Day two of the Legends Stage at IEM Katowice saw two teams qualify for the next stage: The Champions stage. The world’s two best teams Astralis and Team Liquid booked their berths for the Top Eight Champions stage.
Astralis is the best team in the world. After a very dominant couple of matches on Day 1, Astralis just needed to win one single Best of Three to advance to the Champions stage. They were up against Renegades in a Best Of Three qualification match.
It is a good thing that the qualification matches are Best of Three series, as was able to surprise Astralis on Mirage. It was a map that saw Astralis put up a dominant CT side, helped immensely by their mid-control. They were able to have quick flanks on the Renegades executes and never allowed the Australian team to settle down.
At half-time, it looked all but over for Renegades as Astralis led the map 12-3. However, Renegades was not ready to let go. After winning the pistol round on the back of Gratisfaction’s three kills, Renegades did not allow Astralis any leeway. The Danish team did manage to win a few rounds after the initial pistol taking the score to 12-5. After that started a long and tedious comeback for Renegades who managed to take the score to overtime. It was an amazing comeback and Astralis looked extremely weak on their Mirage T-Side.
The remaining two maps went the way of Astralis as the Danish team seemed to get back in its groove. They were clinical and systematic in their finish and won the series 2-1. Despite Renegades losing 1-2 to Astralis, their performance in this particular series was one of the best. Under the guidance of Kassad, Renegades has flourished into a strong team with a deep tactical approach.
The North American team has emerged as a strong competitor to the Astralis era. They faced off against CIS team Natus Vincere in their qualification match. The three map series saw Team liquid emerge victorious 2-0 over Natus Vincere. It was helped immensely by an individual performance by Twistzz who ended the series with 46 frags across two maps.
The first map of Mirage saw Na’Vi pick up the first four rounds. However, it was quickly followed by a streak of rounds from Liquid. The first half went back and forth with both the teams winning a few rounds in succession. In the end, Team LIquid managed to win the last few rounds to take the half to a 9-6 scoreline. The second half of the map continued with both teams running neck to neck. Flamie emerged as the top fragger on the team, however, it was still not enough as Team Liquid took Map 1. It ended with a 16-14 scoreline, with Twistzz’s performance being crucial to the last few rounds.
Dust 2 was a much more clear picture as Team Liquid put on a very strong T side performance to win the map. They ensured that Na’Vi never got a stable economy and was able to compete against Team Liquid on an even footing. The entire team seemed to be down and out throughout the series. Without any standout performances from S1mple and Electronic bailing them out, Na’Vi never really stood a chance. The coordinated effort by Team Liquid saw them outclass Na’Vi in many aspects of the game.
Na’Vi still has a chance to qualify for the next stage. They will play Avangar in their next match, the winner qualifying for The Champions Stage.
Day two of the Legends stage saw two teams eliminated from the Major. BIG Gaming and NRG Esports are out of the Major, which means they will have to start from the very bottom for the Starladder IMBATV Major.
BIG Gaming has not looked the same after the departure of Smooya. The British AWPer provided them with a lot of inconsistent performances, however, he allowed them to reach new peak performances. Without Smooya on the team, the roster seems to lack the firepower necessary to take on the top tier teams. Despite Gob B’s excellent tactical acumen, there is only so much he can do with the lineup available to him.
BIG Gaming ends the Major run with 0-3 in the Legends stage. The next Major takes place in their hometown of Berlin and they would have loved to secure a Legend Stage Invite. However, without results to show for themselves, the team definitely needs to start preparing for the upcoming Major right away.
NRG Gaming’s performance sees a huge gap between their online self and LAN performance. Their star player in Cerq has a very minimal impact on LAN and it shows in their results. NRG was up against Complexity, a team playing with a stand-in and a relatively new addition to the roster.
The first map saw Stanislaw carry team Complexity with 45 frags in one map. He finished the map with an ADR of 123.8, towering over anyone else in the server. With smart movement across the map, Stanislaw was able to decimate NRG’s playstyle on the map. Stanislaw was able to mount the strong performance on T side for Complexity. However, the map went into two overtimes and ultimately Complexity emerged as the winner. It was a very draining and lengthy map which definitely extracted a lot from the players.
The second map was all Complexity as they started out strong on their T side of Cache. NRG did make a small comeback and managed to have a very close first half. The half ended with a score of 8-7. It looked all but lost for NRG as they were soon down 9-14 in the map. With strong CT side after winning the pistol round, Complexity was just two rounds away from securing the map and series. However, NRG struggled through the rest of the map. They were barely able to secure the 15 rounds in order to manage to go to Overtime.
In Overtime, however, Complexity provided no leeway for NRG to make any plays. The Complexity CT side on Overtime looked very strong and they managed to win 2 rounds. On their T side, it was just a matter of finishing up the map and securing their survival at the Major.
Complexity is one of the well-known Counter-Strike teams. They have survived through decades and it is heartening to see them in action at the Katowice Major. They will play against Faze Clan in the next round of matches.
We head into the third day of matches with some really fascinating match-ups. These are not elimination matches but rather qualification matches. The winner of every Best of Three series on Day 3 will advance to the Champions stage.
The Day 3 Matchups:
You can catch all the action live on Twitch.