the new and explosive FNATIC squad with Dennis the best team in the world at the moment. However, their opponents in Natus Vincere are a formidable force as well and are currently ranked second behind the Swedish giants.
The CIS kings had the chance to finally end FNATIC’s run during the SL i-League StarSeries finals that took place earlier this year but crumbled in the grand finals despite looking like the better team for the entirely of the tournament, making it one of the few matches we did call wrong during StarSeries.
However, this time, they are going up against each other in a Best of 1 battle, which makes things a lot more interesting and gives Natus Vincere a winning chance. Assuming the veto is done properly, FNATIC should get rid of Train and Mirage and Na `Vi should steer clear out of Cache and Inferno. We should get either Dust2, Overpass or Cobblestone, all maps where Na`VI can pull off an upset on, except maybe Dust2 which favors FNATIC. So we are calling it an upset and saying the CIS kings will win the rematch
Our Pick: Natus Vincere upsets FNATIC
Key players: Guardian & Flamie
Mousesports vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
In the second match have Mousesports, led by their latest addition in Niko going up against the legendary Swedish core of Ninjas in Pyjamas that now have Pyth added to the mix. This one is a lot harder to analyze than most people may think, simply because now that Threat is finally leading the Swedish squad we have no idea how much influence Xizt will have when it comes to the veto process. Despite being a great player, Xizt is infamous for making terrible calls when it comes to the pick and ban phase. However, I believe that the NIP core have finally come down to the ground after their gigantic slump last year and are not willing to listen to Threat, who is much more knowledgeable when it comes to the tactical side of things.
On the flipside, there is no more GOB B on Mousesports, who used to be the brains of the muscle behind Nex and ChrisJ and while Niko seems to be doing a fine job as a player and leader, it is questionable whether he can match the tactical side against more experienced teams. At the end of the day, though, you have to favor NIP here. Their star players in Forest and Get_Right are slowly returning to form and Friberg finally seems to be regaining confidence once again, which opens up a lot more space for Xizt to focus on his individual performance. As for Pyth, more than anything he feels like a support player that is there to lend a hand to the core. His individual performance hasn’t been all that great though and it is a bit worrying given the fact that the pressure will be at its highest in an offline event of this scale, so that is the one problem the Swedes must overcome, but other than that the experience and firepower of the core should still be enough to overcome Mousesports, especially now that Threat is there to take care of the veto’s and add more structure to the team.
Our pick: NIP edge out Mousesports
Key Players: Get_Right and Forest
Luminosity Gaming vs Natus Vincere
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting matchups to watch in all of CS GO at the moment, Na`Vi vs. Luminosity gaming always delivers. These two teams have been going up against each other for a while now and while the CIS kings had a clear edge in the start, Fallen and co have clearly made progress. Ultimately taking them out in StarSeries and then coming extremely close at Dreamhack ZOWIE Open to conquering their demons in a B03 series once again.
As a result, the veto process for this battle will be very important. I expect Natus Vincere to steer clear out of Cache and maybe Inferno, while LG will probably get rid of Dust2, but the rest of the map picks are honestly out in the open. Both teams seem to share the love for Cobblestone, Overpass, Train and Mirage though I doubt Fallen will go back to Train after their last encounter. Which leads me to believe that we might see Overpass or Cobblestone as the battleground for this classic matchup. Which should give LG a slight edge, due to Fallen being a tactical genius on both of the maps.
As for star power, both teams have an ace up their sleeves. Natus Vincere has Guardian and Luminosity Gaming sports Coldzera, but the Brazilian squad have a more even distribution across the board with capable players in almost every position. So unless Guardian and Flamie go off, prep time Fallen should lead Luminosity Gaming to victory.
Our Pick: A close battle that ends with Luminosity Gaming on top
Key players: ColdZera and Fallen
The Mongolz vs Mousesports
It is unfortunate what happened to The Mongolz due to their VISA issues, a potential chance at a major just slipped away from their hands. As a result, we never really got to have a closer look at the squad up against better teams during the MLG qualifiers. That being said, it has already been proved that they do have an impressive amount of firepower on the back of Machinegun and Zilkenberg. They took out Renegades twice in convincing fashion and have also done really well in their domestic events before.
