IEM Katowice 2021 is over - we'll certainly remember it for a long time. First of all, because of the triumphant performance of the teams from our region and the historic grand final, in which Virtus.pro and Gambit clashed. Without a doubt, we can say that CIS CS:GO is the best in the world at the moment. But how did it become that way, and what happened at the last tournament?
All four CIS teams made it to the playoffs - the first time ever
Four CIS teams took part in IEM Katowice 2021 (including the Play-in stage). Only Natus Vincere made it to the main stage at once.
Gambit and Team Spirit finished the play-in without losses, but Virtus.pro made them nervous when they lost to the Swedes from NiP. But in the deciding match against Renegades everything went smoothly.
Let's start with Gambit and Virtus.pro, because these teams lost their first matches and dropped to the bottom of the table, where they had to win three games against very different opponents to make the playoffs. And they did an excellent job of that difficult task.
Gambit dealt with mousesports, was one step away from relegation against Heroic, but at the peak of the opponent turned the tide, and then left no chance for G2, led by NiKo, who not so long ago said that the CIS CS is overrated. The guys from Gambit don't have much experience against top teams, but they don't seem to care about that at all. Apparently, there is also nothing wrong with the psychology of the team.
Before the start of the tournament Virtus.pro was the most controversial of all the CIS teams. All because of their unconvincing play-in game. And the 12 straight rounds given away in Dust2 in the derby with NAVI only confirmed their fears. But then three well-deserved wins over NiP, Vitality and FURIA followed. "The Bears raced confidently through the bottom set without losing a single card.
NAVI defeated Virtus.pro in the opening match, then defeated FURIA 2-0 for the third time in six months. And the meeting with Team Liquid clearly did not go according to the "born to win" scenario. A disappointing defeat after two overtime series at Inferno, but a playoff slot was already guaranteed.
Team Spirit began their journey in the tournament with victories over G2 and Heroic. In the following match against Astralis, which decided which team would advance to the semifinals and which to the quarterfinals, something unbelievable happened. After the card exchange, it was Dust2's turn to play. The Russian team crushed the Astralis, while Spirit made history: not everyone can boast a 16-1 score against such notable and titled opponents as the Danes.
All four teams from the CIS made it to the IEM Katowice 2021 playoffs. Until then, so many representatives from our region had never made it to this stage at a major international event.