CS:GO Katowice Minor took place from 16th to 20th of January. Here is the short recap of what happened.
European Minor featured eight teams, four of which showed up in group A. One of the strongest squads in the world, mousesports, OpTic Gaming, capable of upsetting anyone on a given day, uprising Team Vitality, debuting their new lineup and Valiance, seeking the chance to get to the Major tournament.
As Valiance managed to outlast mousesports in the opener, it was a chance for Team Vitality to dodge the German organization altogether, a chance which they seized with a success. 16-8 against OpTic Gaming on de_dust2, a full three map affair against Valiance – French squad finished first in the group, advancing to the playoffs. OpTic Gaming, unfortunately for themselves, lost to mousesports in the lower bracket final, but the main upset came later, as Valiance swept mousesports with 16-12 on de_train and 16-8 on de_cache, eliminating mouz and moving forward in the tournament.
Group B consisted of North, eager to return themselves to the elite status, ENCE eSports, seeking their first appearance at the Major, Space Soldiers, who have already been there before and Windigo Gaming, capable of winning series against anybody on a given day.
As North collapsed against Windigo on de_overpass, losing 16-6, ENCE eSports used the opportunity to avoid the Danes altogether, as Finns won de_train against Space Soldiers, 16-6 and followed it with 16-12 on de_mirage and 16-3 on de_inferno against Bulgarian team, moving to playoffs. North eliminated Space Soldiers in the lower bracket before dropping de_overpass to Windigo Gaming once again, this time, 16-12. However, 16-9 on de_inferno and 16-13 on de_dust2 was enough for North to clinch the spot in the next stage, still contending for the spot at the Major in Katowice.
Team Vitality looked in control on de_nuke in the opener, but North came back after the half time, turning the game into the 16-14 finish for themselves. de_dust2 was nearly the same as French squad led convincingly at the break, but Danes turned the things around with a nearly stellar second half, picking up a 16-12 win to take the series in their favor. Valiance started out strong on de_dust2, winning it 16-9, but ENCE eSports roared back on de_mirage, 16-11, and de_train, 16-9, moving into the upper bracket final.
Back and forth affair on de_train ended up in the second overtime, where ENCE eSports took a 22-20 win, while de_inferno was all about the Finns, who demolished North in the first half to pick up the 16-7 win and advanced to their first Major championship. In the lower bracket, Valiance took de_cache, 16-13, but Team Vitality responded with the same 16-13 on de_dust2, as the closest series of the European Minor ended up on de_inferno, where French squad won 16-14 and advanced to the final match. North started with a come back in the second half on de_mirage, taking it 16-12, but Team Vitality nearly swept de_nuke, 16-5, and de_inferno, 16-8, qualifying for the Major in Katowice, leaving North in need of playing a play-in bracket later.
Group A at Americas Minor featured NRG Esports, massive favorite to take one of the direct spots in Katowice, Poland, uprising South African squad Bravado Gaming, Brazilian INTZ eSports and Imperial e-Sports trying to clinch their own playoffs berths as well.
First to make it out were expectedly NRG Esports, as North American team took out Imperial e-Sports on de_nuke, 16-8, before winning de_inferno, 16-8, and de_train, 16-7, against Bravado Gaming, moving to the final four of the event. In the Brazilian derby, INTZ eSports came out on top despite dropping one of the maps, as the rematch against Bravado Gaming was set up in place. A massive 16-3 on de_inferno and a closer win on de_mirage, 16-12, gave South American team a spot in the semifinals, moving them one step closer to the Major championship.
Group B was built with a Brazilian duo of FURIA Esports and Team One, Team Envy as a dark horse to take it all and eUnited, seeking to finally make it to the Major championship.
