With the Minor cycle over and the team list for IEM Katowice now finalised, we can start looking ahead to the first CSGO Major of 2019. Held in one of the most famous and storied venues known to fans of the game, the event is sure to be a pivotal moment in 2019 overall, with Astralis looking to continue their domination of the scene. But there is a lot more to the IEM Katowice Major than just five Danes and their bearded dad.
Alongside Astralis and the rest will be some new faces, some of whom are also the first players to represent their nation at this level. We’ve got professionals from places like Jordan, Estonia, and many other nations already, and Katowice will see a few new countries drop a flag on to Major terra firma, further emphasising the global appeal of the game, as well as some format changes that are extremely welcome news.
Erdenetsogt ‘erkaSt’ Gantulga – Erkast will be the first Mongolian player to appear at a Major by our reckoning, but you should already know who he is if you’re a fan of esports memery. The Grayhound squad are all characters in their own way, but Erkast has also set about helping his fellow man with a collection of CSGO tips to make you better in real game situations. Knowing how to play like s1mple is one thing, but Erkast gives you the sort of tips that will help you day to day in your grind up the ranks, maybe.
Freeman from HK
Wing Hei ‘Freeman’ Cheung - Perhaps the most exciting Major debutant we’ve seen, Freeman plays for the Vici Gaming team that shocked the world of CSGO and knocked North out at the Minor play-ins. With all the focus on the Danish failures, people didn’t give Vici, and the first player from Hong Kong to appear at a Major enough credit, but this is a serious CSGO talent if his performances vs North and others at the Minor are anything to go by.
Euan ‘sterling’ Moore and Sean ‘Gratisfaction’ Kaiwai - Representing Grayhound and Renegades respectively, sterling and Gratisfaction will in fact be the first New Zealand players to appear at a Major, which is pretty cool. The latter is in possession of an extremely interesting moustache and recently made the move from Grayhound to Renegades, while sterling has been around a couple of years, bouncing from team to team, before moving to Grayhound in April of this year.
Last but definitely not least
Finally, there is one more first we are excited about, although it’s not a new player or team. The fact Katowice will finally drop the practice of BO1 elimination matches is fantastic. This means that every team playing for their lives will get the chance to prove themselves in a BO3 format, which promises much not just for Katowice, but going forward.
Without the massive variance BO1 allows for, we should see fewer shocks, which in turn will mean the automatic qualification spots for future Majors will go to better teams than has recently been the case, and increase the overall standard of play in the final week of CSGO’s biggest event. We can’t wait for Katowice, and we hope you’re just as excited as us about the first Major of 2019, especially with all the Minor - soon to be Major - firsts.