However, that is not going to be enough against a team like Mousespsorts who have budged heads against the Tier 1 gods in a regular basis. Also, with Niko now added to the mix, The Mongolz probably can’t even compete in terms of firepower anymore. Not to mention that Mongolz has shown to have a weak map pool and the ones they do like to play on clash with Mousespsorts own choices. Making it a very uphill battle for the underdogs. At the end of the day, Mongolz simply feels outmatched here, but it should be an interesting match nonetheless and will give us an idea where the Mongolian squad really stands when it comes to Counter-Strike
Our Pick: Mousepsorts wins convincingly
Key players: Niko and Nex
Fnatic vs Luminosity Gaming
This is a modern day rivalry that fans enjoy watching a lot, simply due to how intense the matches usually end up being. Not to mention there is the infamous 16-0 that FNATIC handed Luminosity Gaming, which actually started a chain reaction to making the Brazilian squad the most inspiring team at the event as they later went on to make it all the way to finals, only to lose against FNATIC once again, but this time in a much closer battle.
Luminosity Gaming clearly have a solid game-plan against FNATIC, they have proven that in every one of their previous encounter, but for some reason every time the Swedish giants seem to just power through and win anyway. It seems that when it comes to finally closing out the series, LG cannot compete with the might of FNATIC. Assuming the map vetos are done properly, FNATIC should get rid of Mirage and Train. While Luminosity Gaming should steer clear of Cache and Cobblestone.
As a result, we will see something between Inferno, Overpass or Dust2, all 3 I favor FNATIC on. The match will be most competitive at Inferno as Fallen seems to have a solid read on FNATIC’s style there. However, I doubt that will matter if someone like Olofmesiter or Flusha simply goes off and outclasses everyone else in the server.
Our Pick: A competitive match where FNATIC edges out Luminosity Gaming
Key players: Olofmesiter & Flusha
Ninjas in Pyjamas vs The Mongolz
Can the Mongolian underdogs overcome the former major champions? No. Things might have been slightly different if they attended the MLG qualifiers and gained some much-needed experience, but at this point they are going into this battle dry and NIP is one of the hardest teams to overcome for an inexperienced team.
Also, their biggest advantage so far has been their explosive firepower on the back of Machinegun and Zilkenberg, however, players like Get_Right and Xizt are experts at neutralizing the style and then you have Friberg and Forest who can probably answer back harder.
There is just no way I see Mongolz overcoming the Swedish legends, they don’t even have the veto advantage wth them anymore now that Threat is overseeing the tactical side of things for the Ninjas
Our Pick: NIP wins convincingly
Key Players: Forest and Friberg
FNATIC vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
If you were to name two of the greatest CS GO lineups in all of history, then the core of both these teams will come up. One dominated the start and the other took up its place later. Unfortunately, NIP has shown nothing recently that should suggest that they can win here whereas FNATIC has been on a tear, winning 5 tournament back to back. Sure Threat will be bringing a lot more structure and hopefully better decision making among the squad, but that won’t be enough against the far superior firepower and synergy of FNATIC.
In almost every map except maybe Train, I see FNATIC winning and knowing Flusha he won’t play into Threats hand in any way. Unless Forest and Get_Right become their 2013 selves for a match, NIP should crumble under the might of FNATIC.
Our Pick: FNATIC wins convincingly
Key players: Olofmeister and JW
Mousesports vs Natus Vincere
Should be one of the more interesting matches, given how both teams were used to a very slow style but have recently changed things up. The lack of GOB B should really hurt Mousepsorts in this battle because they simply cannot hope to overpower the likes of Flamie and Guardian in a consistent manner.
