With 2018 now done and dusted, we can now firmly look forward to the four IEM Katowice 2019 Minors, where as many as eight (8) teams per region are vying for a spot at the first Major of 2019 in February.
Similar to what FACEIT did last time when they had all the Minors play things out on LAN in London, ESL too will have all the aspiring teams play each other in a LAN setting at the ESL Arena in Katowice.
Which teams will we see power it through the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors? Which underdogs will turn a lot of heads? Will the recent roster changes have a huge effect on the hierarchy of things? We will discuss all of that, and more, below, as we make a list of all the teams to watch at the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors.
The Teams to Keep a Close Eye on at the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors
ENCE eSports (Katowice — Europe)
Arguably the best CS:GO team in all of Finland, ENCE eSports are a strong and legitimate tier 2 team. However, as much as they have flashed the potential to be one of the best in the world, they also remain far too inconsistent to be considered as such just yet. But, at the very least, they are getting there, and a win at the StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 6, as well as DreamHack Winter Open 2018 recently, should give ENCE eSports a huge confidence boost heading into the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors.
Neither favourites nor underdogs, ENCE eSports should be one of the more interesting teams to watch in Katowice, for better or for worse.
Betting: ENCE to win Europe Minor IEM Katowice at 5.2 odds. (ArcaneBet)
mousesports (Katowice — Europe)
Of all the teams playing at the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors, mousesports arguably have the strongest case not to be playing here, but because they didn’t exactly have the best showing at the FACEIT Major in London, they find themselves in this slightly precarious situation.
One of the five best teams in CS:GO right now, mousesports’ roster features an interesting mix of older and younger talent, as well as Martin ‘STYKO‘ Styk, who the team has kicked before only to bring back in a few months later. With multiple deep finishes in the latter half of 2018, including an upset win over Team Liquid at the Grand Finals of ESL One New York 2018, we all already know what mousesports can achieve with the kind of firepower their roster has.
While their lack of a dedicated support player has hurt them in the past against top teams, mousesports should have no problems outgunning their competition in the Minors.
Betting: mousesports to win Europe Minor IEM Katowice at 2.80 odds. (ArcaneBet)
Vici Gaming (Katowice — Asia)
With TYLOO already playing as one of the returning challengers at IEM Katowice 2019, at least one of the spots from the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors in Asia should be Vici Gaming’s for the taking.
Currently ranked as the third-best team in Asia, Vici Gaming aren’t exactly what you’d refer to as international contenders, but they are something. It also helps that they’re up against relatively shallow competition, with Renegades arguably the only team considered better than them, making achieving New Challenger status certainly possible.
Betting: Vici Gaming to win Asia Minor IEM Katowice at 5.40 odds. (ArcaneBet)
Addition via subtraction is a very real thing in CS:GO, or in team sports, in general. A lot of lineups have gone on to achieve better things by simply replacing another player, even if the move is not a clear upgrade.
Gambit Esports could be the next team to undergo such a positive change after bidding farewell to Dauren ‘AdreN‘ Kystaubayev.
One of the longest-serving members of the team, AdreN has seen it all in Gambit Esports. Though they have had chemistry issues in the past, even when they won a Major, he stuck through them nevertheless. But, apparently, things got too much and the team chose to release him in December. His replacement, Vladyslav ‘bondik‘ Nechyporchuk might not necessarily be an upgrade. However, the former Hellraisers rifler probably won’t disrupt the chemistry either. Not to mention, he’s currently on trial, which gives him a lot of incentives to try his best and help the team earn a spot at the Major itself.
Betting: Gambit to win CIS Minor IEM Katowice at 4.00 odds. (ArcaneBet)
Team Envy (Katowice — Americas)
With Finn ‘karrigan‘ Andersen on loan from FaZe Clan, the expectations for Team Envy have changed dramatically. No longer underdogs, Team Envy are all but expected to make it to the Majors by now. Sure, most are still sleeping on them, and rightfully so. You can’t really expect karrigan to dramatically turn around a team’s fortune just like that, but then again, you’ll never know. After all, this is still karrigan we’re talking about.
As much flack as karrigan has received in recent times, he still remains one of the best in-game leaders in all of CS:GO.
Sometimes, all it takes is to bring in a top-tier IGL for a team to surpass expectations and turn a lot of heads. If everything clicks, Team Envy have a huge chance of being the underdog story of, not just the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors, but the entire Major itself.
Betting: Team Envy to win Americas Minor IEM Katowice at 12.oo odds. (ArcaneBet)
What better way to kick off 2019 than with the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors. Even if most of the top-tier teams are absent from the competition, with a spot at the Major on the list, you can expect every team to try their best so they can advance to the next stage of the competition.
Having said that, there should be plenty of room for upsets and unlikely victors here.
Which teams do you think will emerge victorious from the IEM Katowice 2019 Minors? Do you think that the teams we singled out will perform to expectations? Or will other teams pull off the unlikely upset? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.