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Day three of the IEM Katowice Major saw teams with a 2-1 score face off in best-of-three matchups. Today apparently was a day of the comeback as each map had some sort of comeback at hand. Some succeeded, some were close, others failed. Here is a summary of today’s best-of-three matchups.

Vitality outlasts ViCi

Vitality versus ViCi on Inferno was probably the most heated match we’ve seen so far at this year’s IEM Katowice. The French side trailed at half-time with a 5-10 score after an impressive half from Andrew “Kaze” Khong. Vitality then picked up the initial pistol round on their counter-terrorist side after side switch but lost three in return, putting ViCi very close to victory at 13-6. Fortunately, at a 14-8 lead for ViCi, Vitality got it together and string a whopping eight rounds to 15-14 in their favor. ViCi wouldn’t allow Vitality to win so easily and forced overtime. Not only one but three, in fact. Every time either side would pull ahead, someone from the opposite team would step up big time. Kaze and WingHei “Freeman” Cheung were menacing time and time again. But Vitality had Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and the revitalized Nathan “NBK” Schmitt on their side. The duo ended up with 41 and 36 frags respectively and were the biggest factors in their team’s victory at 25-22. What a match to start day three of IEM Katowice.

Map two would pit the two teams on Nuke, Vitality’s pick. Everyone was confident ViCi would fall on Nuke as the team, despite getting a win, played the map once before while Vitality usually felt right at home on the nuclear map. However, things kicked off in favor of ViCi as they took the first four rounds. Vitality eventually found their drive and punched back with five rounds of their own. Stunned by the resilience of the Asian side, the half finished 8-7 for ViCi. While having a comfy ct-side, ViCi’s t-side was not as smooth while Vitality’s defense was fantastic. They won the pistol and only let ViCi get four rounds on t-side leading to a smoother victory this time around at 16-12. Cédric ‘RpK’ Guipouy joined the star, ZywOo, at the top of the table after an especially effective ct-side.

And so ViCi goes 2-2 and fights for survival in two days time. Meanwhile, Vitality advances to the Legends stage with a respectable 3-1 score.

AVANGAR puts TYLOO back in its’ place

With TYLOO being one of the surprises on the Challenger stage, AVANGAR has shattered the Chinese side’s dreams of going 3-1. It all started with Cache where AVANGAR esd quick to kick things off, stringing six rounds in a row before TYLOO could even react. The Chinese and Indonesian mix finally got their act together towards the end of the half when they came alive on ct-side. A fantastic display of skill by HaoWen “somebody” Xu and Hansel “BnTeT” Ferdinand proved necessary on retake rounds as TYLOO ended the half 7-8 in favor of AVANGAR. TYLOO continued their hot streak with an impressive 3k on the pistol by BnTeT and pulled ahead to 11-8. Unfortunately for them, it was all downhill after that. AVANGAR was great at retakes and on the defense in general with Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov stepping up big time. And so, AVANGAR brought it to 14-11 before letting just one round slip and closing out Cache at 16-12.

On Inferno, another hectic matchup emerged. The half opened up in favor of TYLOO with the pistol, yet it was a matter of time before AVANGAR would pull ahead. Timur “buster” Tulepov’s ace with an M4A1-S on round three lit a spark for his side as AVANGAR found success on three subsequent retakes. TYLOO managed to get three more rounds on t-side as AVANAGAR’s defense seemed to be too much for the Chinese team. The half finished 10-5 for the CIS squad.

Counter-Strike fans would be in for a real treat after half switch as an immense test of nerves emerged for both sides. AVANGAR pulled ahead right off to a 15-5 lead and everyone thought it was over for TYLOO. However, the opposite happened. TYLOO somehow managed to make it right back to 15-14. AVANGAR’s lack of confidence in pushing a bombsite effectively with players such as Ali “Jame” Djami making questionable last-second rotations put pressure on the CIS team as TYLOO came knocking at their door. However, TYLOO put up a show with immense pressure on banana with the AWP, denying entry to the bombsite time and time again. Despite that, AVANGAR finally pulled up their pants and swiftly invade the A bombsite leaving BnTeT in a helpless 1v5 situation. Despite a fantastic try, TYLOO goes 2-2 and fights on while AVANGAR advances with a 3-1 score.

ENCE outguns Winstrike

The last matchup of the day was the only one that went all the way to map three. Dus2, Winstrike’s pick, would not go their way at all. Despite kicking things off on the right foot after getting the first three rounds, including a 3k by Aurimas “Kvik” Kvakšys, Winstrike lacked the edge in the half to win rounds on their t-side. This led to a 10-round streak on ENCE’s ct-side. The half ended with ENCE winning 11-4. The Finns brought things close to an end after picking up the second pistol and subsequent rounds. However, Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov and co. had other plans as they attempted a comeback. They did manage to bring it back to 15-11 but fell a little short in the end, granting the first map to ENCE with Aleksi “allu” Jalli sitting at the top of the scoreboard.

On Mirage, paradoxically a map pick of ENCE, we’d see sheer domination on ct-side from Winstrike. They left absolutely no room for ENCE players to have an easy way of getting onto bombsites and plant the bomb as they only did it thrice. Winstrike went on a rampage in the first half by getting a 13-2 lead. ENCE attempted to formulate some kind of comeback on their own ct-side after getting the first two rounds. They managed to get another three but were unsuccessful in making a bigger impact. Kvik was joined by Boombl4 and Georgi “WorldEdit” Yaskin on top of the scoreboard Jani “Aerial” Jussila and Sami “xseveN” Laasanen were lackluster on Mirage.

The decider brought us to Train, a map where, apparently, both teams feel comfy on ct-side. ENCE opened up to dominate the half even more so than Winstrike on Mirage as we finally saw a great performance from the 16-year-old star Jere “sergej” Salo, including a fantastic 4k AWP kill to deny a bomb plant.

The half ended with a 14-1 score that just shows the utter dominance presented by the Finnish side. The match, however, was far from over. Winstrike went on a rampage of their own on ct-side. We saw a joint effort from Boombl4, WorldEdit, and youngster David “n0rb3r7” Danielyan try to at least bring it close. And somehow they did. Terrorists masked as ENCE players had a terrible time on t-side but managed to scrape those two measly rounds necessary to snatch the map. The map finished 16-13 with an overall score of 2-1 for ENCE. Winstrike fights on with a 2-2 score while ENCE advances to the Legends stage.

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