Depending on your favourite flavour of CSGO, you’ll be anticipating one of the four matches in the IEM Katowice quarter-finals more than the others, as they all have different feels. NIP vs Astralis is like the Greek gods fighting today’s deities, but for us there is only one match getting us weak at the knees, and that is FaZe Clan vs Na'Vi, or the modern clasico, as we’ve decided to call it.
See the stars: Na'Vi v FaZe live stream from IEM Katowice 2019
The reason for that name is simple, or at least part of it is. Spanish football folk might lead you to believe Barca v Real has always been amazing, but the reality is that the star power on show is what makes that game great today, and it wasn't always the case. S1mple is the Lionel Messi of CSGO in more ways than one, while FaZe have a few players you can compare with Cristiano Ronaldo in a positive way, as well as the bevy of big names that mirrors what Real Madrid have.
Between s1mple, electronic, NiKo, GuardiaN, Olof, rain and even flamie you have so much talent that you could probably populate the ‘star player’ position in ten sides, but instead they’ve all been horded into these two teams like some kind of hothousing project to see how many times you can be falsely VAC-reported in one match.
Piling on the pressure
Hothousing is actually a great term, as the pressure in both squads has also been growing week by week, creating situations that seem as though they can’t be tolerated much longer. Some pundits have even gone as far as saying Na’Vi might be playing with more freedom now as they have already decided to split after Katowice has finished, such has been the negativity exuded by the camp in the run-up to this event.
As for FaZe, the issues have been obvious for a while, and the solutions are many, varied and apparently out of the reach of the team that could once buy any player, at any price. All of this has combined to create one of the most volatile, exciting and potentially crazy games we’ve ever anticipated at a CSGO Major, and a match the like of which we might not see for some time in terms of pure talent and star power accumulated on the server.
Picture: Copyright ESL | Jennika-Ojala