The lack of fans didn't hinder teams from delivering brutal quarterfinal and crushing semifinal matches and now the grand final is now less than a day away.
The penultimate day of #IEM Katowice 2020 has come to an end and we have our Grand Finalists!— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) February 29, 2020
Tune in tomorrow at 16:40 CET tomorrow to see who'll lift the trophy!@G2esports vs. @natusvincere pic.twitter.com/e5wOsXjkpd
Favourites fell short and underdogs surprised many, but in the end it was G2 Esports and Natus Vincere that will be within touching distance of the trophy in the grand final.
Both teams could take the title with impressive fallen foes in their paths. Two of the game's best AWPers will go head-to-head in the first 2020 clash in the ESL Pro Tour.
s1mple, +89, 1.30— Maniac (@Maniac_CSGO) March 1, 2020
kennyS, +68, 1.28
Two of the most gifted players CS:GO has ever seen, going at each other with full force.
My heart can only take so much.
It has been three years since the formation of the French superteam under the G2 banner. Only Kenny "kennyS" Schrub remains from that lineup and it is now that he is hitting a streak of form that reminds everyone why he is still considered one the greatest snipers in the game.
With a 13 map streak since the Champions Cup Finals in Malta last year, G2 stunned most by topping their group during the BLAST Premier Spring Season in London earlier this month.
Ahead of that tourney, G2 had qualified for IEM Katowice through the European Qualifier, with expectations low and many considering BLAST a fluke performance and a symptom of the player break taking effect on the likes of Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves.
They continued to surprise by going on to take down 100 Thieves once again, this time in dominant fashion (16-2, 16-3), before also defeating mousesports and Team Liquid.
Going into the playoffs, G2's members occupied four of the top six player slots at the event in terms of performance.
Many suspected the resurgence of Fnatic, with a core that has won more IEM Katowice titles than any other, would take them down in the semifinal, but they too failed to stop G2.
The addition of both Nemanja "nexa" Isaković and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač has helped G2 once again challenge the best in the world and it will take a team effort to take the trophy.
No one can deny Na'Vi are a dangerous team with a player that is undeniably one of GO's best in Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev. While previous iterations of the CIS lineup had weak links, the current form of the team once again puts the AWP in his hands as Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov's leadership begins to bloom as 2020 begins.
It is possible to argue that s1mple and Denis "electronic" Sharipov are the greatest duo in CS:GO but the other three players have their own strengths too, making Na'Vi a well-rounded opponent with an average age of just 21.7.
BLAST Premier was a positive event for Na'Vi too as they topped their group over Astralis, Complexity and Team Vitality.
With a convincing win over 100 Thieves in the quarterfinal, Astralis awaited them in the semifinal. The Danish powerhouse had taken the IEM Katowice 2019 title and remained the favourites in the eyes of many despite underperforming in London.
There might have been no crowd, but the world witnessed a dismantling as s1mple led the charge, ensuring a swift 2-0 over the best team in the world. Only 10 rounds across the two maps could be stolen away by Astralis before they were eliminated.
Natus Vincere will take on G2 Esports on 1st March in a best-of-five match starting from 16:00 GMT (17:00 CET) and broadcast live on the ESL Twitch channel and across other platforms.