IEM Katowice is nearly upon us! The second tournament of the 2023 season is due to run from February 1-12, and will see 24 professional CS:GO teams competing for a share of the $1,000,000 prize pool.
IEM Katowice 2023: Day one schedule and betting odds
The tournament will kick off with the Play-In stage, taking place from February 1-3, where we'll see 16 teams going head-to-head.
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The matches will take place under a Double-Elimination bracket, with the February 1 matches being decided under the best of one rule, while all subsequent matches are best of three.
10 AM GMT matches
The action will begin with the Upper Bracket round one matches - starting at 10 AM GMT, when we'll see ENCE going up against paiN Gaming.
ENCE will be making their 2023 season debut in Katowice, after having wrapped up 2022 with a win at CCT North Europe Series 2. The Finnish organisation had a respectable showing at last year's high profile events, often coming close to victory but ultimately falling short at the grand finals. Their 2022 highlights include a second place result at ESL Pro League Season 15 and IEM Dallas.
The all-Brazillian team paiN Gaming meanwhile won several lower-profile tournaments in 2022, but struggled at the few high-stakes events they attended last year - including a bruising 21st - 24th placement at IEM Cologne, and a 7th - 8th placement at the 2022 BLAST Premier Spring Finals.
As such, the odds are in ENCE's favour here, at 1.28 vs paiN Gaming's 3.30.
Cloud9 have started the year with a renewed roster, having recently replaced Timofey "interz" Yakushin with former Virtus.Pro player Timur "buster" Tulepov. Time will tell if their newest player will help turn their fortunes around - as despite claiming victory at IEM Dallas, the team struggled elsewhere in 2022. That includes a 9th-12 placement at IEM Cologne and a 5th - 8th placement at IEM Rio.
Still, their record is more impressive than IHC Esports'. The Mongolian organisation launched its CS:GO team in 2022, and despite a busy schedule that year they only attended two high profile events. And their performance at those events was hardly stellar - ranking in 20th - 22nd place at PGL Major Antwerp 2022 and the IEM Rio Major.
The odds are heavily in Cloud9's favour here, at 1.06 vs IHC Esports' 7.00.
11:15 AM GMT matches
Despite impressive performances at lower-profile events (such as their victory at the FiReLEAGUE 2022 Global Finals), Team Spirit has historically struggled at S-tier events. Their highlight of 2022 was likely their 3rd-4th placement at PGL Major Antwerp 2022, a performance that was shortly followed up by a disappointing 13th - 16th placement at ESL Pro League Season 16.
Still, at least they attended some high profile events last year. Grayhound Gaming had a quiet 2022, after the organisation made its return to CS:GO with the acquisition of ORDER lineup in September. As such, they only attended a handful of events. Just one of those was an S-tier event too, where they ranked in 20th - 22nd place at the IEM Rio Major.
The odds are therefore in Team Spirit's favour here, at 1.20 vs Grayhound Gaming's 4.00.
MIBR has struggled at the higher-profile tournaments in recent years, with its last high profile win taking place back at 2019's ESL Pro League Season 10 - Americas, where they placed in 1st-4th place. They've failed to match that performance ever since, with 2022 seeing results like a 17th - 20th placement at ESL Pro League Season 16 and a 21st - 24th placement at IEM Cologne.
Ninjas in Pyjamas meanwhile have been much more prolific at larger events in recent years, though repeatedly failed to claim victory last year. That's not to say that they didn't come close - The team ranked in 3rd-4th place at both the BLAST Premier Fall Finals and ESL Pro League Season 15. Their showing at last year's IEM Katowice left much to be desired however, ranking in 7th-8th place.
The odds are in Ninjas in Pyjamas' favour here, at 1.28 vs MIBR's 3.30.
12:30 PM GMT matches
Sprout are starting 2023 with a new face on the team, having signed Romanian player Adrian "XELLOW" Guță earlier this year. The team is likely hoping he can help improve their performance, with Sprout having a troubled track record at high profile events. Sprout were busy last year, attending a huge amount of events - but only made it to four large tournaments, where their results lead much to be desired. They competed at last year's IEM Katowice too, but failed to make it out of the Play-In stage, ultimately ranking in 21st - 24th place.
OG however weren't quite as busy as Sprout, but arguably has some more impressive results under their belt from last year. While their performance at last year's IEM Katowice was similarly disappointing, where they ranked in 13th - 16th place, they do have some bragging rights from 2022. OG's greatest moments last year came while attending BLAST tournaments, where they ranked in 1st - 3rd place at both the Spring and Fall Groups, as well as ranking in 3rd - 4th at the 2022 BLAST Premier World Final.
The odds are close here, but OG is favoured to win at 1.52 vs Sprout's 2.35.
It's fair to say that Fnatic have had a difficult couple of years. While their highlight of 2022 was likely their victory at Elisa Masters Espoo 2022, their performance at larger events hasn't been quite as impressive. Perhaps their most successful high-profile run last year was in their 5th - 8th placement at the IEM Rio Major, though their 9th - 12th placement at last year's IEM Katowice hardly bodes well for the team.
Still, they're arguably coming into the 2023 season on a stronger footing than Evil Geniuses. We've already seen the team in action this year at BLAST Premier Spring Groups - and despite a surprise win against Heroic, they quickly fell out of the tournament in 10th-12th place. It's a perfomance that mirrors their 2022 results, which includes the likes of a 20th - 22nd placement at the IEM Rio Major, and a 21st - 24th placement at ESL Pro League Season 15.
The odds are in Fnatic's favour here, at 1.32 vs Evil Geniuses' 3.10.
1:45 PM GMT matches
We've already seen BIG in action this year, where they achieved a relatively respectable 7th-9th placement at the 2022 BLAST Premier Spring Groups. While it didn't take long for the team to be relegated to the Play-In Stage, they nontheless were able to pull off an upset win against Team Liquid on January 27. Still, they'll have their work cut out for them in Katowice - especially given their 17th - 20th placement at last year's tournament.
Complexity Gaming however similarly ranked in 7th-9th place at this year's BLAST Premier Spring Groups - with their sole win having been against Evil Geniuses on January 27. This year marks the first time Complexity have competed in Katowice since 2019, when they ranked in 12th - 14th place. Their more recent performances have ended in a similar fashion, with the team ranking in 9th - 12th place at ESL Pro League Season 16 and 20th - 22nd place at PGL Major Antwerp 2022.
BIG are favoured to win here, with odds of 1.50 vs Complexity Gaming's 2.40.
Finally, our second match at 1:45 PM GMT will see FURIA Esports competing with Permitta Esports.
Brazillian team FURIA Esports ended the 2022 season on a promising note, ranking in 3rd - 4th place at the IEM Rio Major. While they weren't able to claim victory, it was a strong showing for the team, mirroring their 3rd - 4th placements at both IEM Dallas and ESL Pro League Season 15. Those performances more than made up for their disappointing showing at last year's IEM Katowice, where they ranked in 9th - 12th place.
Permitta Esports aren't nearly as high-profile as many of their competitors at this month's tournament. The Polish team has largely been competing in smaller-scale events in recent years, with their most recent highlight most likely being their victory at the B-tier ESL Mistrzostwa Polski Autumn 2022.
FURIA are heavily favoured to win here, with odds of 1.08 vs Permitta Esports' 6.30.
Which teams will you be supporting at this year's IEM Katowice? We have a packed schedule ahead of us, with plenty of CS:GO action for you to enjoy. Whoever you choose to back, make sure you're claimed your free 100% bonus, and follow along with the matches right here on Luckbox!