IEM Katowice 2019: Asia Minor preview and live streams

CSGO

We run the rule over the eight teams bidding to reach IEM Katowice 2019 - the CSGO Major - via the Asia Minor.

All Katowice Minor 2019 live streams can be found in our matches section, with the Asia Minor taking place from January 22nd to 26th.

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Group A

Renegades

The clear and outstanding favourites to go through from this group would appear to be Renegades but there are a few obstacles in their way that could prove problematic. They face a tough domestic matchup with Grayhound Gaming, as well as an unknown quantity in the shape of Israeli side Aequus Club, but have shown great form of late and should still make it through to week one of the Major. They’ve recorded recent wins over BIG and G2, which shows just how good the AUS/EU mix can be when they get everything right.
Expected finish: 1st

Aequus Club

Information on Aequus Club is not easy to come by, with the official twitter account following six Israeli pros and HLTV not able to provide their names or pictures, but in this case that can be considered information of itself. They have eight games listed on HLTV in total, with their most recent result a 0-2 series loss to Nexus, and while this will be great experience for them, that lack of top level savvy means they are unlikely to make any impact at this Minor.
Expected finish: 4th

Grayhound Gaming

Meme kings of CSGO are Grayhound Gaming, with DickStacey the face of AUS CSGO memery, but there is more to the team than a penis joke. They are capable of beating any OCE team on their day, and going toe-to-toe with the best Asia has to offer as well, and with the favourites for this group being domestic rivals Renegades there is a great change for Grayhound to streak out of the gates and book themselves an unlikely spot in Poland, as well as a shot at a sticker that says Dick on it. What more could you want?
**Expected finish: 2nd **

CyberZen
In recent months, this Chinese team has beaten the likes of Flash Gaming, MVP PK and even Tyloo, but the way Chinese and Asian CSGO is right now makes it hard to draw too many conclusions from individual results. Meetings with EU sides have generally seen CyberZen lose without breaking the five-round mark, as Mousesports and HellRaisers absolutely handled them last October, making this a long and tricky road for the CN side. Don’t expect too much, but don’t completely write CyberZen off either, as this group is wide open.
Expected finish: 3rd

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Group B

Vici Gaming

Of all the groups in the Minor phase, Group B of the Asian region is probably the hardest to predict, and least likely to produce a side that can make an impact in Poland. Vici Gaming look like the best team in it, but have consistently sat behind Tyloo in the Chinese ranks for a long time, to the point where you wonder if their ceiling was achieved a while back. Recent losses to Flash, Vega and EHOME paint a worrying picture for them and they might even be overturned before the end of the Minor.
Expected finish: 2nd

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GOSU

In many ways, the adoption of CSGO by South Korea would be one of the best things that could happen to the game and the move to go free-to-play might have increased the chances of that. In the short term, though, this is not a nation that is likely to field a top-level team in 2019 and that makes these events all about gathering experience and information for the players involved. Recently, they’ve lost to both CyberZen and MVP, with the latter result a 2-0 series defeat, suggesting they might struggle to make top two of the group.
Expected finish: 3rd

MVP PK

This is the team that has flown the flag for Korean CSGO for a while now, but like many of the Asian teams they have struggled to break into the next tier of teams and compete with the best sides from EU and beyond. Recently, they’ve also suffered some worrying losses to the likes of EHOME, CyberZen and NRG, although the latter would be more expected, but their experience and pedigree should see them come through if pressure moments do occur.
Expected finish: 1st
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Beyond Esports

Beyond are undoubtedly one of the better teams we’ve seen from Thailand in CSGO, but this is another level of competition for a team that has dominated their domestic scene for a little while now. Wins over TNC and BOOT are mixed in with a 0-2 defeat against group mates GOSU and series defeats to Romania’s Nexus and Flow, a lower-tier Swedish team, making it hard to have confidence that the Thai team are going to go beyond this point of the Major cycle.
Expected finish: 4th

More IEM Katowice previews

Images: CSGO2Asia/Twitter.

Tim MastersTim joined Luckbox as an editor in 2018, having previously spent time at GosuGamers, EsportsHeaven and other sites. He currently is not at his desk.

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