Everything you need to know before IEM Katowice 2022

By Kenneth Williams


Jan 15, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

Katowice is a historic city in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and it’s about to add another important tournament to its list with IEM Katowice 2022.

Intel Extreme Master XVI Katowice 2022 will be the first massive CSGO tournament of the new year. The event will gather 24 of the greatest teams in the world to compete for their share of a $1 million prize pool. It will also host a live audience in the historic Spodek Arena.

This is the perfect opportunity for lapsed CSGO fans to get back into the game. Here’s everything you need to know about CSGO’s IEM Katowice 2022.

CSGO teams competing at IEM Katowice 2022

These teams will clash for the $1 million prize purse at IEM Katowice 2022:

  • FURIA Esports
  • G2 Esports
  • Gambit Esports
  • Natus Vincere
  • Team Liquid
  • Team Vitality
  • Virtus.pro
  • Astralis
  • BIG
  • Copenhagen Flames
  • ENCE
  • Entropiq
  • Extra Salt
  • FaZe Clan
  • Fnatic
  • MIBR
  • MOUZ
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • OG
  • Renegades
  • Wisła Kraków

The first eight teams on the list are direct qualifiers to the group stage. Those squads will start in the 16-team preliminaries.

The next group of 16 will fight for the right to attend the main event in the play-in stage. Eight teams will be eliminated and the rest will advance. This stage will also determine their seeding for the groups. The seeding for the direct qualifiers is at BLAST’s discretion.

Who is the favorite at IEM Katowice 2022?

Of all the teams at IEM Katowice 2022, Natus Vincere is easily the favorite.

The Russian-Ukrainian roster has dominated LAN tournaments over the last two years. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev is the best CSGO player in the world and very possibly the greatest of all time. Rookie Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi gets overshadowed by that star power but isn’t actually far behind him. The rest of the squad is also top-notch, including the recently-engaged captain Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov

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Other potential contenders include Gambit Esports, G2 Esports, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Gambit is the only team to take on Natus Vincere and live to tell the tale. The Russian all-stars even took a tournament off Na’Vi at IEM Fall in October 2021. G2 Esports is probably going to debut a new roster with rising star Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov, who could show up big at this first LAN. Ninjas in Pyjamas is always a threat, especially with a refreshed Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz just off a break.

Will Katowice 2022 have a live audience?

As of the time of writing, IEM Katowice 2022 intends to host a live audience as part of the spectacle. The Spodek Arena, which roughly translates to “saucer,” is the second-largest stadium in all of Poland. It can hold up to 11,00 people, though Katowice’s attendance will likely be much smaller than that. Tickets for the event are already entirely sold out. 

While the event still advertises a live audience, things could change as IEM Katowice 2022 gets closer. Valve’s other esport, Dota 2, had to cancel its entire Winter Major due to health concerns. The developer originally planned for a live audience but shelved the entire event and pocketed the $500,000 prize pool. CSGO and Dota 2 aren’t always handled the same way, but something similar to IEM Katowice 2020 is possible.

How to watch IEM Katowice live

All of IEM Katowice 2022 will be streamed live and for free on the official ESL Twitch channel

It’s possible that fans will be able to watch Katowice 2022 on other platforms as well. ESL also has official channels on YouTube and Facebook Gaming. If you want to get the LAN experience at home, ESL will most likely launch a Katowice experience package in the official merchandise shop. In-person attendees should be able to purchase clothing and accessories on-site.