Team Liquid and Astralis storm the Playoffs of IEM Katowice on the very first day

Team Liquid and Astralis have done exceptionally well in the group stage of IEM Katowice, breaking through to the playoffs on the very first day, and putting themselves that much closer to the title. They made the championship bracket with their 2-0 wins in Group A. They’ll compete for the semifinals tomorrow. The winner of the match will, of course, enter the semifinals, while the loser will move to the quarterfinals. All in all, both these teams are off to a good start at taking their unfair share of the half a million dollar prize pool.

Astralis forged into IEM Katowice on a tide of skill, strategy and sheer luck

While that’s true, it’s also true that coldzera handed them the match on a platter when he was alt-tabbed from the game by his PC (Just how does one manage to do that in a pro-game?). But Astralis didn’t start out playing SK Gaming in the group stage of IEM Katowice – they started their winning streak with Renegades, who they brutalized 16-13 to take Train. Then they went up against SK Gaming, who’d just come off their own success against AVANGAR, whom they beat 16-10.

Astralis picked Overpass for the first map, and won it fairly effortlessly, 16-12. Then the match went into Mirage. Though Astralis started out strong, SK Gaming hit back hard to push the match into overtime. But brilliant playing from gla1ve and Xyp9x gave Astralis a lead, allowing them to take the match 22-18 as – it is claimed – coldzera’s computer pushed his focus from CSGO to apps it felt were more important.

That brings us to Team Liquid’s move into the playoffs

Liquid started out in the group stage of IEM Katowice by flattening Gambit – who do have a tendency to assume the horizontal before any competent team these days – by a whopping 16-10. Team Liquid then went up against Cloud9, who have truly evolved into a fearsome team this year. Not only have Cloud9 been churning out the wins, but they moved to face Liquid after burying Tyloo without much difficulty.

Cloud9 actually did very well in the pistol rounds, taking three of them, but Liquid didn’t allow them to ‘cash’ in on any advantage that might have given them. Keith Markovic, or NAF, did an exceptional job of putting the opposition down, averaging out twenty five kills in each map. Team Liquid went on to win Inferno by a fairly dominating 16-11, while they took Overpass by an almost-equally crushing 16-12. In any case, the Cloud9 players seemed to be apathetic and in a fairly advanced stage of exhaustion by that time. Both Team Liquid and Astralis seem to have recovered from the various issues these teams faced over the last year, and are doing exceptionally well in the first quarter of this year.

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