Zeus also has shown to adapt a lot better In the fly against teams that rely on such tactics and will clearly come prepared to counterbalance Niko and Nex. Most of the maps also favor the CIS kings greatly and since they share some of the favored picks, it will be really hard for Moussprots to win the veto process.
Mouz’s best bet will probably be to gamble on a map like Cache or Overpass and once they get the map will be up to Niko and Nex to rifle their way through the CIS kings, because ChrisJ probably won’t be able to stand up to the might of Guardian, who has shown to be the best sniper for almost a year now in the game.
Our Pick: Natus Vincere wins a competitive match
Key players: Zeus and Guardian
Natus Vincere vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
On paper, this feels like a good match for Natus Vincere. NIP was in a bad form for the majority of 2015 and even now their addition of Pyth have yet to shown any results offline. However with the added prize pool for ESL ProLeague, it might be reasonable to take NIP’s performance at ESL Pro League S3 so far a bit more seriously. Where they have played close with Natus Vincere on Train and actually won on Mirage, though granted their Guardian had internet issues.
Which coupled with their rather an impressive victory over Moussprots and Dignitas, suggests that that Ninjas might actually have a chance here. Assuming the Veto is done right, NIP should gamble on a map like Inferno, Cache or Mirage. Where they have had a good record against Natus Vincere in the past, there is a chance of an upset here.
As a result we will go ahead and call it, NIP should win if their core functions right and avoids duels against Guardian.
Our Pick: NIP upsets Natus Vincere
Key players: Forest and Friberg
The Mongolz vs Luminosity Gaming
It should be the same story for Mongolz here, they have talent but not the experience necessary to overcome an elite team like Lumishtoy gaming who have only gotten better with time. The star power of Machinegun and Zilkenberg might have been enough against Aussie squad of Renegades, but the Brazilians trump that with their own aces in ColdZera and Fallen.
Not to mention that Luminosity gaming are also the tactically superior team, so even if Machinegun were to go off, chances are the LG would eventually overcome the Mongolian squad.
Our Pick: Luminosity gaming wins convincingly
Key players: Coldzera and Fallen
Natus Vincere vs The Mongolz
The Mongolz at this point would have probably lost to Luminosity Gaming and FNATIC, so I am hoping they go for a looser carefree style here. The problem is that there isn’t enough skill balanced across the Mongolian squad that can trade effectively and string together rounds against an elite team like Natus Vincere.
Also, if you see the map pool of Mongolz, they share the love for a lot of the same maps as Natus Vincere. So either way, this will be a hard battle that I don’t see them winning.
Our Pick: Natus Vincere wins convincingly
Key players: Guardian and Zeus
Luminosity Gaming vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
Once again, on paper, this match looks like a lock in for Luminosity Gaming. However, there is a reason why I would actually like to favor NIP here. Go back and revisit LG’s defeat at the hands of Faze Clan. It was really obvious that Fallen was so focused on beating Natus Vincere and FNATIC, that he did not take Faze Clan seriously enough.
I think NIP’s long absence from the active scene will play a big part and Fallen won’t sport much to counter play against. Meanwhile, Threat will have his Swedish squad ready with a solid gameplan and if the veto is done right, which it should be at his point for NIP, then the upset can actually happen. We are calling yet another upset here, simply because this version of NiP have the element of surprise.
Our Pick: NIP surprises Luminosity Gaming
Key players: Friberg and Forest
Mousesports vs FNATIC
While Mousespsort has shown a lot of improvements lately, they are still a level below FNATIC, who as I have mentioned before are head and shoulders above most other teams right now. Niko brings in a kind of star power that Mouz had before with GOB B, but there really aren’t many teams who can win an outright fistfight against FNATIC, except maybe EnvyUS.
Tactically Mousesports still don’t have the synergy comparable to their days with GOB B, whereas FNATIC has developed a solid team style after getting Dennis aboard. Then you look at the map pool and there really isn’t much Mouseports can rely on to be their favored pick, as a result FNATIC should run over Mouz
Our pick: FNATIC overpowers Mousesports
Key players: Krimz and Flusha