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IEM Katowice 2019: Minor Challengers

By February 6, 2019 CSGO

With the minors out of the way we finally have the full roster for IEM Katowice 2019. With each passing major, these minor teams seem to do more and more damage at an international level. During the Faceit major both Complexity and Hellraisers both had a surprising run and managed to grind themselves to major status. So, which of these minor teams have it in them to make it all the way?

Credit: HLTV

NRG (Cerq, Ethan, Brehze, daps, FugLy)

NRG have already made quite a name for themselves. After acquiring Ethan from ex-CLG, NRG climbed up the ranks of the international scene. While haven’t won any major tournaments, they’ve managed to grind themselves up to the top of the world during 2018, currently sitting as the 6th best team in the world according to HLTV. They’re coming in hot into the minor with a 1st place finish during the Americas minor, as well as some strong finishes before the player break. This team has been able assert themselves not only in the North American region, but internationally as well. They’re looking energetic coming in and are looking to finish strong during their first major, IEM Katowice.

Top results:

  • Americas Minor – 1st
  • SuperNova CS:GO Malta – 2nd
  • Cs_summit 3 – 1st
  • ESL One New York 2018 – 3rd/4th
  • StarSeries Season 5 – 2nd

Players to look out for:

  • Ethan
    Brehze
  • Cerq

Credit: HLTV

ENCE (Allu, Sergej, xseveN, Aerial, Aleksib)

The European minor was easy for ENCE, coming of in first place and securing their spot for the major. They’re coming in strong for IEM Katowice off the back of two first place finishes and a win at DreamHack Winter. Most notably, their strong run at ESL One Cologne last year put them on the map as a strong dark horse to watch out for. They have plenty of experience in Allu, known for his time in FaZe and Ninjas in Pyjamas and a young star in 16 year old Sergej. Over the past year Finland has managed to produce a lot of talented CS players, and this All-Finnish roster is no different. With the time during the player breaks and break between the minor and major, this team has plenty of time to be able to grow and strategize. They’re surely looking for a strong finish to start 2019 strong, and there’s no better tournament than the major to do it.

Top results:

  • ASUS ROG Winter 2019 – 1st
  • Europe Minor – 1st
  • DreamHack Open Winter 2018 – 1st
  • StarSeries Season 6 – 1st
  • ESL One Cologne 2018 – 7th/8th

Players to look out for:

  • Allu
  • Sergej
  • Aerial

Credit: HLTV

Vitality (NBK, RPK, apEX, ZywOo, Alex)

While this Vitality roster has been fairly disappointing busting out of qualifiers and just barely qualifying for the major, this team still has several things going for them. They have some of the most experienced French players in NBK, apEX, and RPK. Second, ZywOo. Just joining this roster at the age of 18, there’s not doubt this player was the hottest young talent in 2018. In 2017 he’s managed an absolutely insane 1.40 HLTV rating. This new roster has time to be able to mold themselves into a strong contender coming into Poland. The biggest question coming into the major is can this team adapt against higher opposition. More importantly, it’s vital that ZywOo performs just as strong against higher tier opposition and the more experienced players help him adapt at his biggest tournament yet.

Top results:

  • WePlay – 1st
  • Europe Minor – 2nd
  • DreamHack Open Atlanta – 1st

Players to look out for:

  • ZyWoo

Credit: HLTV

AVANGAR (Jame, Buster, Qikert, fitch, KrizzeN)

Avangar have been a strange team. They’ve managed to usurp Gambit as the best team in Kazakhstan after the core roster of Gambit left for other teams. While they have been notably absent from a lot of major tournaments, they have had a lot of 1st place placings in smaller CIS tournaments and online cups. Jame recently has been on the radar as a top talent coming from the CIS region in 2019. Qikert and Buster has also shown good results against higher tier competition in online leagues. After their absence from the London major, Avangar are looking to avenge themselves and assert themselves as a top CIS team.

Top results:

  • CIS Minor – 1st
  • Bucharest Gaming – 1st
  • EPICENTER 3rd/4th
  • MSI MGA – 1st
  • CS:GO.NET Cup 3 1st

Players to look out for:

  • Jame
  • Buster
  • Qikert
Salvador Soldi

Author Salvador Soldi

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