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Yesterday marked the last day of the Legends stage of the IEM Katowice Major. Three teams ground it out through to the Champions stage while three were knocked out. The day’s matchups were ENCE vs. AVANGAR, Vitality vs. NiP, and probably the most sought after battle, Cloud9 vs. FaZe Clan.
ENCE shows class by dismantling AVANGAR
— ENCE (@ENCE) February 24, 2019
The first match of the day saw the Finnish ENCE take on AVANGAR. The first map was Mirage, and right off the half would prove to be a very close matchup. AVANGAR kicked things off with the pistol, but ENCE answered right back with four rounds before AVANGAR did the exact same. Finally, ENCE’s counter-terrorist side tightened up and the half ended 9-6 in favor of the Finns, with Sami “xseveN” Laasanen getting to work by getting a 3k on the retake.
ENCE carried the momentum over to their t-side by getting the first four rounds to make it 13-6 already. AVANGAR wouldn’t let up so easily though, with Alexey “qikert” Golubev getting a 3k to deny ENCE getting the win for just a little while longer. In the end, the CIS squad fell short and ENCE stole the map 16-12.
The next map was Train, and ENCE felt right at home despite Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov getting a nice 3k on the initial pistol on the ct-side. Fantastic performances from Jani “Aerial” Jussila and the veteran Aleksi “allu” Jalli put ENCE in the lead 10-5 at halftime. AVANGAR won the pistol again on their terrorist side, yet this victory was short-lived as ENCE strung six rounds in a row after a phenomenal 3k to finish off the series with ease 16-7.
AVANGAR leaft IEM Katowice while ENCE advanced to the Champions stage.
Ninjas in Pyjamas conquers over Vitality
The second match came much closer than NiP would have liked it to be as it went all the way to three maps. The first battlefield, Cache, went much in favor of the Ninjas. Vitality was only able to find three rounds in the first half as the trio of Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, Dennis “dennis” Edman, and Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson made entering bombsites living hell for the French. The ct-side started off Vitality’s way as they picked up the initial three rounds with the pistol after Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut finally showed some teeth with a 4k.
Unfortunately, that would be the best we’d see as NiP found their drive once more to finish off the map with a comfy lead of 16-7.
Vitality did however find their mojo on the next map, Overpass. We finally got to see the domination out of the young star, ZywOo as he put up 26 kills on the board by the end. NiP kicked off their t-side by getting two rounds that were followed by 11 rounds won in total by Vitality’s defense in the half. NiP struggled to penetrate the bomb sites as ZywOo was joined by Dan “apEX” Madesclaire on top of the leaderboard. It was as if an entirely different team were playing on Overpass. The following half brought much of the same as Vitality would also get the first pistol on t-side followed by three more rounds. Just one round away from victory, Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and co. attempted to make something out of nothing by snatching four rounds. This was a mere attempt as Vitality won one more to secure the win at 16-8, tying things up at 1-1 in maps.
The decider map would be Mirage, and what a show NiP put on. The Ninjas won the half on their ct-side with a devastating lead, 14-1. Nothing seemed to go Vitality’s way. Timings were off, constant miscommunications were the norm, and NiP’s pushes up mid and apps would be a menace. Vitality on their own ct-side went in looking confident to attempt a long and winding way to a comeback. ZywOo and co. made it to 14-7 before losing two in a row to get knocked out of IEM Katowice. This time around, Dennis “dennis” Edman and Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson were topping the boards in the upset on Mirage.
— Ninjas in Pyjamas (@NIP) February 24, 2019
FaZe gets revenge on Cloud9
The final match of the evening would take us all to Cache for the first map. Right off the bat, Håvard “rain” Nygaard found three heads in the defense on A-site. The ct-side for FaZe proved to be extremely resilient against Cloud9, as Robin “flusha” Rönnquist and co. struggled to even get bombs down. The half went all the way for FaZe Clan, getting a comfy lead at 12-3. FaZe dragged that momentum over to t-side where they picked up the pistol yet again. Before we knew it, the score would go all the way to 15-4 for FaZe following a fantastic 1v2 from Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev to deny the bomb defuse from flusha.
What followed was something that no one could have ever expected. A massive choke ensued at the 15-4 scoreline. All of a sudden Cloud9 started to play out of their minds while FaZe looked helpless. Timothy “autimatic” Ta looked fierce on A-site with the AWP while William “RUSH” Wierzba kept pushing behind FaZe players for unexpected backstabs. And so, Cloud9 brought it all the way to 15-14 before finally FaZe tightened their belts to secure that final round with Nikola “NiKo” Kovac sitting on the top.
Dust2, the following map, really brought the best out of FaZe Clan. Starting out on t-side, FaZe got a hefty lead as Cloud9 yet again trailed by a sizeable margin, 11-4. Cloud9 mounted a comeback yet again with Timothy “autimatic” Ta sniping three and winning a phenomenal 1v4.
All this, however, would go to waste as soon as Cloud9 brought it close to 11-9. NiKo and co. toggled and snatched the remaining five rounds necessary to close out the match. We finally witnessed a great performance from FaZe as they got their revenge for the final of the Boston major one year ago.
History does not repeat itself. On to the Legends stage at @IEM Katowice!
— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) February 24, 2019
Legends stage comes to an end. Time for Champions to shine.
With those matches done, it is now time to move onto the playoffs (Champions stage). Here are the upcoming matchups kicking off on Feb. 28:
- FaZe Clan vs. Natus Vincere
- Team Liquid vs. ENCE
- Renegades vs. MIBR
- Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Astralis
For more news on the Major in IEM Katowice, follow us at Daily Esports.