FURIA Esports took down eUnited on de_mirage, 16-11, moving to the first-place match against Team Envy, where Brazilian squad came back to win on de_inferno, 16-14 and closed the series out on de_mirage, 16-9. eUnited got eliminated first as Team One got their rematch against Team Envy, who took them down in the opener, 16-3 on de_dust2. Things got trickier for the favorites in the decider, as Brazilian team took de_train, 16-8, but an overtime win on de_dust2, 19-17, and a comeback on de_overpass, 16-14, sealed the deal for Team Envy, who advanced to the playoffs stage at the Americas Minor.
Consecutive wins on de_overpass, 16-11, and de_mirage, 16-9, gave NRG Esports a series win over Team Envy, moving them one step closer to the coveted Major spot. In the Brazilian derby, INTZ eSports scored first, winning de_train, 16-8, but FURIA Esports took de_mirage, 16-9, and de_inferno, 16-7, advancing further. However, NRG Esports was not to be stopped this time, as 16-9 on de_inferno and 16-12 on de_cache gave them a long-awaited slot at the Major.
A massive 16-2 performance on de_dust2 gave Team Envy a lead, but INTZ eSports did not give up even after a disastrous first half on de_train, sweeping the second one for a 16-11 equalizer. Back and forth on de_overpass, Team Envy won nearly all of the important rounds, taking the map 16-8, and the series, 2-1, advancing to the final match of the Minor. There, FURIA Esports demolished Team Envy on de_overpass, 16-2 and closed things out on de_cache, 16-11, securing their first berth at the Major and leaving Team Envy for a chance to go through the play-in bracket later this week.
Group A at the Asia Minor Championship featured Renegades, the biggest favorite to take the slot at the Major, Grayhound Gaming, seeking their chance to make it to the main event, CyberZen, capable of upsetting anybody in the region on a given day and Aequus Club, eager to prove themselves.
A 16-7 win on de_inferno against Aequus Club gave Renegades an opening into the winners match, where 16-14 on de_cache and 19-17 on de_mirage gave them a close series against Grayhound Gaming and a spot in the semifinals. CyberZen did not give up after losing 16-14 on de_mirage to Aequus Club and won 16-9 on de_inferno and 16-6 on de_train, advancing into the decider match against Grayhound Gaming, who won the opener against the Chinese team, 16-10 on de_overpass. The final match started on the same map, and this time went the way of the Australian team, 16-12, but CyberZen forced a deciding map as they took de_inferno, 16-14. Back and forth affair on de_mirage allowed Grayhound Gaming to win 16-12, moving into the semifinals and keep their hopes of making it to the Katowice, Poland, alive.
Group B at the Asia Minor featured Vici Gaming, seeking another slot at the Major for China, Beyond Esports, who had to play with stand-ins at the event and two South Korean teams, MVP PK and GOSU, rounding out the list.
First to get out of the group were MVP PK, as 16-8 on de_mirage against Beyond Esports turned into 16-14 on de_mirage and 16-5 on de_nuke against GOSU, giving the famous core a spot in the semifinals. Vici Gaming, who suffered a 16-12 loss to GOSU on de_inferno, had to fight their way from the lower bracket, as they won 16-7 on de_mirage and 16-8 on de_inferno against Beyond Esports to move into the decider match. There VG found their rematch against South Koreans, as they won de_mirage, 16-13, and came back to take de_train in the overtime, 19-17, advancing to the final four of the event.
Vici Gaming kept their streak from the group stage alive, as they opened the series against Renegades with 16-11 win on de_mirage, but Australian team responded well, winning de_inferno, 16-5, and de_train, 16-7, to move into the upper bracket finals. MVP PK started with a 16-9 victory on de_nuke, but could not keep up as Grayhound Gaming won 16-8 on de_cache and 16-8 on de_dust2 to advance in the bracket as well. They took de_inferno, 16-6, in the rematch against Renegades as well, but the favorites won de_mirage, 16-11, and de_cache, 16-13, qualifying for a yet another Major championship for themselves.
