IEM Katowice 2020 kicked off its Group A matches with the first bout of double headers; with Astralis taking on Cloud9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas going up against Team Vitality. Astralis and Vitality both had to put the ghosts of BLAST Premier behind.
Cloud9 surrendered their own map pick Overpass with ease but had a healthy lead on Train before Astralis mounted a comeback on the defence to secure a comfortable 2-0.
NiP and Vitality was more competitive, with both teams exchanging blows and rounds. Vitality though, played out a great T side on Vertigo to take NiP’s map pick 16-12. Coming to their own map pick, Nuke, the French organization continued championing the offence, gaining 8 rounds. Vitality shut down NiP well on the defence to complete a 2-0 sweep, setting up a mouth-watering Upper Bracket semi-final clash with Astralis. NiP on the other hand, will now fight for their life against Cloud9 in the Lower Bracket.
In the other side of the Upper Bracket in Group A, Natus Vincere took on FAZE Clan in perhaps, the most awaited first round clash in the Group. Fnatic took on Renegades in the other one. Fnatic ran over the Australians on their map pick Dust 2 with a 16-4 scoreline. Things looked to be heading towards the decider though, as Renegades raced to a 14-6 lead on Inferno. But, fnatic mounted a comeback to lap up the map 16-14 and the series 2-0.
Natus Vincere started strongly on Nuke, with a 7-1 scoreline in favour of the CIS giants. FAZE Clan though, finished the half 8-7 thanks to a mini-comeback. Na’Vi managed just two more rounds on Nuke as FAZE Clan shut their offence down to take their own map pick.
On to Na’Vi’s map pick Dust2, things looked dire for Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev & co., with FAZE on a 13-9 lead and on the offence. s1mple though, showed signs of breaking out of the shell he was in upto that point and as he started lapping up kills, his team started shutting down FAZE with renewed vigour. Natus Vincere completed the comeback to take the map 16-14 and push it on to Overpass, the decider.
On the decider, Na’Vi played a great T side and an aggressive CT side, something FAZE Clan were at fault of not doing so. Na’Vi persevered and pushed FAZE Clan down to the Lower Bracket in Group A, where the North American organization will now face Renegades. Natus Vincere are now set to face fnatic in the Upper Bracket semi-finals.
The first set of Group B fixtures started earlier than expected thanks to a sequence of 2-0s in Group A, with mousesports and TYLOO the ones facing each other. TYLOO’s map pick Inferno was a one-sided affair, albeit for mousesports, who closed out the map 16-5. TYLOO fared better on Dust2, managing 8 rounds in the first half itself. But, once mousesports came on to the defence, they shut down TYLOO, closing out the map 16-10 and series 2-0.
The last fixture of the day saw 100 Thieves and G2 go head-to-head. The two had already matched up quite well at BLAST Premier, with the French-majority stack coming out victorious back then.
What was expected to be another even match ended up in a blowout, with 100 Thieves able to win a paltry 5 rounds over two maps, with G2 setting up a match with mousesports while 100 Thieves will fight for survival against TYLOO.