IEM Katowice format changes earn positive reception

Getting positive press for a massive esports event sounds like it should be fairly simple with the number of people looking to exaggerate the strength of the scene in 2019 but it’s been surprisingly not the case for CSGO Majors.

Where Boston was a roaring success, and set ELEAGUE up for a spot at the pinnacle of TO-hood, FACEIT probably lost face with their London effort, due to the number of issues it faced. Even the format was called into question, although that may have been drowned out by more pressing concerns.

IEM Katowice 2019 is the next in line, and, of course, organisers have not faced much flak so far, as they’ve not done anything. Some tech issues around the Minor might have been annoying for viewers but that won’t make headlines and the Major itself is getting off to a good start with some format changes that fans are very happy about.

As with other events, Katowice will use a Swiss system in the New Challengers and the New Legends stages, but a best-of-three format will be used for all progression (2-0 and 2-1 pools) and elimination matches, rather than just the 2-2, fifth-round matches. This means no team will play a best-of-one (BO1) to determine their fate in the tournament, and has to be considered a good thing from a result veracity point of view, even if it has the potential to cause schedule issues.

There is still one problem with the event, at least from the competitive point of view. Despite all the good changes that have been made, the final is still going to be a BO3 affair for some inexplicable reason, which is good for very few people other than the logistics folk in the arena. For the World Championship of CSGO to not even have a BO5 final is slightly ridiculous at this point, especially when compared to events such as TI.

Players are pleased

The reaction from fans to the extra BO3s was positive and, much to ESL’s delight, the player base seems largely in favour of the decision, too. Some outlets, like Dextero, have dubbed the move confusing, but that probably applies to anything that isn’t an article about where Pewdiepie bought his new headset, or why Jake Paul should be pitted against Floyd Mayweather next. The majority of competitors seem happy, and G2’s coach Malek was pleased to outline his feelings on twitter, with the Frenchman declaring this potentially the best Major format we’ve had to date, high praise indeed.

Pundits have also chimed in on the subject, with the bigger names in the talking head space ensuring they get their thoughts on it out. Thorin won’t be in Katowice, that much we can be sure of, but he was one of the first to get his opinion out on the changes, and was quick to point out that the extra games would mean concurrent streams, and fans having to choose which match they tune into.

Finally, the buchholz system will be replaced with an Elo version, which in theory will lead to better matches at the sharp end of the event due to the more robust way seedings are decided. All in all, the changes IEM Katowice will see are almost certain to improve the competitive integrity of the event, which can only be considered a good thing for CSGO and ESL, and it’s now up to the organisers to make sure they put everything else in place to ensure this is the best Major yet, or at least better than London.