The Play-In stage of the big IEM Katowice LAN event has been the most important part of the tournament for several years now. Sixteen teams will compete in a double-elimination system for eight slots in the main draw. The Play-in duels will take place on 15 and 16 February. The CIS audience is particularly concerned about one team's fate at this stage. Dmitry Hooch Bogdanov and his boys from Entropiq should not encounter too many problems in qualification and should prove that they rightfully occupy a place in the top 10 of HLTV. But first things first.
The tournament system
The tournament is actually divided into four brackets. In the first phase, the teams will meet in a bo1 format. Then each match will be played in a bo3 system. The shortest way is to win two in a row or, more simply, to win in your bracket. You can check out the initial distribution of the teams below.
If a team suffers a second defeat, they will drop out of the competition for IEM Katowice.
Let's examine each subgroup separately and pick favorites.
There are rumors that Nicolai Reedtz may appear at IEM Katowice. There's no official confirmation, the player himself does not appear on social networks now, so you shouldn't believe the information completely. The ground for such topics among the public has been triggered by the unsuccessful performance of Ninjas in Pyjamas at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups. The team defeated NaVi but ultimately failed in the decisive games. Therefore, the Swedes are extremely interested in returning their main star. If that happens, it's not certain that it will happen at this stage. The sniper could join NIP in the main stage if things go well. Wisla Krakow, fnatic, and Copenghagen Flames will fight the Swedish organization with the help of their home walls. The latter looks like a formidable force after the majors, but stability is lacking. It is difficult to speculate how the fate of the top spot of this grid will turn out, but we can say that if NIP considers itself an organization capable of winning major events, it is time for them to prove this thesis.
FaZe Clan made an ambitious showing at this year's BLAST, increasing their fan base all over the world. The team's performance was a joy to watch. Robin ropz Kool added confidence and game thinking to the team, but the organization will play the play-in phase without the Estonian. Robin fell ill with COVID-19 and came under the restriction protocol. The player will only be able to take part in the main stage of the IEM Katowice. FaZe has added Australian Justin Savage to their roster for a couple of days. As its analyst Vyacheslav Innersh1ne Britwin said, let's see if the team can survive until the main stage. Frankly, there's little doubt about that, given the uncomplicated subgroup. Sprout, like MOUZ, are no threat today. The latter's youth squad has already overtaken their core in the HLTV rankings, but the Brazilians don't look a gift.
FaZe Clan will emerge victorious due to experience and superior performers, but without ropz the situation has lost its strength.
Entropiq played in the tournament's final last month, where they lost to Gambit Esports. Along the way, it crushed Astralis (now a non-achievement) and BIG, demonstrating the squad's good form. The deciding encounter will be Entropiq's clash with OG Esports, who won their set at BLAST. The winner of the pair will declare their intentions in the main stage of IEM Katowice. We believe in the success of the CIS cyber athletes, but even in case of failure, the team remains the favorite in the losers' grid.
BIG, Complexity, Astralis, MIBR. Ring any bells? We'll give you a hint. All of these meetings took place a couple of weeks ago at the BLAST Premier: Spring Groups, where the Germans beat Astralis twice without a chance for the Danes, as well as Complexity. On the other hand, the Brazilians lost to the Danish team, but don't discount them. There is no positive momentum in previous stories we told you that the current Astralis roster is at the "bottom." The motivated MIBR at the favored Dust II can outplay the Danes in bo1, making selection difficult. As for the overall result, BIG is out of competition among these organizations right now.
Who are the favorites to advance to the main stage of IEM Katowice?
BIG, FaZe Clan, Entropiq, OG Esports, Ninjas in Pyjamas will qualify from both the top and the bottom slot. But for the remaining three vacant positions, we are waiting for a fierce fight, where there are always plenty of surprises. Therefore do not discount the "dark horses" such as Wisla Krakow or the new Complexity. A LAN tournament is always different from an online one. For the CIS audience, a strong Entropiq squad must take its deserved place in the main stage, and the other teams will enjoy the excellent Counter-Strike and give a lot of emotions to their fans.
See you soon at the IEM Katowice 2022 group stage discussion.