Vici Gaming took de_mirage away from MVP PK, 16-12, and closed the series on de_train, 16-8, advancing to face off against Grayhound Gaming in the decider match. VG started strong on de_overpass, 16-6, but Australian squad responded with the same 16-6 scoreline on de_mirage to tie the things up. The last map was back and forth, as de_dust2 resulted in the Australian team taking it 16-13, advancing to the Major event and leaving Chinese squad with a chance to go through the play-in stage later this week.
Group A at the CIS Minor featured Major winners Gambit Esports, Team Spirit, seeking their return to the biggest stage, Syman Gaming, trying to make a splash and Nemiga Gaming, rounding out the list.
As SG took down the fan favorites on de_train, 16-12, the road was clear for Team Spirit to take the first place. 19-15 on de_mirage against Nemiga Gaming, 16-11 on de_dust2 and 22-18 on de_mirage against Syman Gaming – all of that allowed them to move into the next stage. Gambit Esports, however, fired back with 16-9 on de_train and 16-4 on de_inferno against NG, but SG still started with a 16-7 win on de_mirage in the decider series. However, last Polish Major winners managed to build up a comeback with 16-2 on de_dust2 and 16-10 on de_train, making it to the semifinals of the event.
CIS Minor’s Group B was filled with Winstrike Team, eager to return to the Major playoffs, AVANGAR, recently rising once again, pro100, trying to find a way into the elite and Runtime.gg, featuring a mix of veterans and young blood to round out the quartet.
Both AVANGAR and Winstrike Team started with convincing wins, as the former took down pro100, 16-5 on de_dust2 and the latter won 16-6 against Runtime.gg on the very same de_dust2, before moving to the winners match against each other. AVANGAR picked up de_dust2, 16-5, but Winstrike Team came back from a deficit to take de_cache, 16-13, closing it out on de_train, 16-7 to move into the semifinals. Runtime.gg scored first on de_dust2, 16-8, but 16-11 on de_cache and 16-3 on de_mirage was enough for pro100 to move into the decider match, where they had to face AVANGAR once again. There AVANGAR won 16-13 on de_inferno and 16-12 on de_dust2, finalizing the list of the semifinals teams at the CIS Minor.
AVANGAR stunned Team Spirit in the opening match, as they won de_overpass, 16-6, and de_dust2, 16-5, moving into the upper bracket finals. 16-12 on de_cache gave Winstrike Team the lead in the series, but Gambit Esports equalized with a comeback on de_overpass, 16-13. However, de_dust2 went the way of Winstrike Team again, who took it in the overtime, 19-16, advancing further. 16-6 for AVANGAR on de_dust2 turned into a massive comeback on de_train for Winstrike, but they could not close the series this time, as AVANGAR won de_mirage, 16-7, returning to the Major Championship.
Team Spirit opened the lower bracket set against Gambit Esports with a 16-7 win on de_mirage and then followed it with 16-13 on de_overpass, eliminating the favorites from contention. Winstrike scored first on de_nuke, taking it in the very last round of regulation, 16-14, but Team Spirit took de_overpass, 16-6, and de_dust2, 16-9, booking their slot in Katowice without having to play in the play-in bracket stage.
North was considered to be massive favorites of the play-in bracket, but they got stunned in the very first round, as Vici Gaming routed them on de_inferno, winning it 16-8. Winstrike Team took down Team Envy on de_overpass, 16-4, before playing a much closer game on the same de_overpass against VG, but still winning, 16-14, punching their tickets to the Major Championship in Katowice, Poland.
Moving forward to the lower bracket, North closed things out on de_train after having a massive first half, 16-9, and then eliminated Team Envy on de_mirage, 16-11, setting up a rematch against Vici Gaming for the slot at the Major. However, Chinese team did not want to give up the chance and won de_dust2, 16-12, before coming back and holding on against multiple match points on de_inferno, making it 22-20 to win the series and become the last, twenty-fourth team at the Major, debuting there later this winter.