IEM Katowice has come to a close, this last weekend of CS:GO competition closing what has been a incredible couple of weekends of esports. The CS:GO competition itself kicked off midweek, with a group stage that was a lot closer than anyone could've anticipated. It was only OpTic Gaming and Ninjas In Pyjamas that posted disastrous results, with OG failing to claim even a single game - though it was close at times. Both groups featured three tied places for first though, Group A having three 4-1 victories while Group B had three 3-2 victories. This meant tiebreakers were needed to be played to decide the winners. Ultimately it was Astralis and Immortals from Group A and North and Na'Vi from Group B that progressed through to the quarterfinals. It was FaZe Clan and Heroic that topped their respective groups, however, and so they automatically qualified for the semifinals.
CS:GO IEM Katowice Quarterfinals
North vs Immortals
Beginning the finals stage was a nail-biting series between North and Immortals. The first map of the series, which began on Cache, as Immortals took complete control of the game. It seemed like a clear victory for the team, claiming 13 rounds to North's meagre 3. But as the sides switched, North stepped up, really taking charge and managing to pull the game from the brink and managing to tie it up at 14 rounds each. It was an incredible feat - especially after the team's opening performance - that built up a lot of hype for the series. Immortals woke up at this point, however, pushing on for the victory with two very strong rounds that gave North nothing to hold on to. The second game had a similar story, with North starting out with an early lead while Immortals fought tooth and nail to hold on. Immortals stepped up a little earlier than North had in the last game, however, and even took the first half 9-6. North wasn't about to give up, however, and fought well in the following rounds, drawing the game into overtime and finally finishing up 19-15. Onto the third and final of the series, then, but it was a much flatter game than the previously two had offered, an initial pistol round and strong lead from there giving Immortals 11 rounds to North's 4 by halftime. North could not muster a similar aggressive comeback this time, the game finally closing 16-6 and giving Immortals the victory.
Astralis vs Na'Vi
The second quarterfinal game promised to be an exciting one. Both sides had shown they were in it from the start, and though Na'Vi was the underdog here it's initial performances in group stage had shown some promise, so there was a lot of hope from many of the fans. What happened wasn't quite that, however, with Astralis pushing on for an easy 2-0 sweep against Na'Vi in a series that can only be described as a stomping. Na'Vi was up against it from the start, losing the initial pistol round before struggling to fight to maintain a stake in the game. Despite the half-time scores ending fairly even, in Na'Vi's favour in fact, Astralis would not let up and went on control almost the whole second half for a 16-11 win. In the second game, however, it was clear Na'Vi was distraught and it appeared as though the team hadn't even showed up, smashed by Astralis with a 16-2 victory.
CS:GO IEM Katowice Semifinals
FaZe Clan vs Immortals
Despite the strength that Immortals had shown from the start of the finals, none could've stood up to the strength that FaZe had begun the series with. While the pistol round went to Immortals, FaZe Clan strode through the remaining rounds with great confidence, taking an strong lead before Immortals managed to catch up once more. By the time the second half begun, however, the confident FaZe Clan returned, chasing off any hope that Immortals might've built up with a relatively easy 16-9 win. The second game of the series began similarly, with the roles reversed. This time Immortals took the charge, taking the first half with 9-6 after a tense back and forth between the two sides. The second half maintained a similar level of tension, but it was for nothing for Immortals. Despite the strong showing that Immortals displayed here, it was only able to win a single round, with FaZe claiming 10 rounds and enough to win the game and the series.
Heroic vs Astralis
With formerly named Team X already high on confidence from its placement in the semifinals, many expected it would be Heroic that would go on to win. Astralis is easily one of the hottest names in CS:GO, however, and nothing was going to block them from the grand finals. There was potential for Heroic, though, with a set of impressive early rounds that gave them the advantage and a hype that many believed would prove unstoppable. Astralis took a tactical pause, though, using the time to resolve its early issues that then lead to Astralis equalising by half-time and then going on to win the tough series 16-12. Astralis used this momentum in the second game, taking the first few rounds to put Heroic on the defensive. While Heroic claimed a handful of round wins, Astralis was just too much and took a huge lead of 12-3 by halftime. While Astralis needed to do very little to win at this point, Heroic did not make it easy for them. While Heroic managed to claw back 9 rounds with relative ease, Astralis still went on to win the series with another 16-12 victory.
CS:GO IEM Katowice Grand Finals
Astralis vs FaZe Clan
The final was always going to be an exciting one, and with the back and forth that Astralis and FaZe Clan played no one was disappointed. The first game of the best-of-five series started as the rest played out, a handful of rounds for FaZe, a handful for Astralis, ending in a 9-6 first half for FaZe in a game that showed no clear victor from the start. It was not a clean set of rounds, either, though FaZe at least managed to take control towards the latter part of the first half. Ultimately this became too much for Astralis, and the advantage that FaZe gained proved took much - FC taking the first game of the series 16-9. The second game began as the first did, this time with FaZe gaining the upper-hand early on and using that to hold back the persistence of Astralis. By the next half and at a 9-6 round disadvantage, it seemed like Astralis knew it needed to pull something special out of the box. An outstanding play by Dupreeh stopped FaZe in its tracks, and while Astralis wouldn't dominate every round from then it was enough to shock FaZe that Astralis could pull ahead for a 16-12 victory. It was Astralis' turn to take charge by the third game of the series, using the confidence gained from the second game to control the third map, Nuke, with unfathomable teamwork. By the second half here it had gone on to take a lead of 10 rounds to 5. Once again the back and forth continued, FaZe turning up the heat to draw the game closer and bringing that Astralis lead down a little, but it ultimately did not prove to be enough. Astralis always kept ahead of the game, keeping that lead for yet another 16-12 win. With two games to one, Astralis now had an opportunity to run away with the series and the final. Yet while it kept in control of the game, forcing FaZe to react to them, it was never obvious who was in charge. A 9-6 first half gave Astralis the lead, but with the way FaZe Clan had been playing it was far from over. As if to prove that, the third game climaxed at a 13 round tie, both sides fighting for dominance on Inferno. All it took was a very comfortable round win for Astralis to give it the confidence to take the following two more, a 16-13 map win and taking the series to a 3-1 victory. This was Astralis' second consecutive major tournament victory, claiming $100,000 of the $250,000 prize pool to add IEM Katowice 2017 as its latest achievement.