Nick J. January 10, 2020
The North American closed qualifiers were hotly contested, but Cloud9's fresh roster prevailed.
2020's iteration of IEM Katowice came with a new set of rules for qualifiers, as well as a reduction in the number of slots assigned regions. This year, North America has a single slot. The change forced teams that would have normally attended together fight over the single opportunity to compete in Poland.
Some of the top North American teams were in attendance, and the qualifiers provided some of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches so far this year. Cloud9, MIBR, Complexity Gaming, INTZ, Gen.G, Chaos Esports Club, Riot Squad, and Furia all played. With the spot on the line, an early loss sent teams to the lower bracket, while the winner of the upper bracket proceeded directly to the grand final.
Cloud9 goes undefeated, beats MIBR 3-1
Cloud9 didn't lose a single matchup on their way to the IEM Katowice spot and a first-place finish at the North American Qualifiers. Its roster, the recently signed ATK, absolutely blew MIBR out of the water in the finals, both proving their talent and calling into question MIBR's standing as a top team. Cloud9's took the Brazillian heavyweights to task with their a roster whose contracts still weren't dry:
- Johnny "JT" Theodosiou
- Ian "motm" Hardy
- Aran "Sonic" Groesbeek
- Joshua "oSee" Ohm
- Ricky "floppy" Kemery
- Tiaan "T.c" Coertzen (Coach)
Despite a close first half, MIBR's CT side was at times sloppy and uncoordinated. Cloud9 didn't hesitate and took advatage of every one of MIBR's mistakes.
With Cloud9 up 2-1 in the best-of-five grand final, both teams pulled out all the stops. Gabriel "FalleN" Toldeo at one point almost mirrored Jake "Stewie2K" Yip's infamous B-site hold during the ELEAGUE Boston Major. oSee, however, had other plans for the round.
This wasn't the only highlight play that would come from Inferno. A quadruple kill from motm in the first round of the map would set the tone for the game that followed. motm refused to die, taking four MIBR members down in a massive clutch that put MIBR away for the rest of the game.
There were bright spots for MIBR, specifically a monster impact from Epitácio "TACO" de Melo that made the loss of Marcelo "coldzera" David look less important. While not reflected statistically, TACO was a part of several pivotal plays for the Brazillian team that fielded this roster at the qualifiers:
- Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo
- Fernando "fer" Alvarenga
- Epitácio "TACO " de Melo
- Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe
- Ignacio "meyern" Meyer
- Wilton "zews " Prado (Coach)
While the loss stung for the South Americans, North American C9 fans immediately reached for their tank tops as Twitter exploded with the return of what was once one of the region's most likable teams.
Although the loveable members Mike "Shroud" Grzesiek, Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert, and Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham are long gone, maybe the hardcore C9 fans can come to appreciate the new roster. Cloud9 made a shrewd move signing ATK, despite the initial disappointment fans felt at autimatic's departure.
If betting on these results, not many would have taken the new Cloud9 as the team to make it out against some of their better established opponents. But now the roster as shown the ability to shake large names in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene. There's a decent chance for the roster to make waves at the 2020 IEM Katowice Championships starting on February 25.
Gen.G, Complexity, exit NA Katowice qualifiers early
Despite hopes heading to the qualifiers, the new Gen.G roster put up an uninspired performance at the qualifiers. The team consisting of three ex-Cloud9 members, a young star, and a stand-in for BnTeT dropped a best-of-three to Complexity Gaming.
Complexity's new roster looked much better than North American Counter-Strike fans could have hoped. The international roster showed promise, especially with the addition of Valentin "poizon" Vasilev.
A quick rebound against FURIA in the lower bracket was followed by a 2-0 loss to INTZ. No matter what fans thought the team was capable of, it wasn't this. Although Hunter "SicK" Mimms performed admirably in his stand-in role, but his team still missed Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand
Despite telling Twitter that his P1 visa was approved, the player has yet to appear in America to train with his teammates. Gen.G is comprised of three ex-C9 players and two new additions:
Chaos Esports Club also posted lackluster results. The team defeated the Gen.G roster before losing 2-0 to both Complexity Gaming and MIBR.
Surprisingly, FURIA was the first team to take the long walk home, losing to Chaos EC and Gen.G without taking a single map. Riot Squad followed shortly thereafter. Riot managed to make their series against MIBR competitive, reaching double digits on all three maps. Unfortunately, they couldn't stop Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe on Mirage, narrowly losing to the Brazilians 16-13.