Copenhagen Flames are back with a vengeance at IEM Katowice
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Copenhagen Flames are back with a vengeance at IEM Katowice

The Flames appear to be back in top form after their run at the PGL Major
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On Tuesday, the Copenhagen Flames became the first team to advance out of the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice play-in stage and into the group stage by beating the Ninjas in Pyjamas in a best-of-three.

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Even with NiP playing without star player Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, few predicted the Flames to come out on top. The Flames’ struggles from recent months were erased as they beat Fnatic and then NiP without dropping a map.

The Copenhagen Flames said they came into the Katowice play-ins lacking confidence. Still, they felt the “LAN vibes” and the significance of the event that was lacking in the post-PGL Major Tier 2 circuit tournaments.

“We’re all really excited to play this event again, close to the level of the major,” AWPer Nico “nicoodoz” Tamjid said. “It’s going to be great to play on LAN again and make a few upsets.”

“It will be easier than I thought to get away from the bad mentality or whatever we had before,” Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen said. “Hopefully we can continue to do what we did back at the major and perform well on LAN.”

During his tenure on MAD Lions, roeJ played at IEM Katowice in 2020. This makes him the only member of the Copenhagen Flames to return to the event. MAD Lions were eliminated early at Katowice 2020.

“I hope I can redeem myself a little bit,” roeJ said.

To that end, the Copenhagen Flames are off to a blistering start. They seem to be back in PGL Major form, but with a few new adaptations to their gameplay. For starters, their three map wins, so far, are all on different picks: Overpass, Nuke and Mirage. This is important for the team, who said that they expanded their map pool from the major to help them at Katowice, where most matches are best-of-three.

After the major, the Flames also lost their head coach Faruk “pita” Pita to Dignitas. Daniel “vorborg” Vorborg, co-owner of the Flames, stepped in to fulfill the head coach role.

“It’s a process, of course, but it’s not a secret that vorborg doesn’t have the in-game experience that pita has,” roeJ said. “But he’s helping with the anti-strats and he has been a lot of help in terms of the mental aspect.”

Copenhagen Flames’ post-major blues

The Flames rose to prominence during their run at the PGL Major Stockholm 2021. After that event, amid a search for a new organization that never panned out, the roster faltered and lost their momentum. They lost to teams that were, frankly, worse than them. The Flames’ in-game-leader Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen said that a mix of big and small factors got to them after the major ended.

“We forgot to take a break when we got home [from the major],” HooXi said in a press conference. “We got a little bit burned out and the games we played after didn’t feel as important. We didn’t handle that in the best way we could.”

The roster rumors also affect them, taking away their focus, HooXi said. They lost a lot of the esteem and praise that fans and analysts had been heaping on the Danes over the course of their PGL Major run. They now come into IEM Katowice as underdogs, even after taking down NiP.

“The only way we can prove them wrong is by doing the same things we did at the major in the server,” HooXi said.

The Copenhagen Flames still believe they are one of the best Counter-Strike rosters in the world, even if their confidence had taken a blow.

“We see ourselves as a top 10 team,” Rasmus “Zyphon” Nordfoss said. “We see ourselves as a team who should never lose to top 20 teams.”

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Coby Zucker
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.