24 teams are due to compete at this year's IEM Katowice 2023, taking place from February 1-12. With so many teams in the running, it can be hard to pick out the real winners - So here's just five of our favourite teams at this year's tournament.
The best teams at IEM Katowice 2023
The most promising teams at this year's tournament will be missing out on the Play-In Stage, having earned their invitation to the Group Stage through various tournament wins in 2022. While the Play-In stage will see the likes of Ninjas in Pyjamas and OG competing, our favourite teams won't be stepping into the spotlight until the Group Stage begins on February 4.
FaZe Clan really needs no introduction - the team lead by Finn "karrigan" Andersen has been absolutely dominating the CS:GO scene in recent years, and their winning streak shows no sign of slowing down. 2022 was a spectacular year for the team, when they were crowned the champions of a total of five S-Tier events, including IEM Katowice 2022.
All eyes will be therefore be on the returning champions, who earned their invitation to the Group Stage via their victory at IEM Cologne 2022. And given their recent success at this year's BLAST Premier Spring Groups, FaZe are still on top form - and will be a force to be reckoned with at IEM Katowice 2023.
The FaZe Clan roster heading to Katowice consists of Håvard "rain" Nygaard, Helvijs "broky" Saukants, Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, Finn "karrigan" Andersen, Robin "ropz" Kool and coach Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström.
Natus Vincere (NAVI) had a relatively rough time in 2022, but their spectacular 2021 record speaks for itself. They absolutely dominated the CS:GO scene in 2021, winning a grand total of 9 S-Tier events. It was an incredible record, with highlights including victories at the likes of PGL Major Stockholm 2021 and that year's BLAST Premier World Final. Their record slipped quite a bit in 2022, however. While the team is still a force to be reckoned with, they had significantly less tournament wins under their belt.
NAVI's superstar player Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev points the finger at the ongoing war in Ukraine as the reason for this, revealing during a press conference that the team "crashed" due to the incredible pressures at home. It's an understandable distraction for the Ukrainian team, but hopefully not one that will hold them back for long. When they're playing at their best, NAVI is one of the most powerful teams on the CS:GO scene, and absolutely has the capacity to come out victorious in Katowice.
The NAVI roster consists of Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, Denis "electroNic" Sharipov, Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy, Valerii "b1t" Vakhovskyi, Andrii "npl" Kukharskyi and coach Andrii "B1ad3" Horodenskyi.
G2 don't have quite the same track record as the likes of FaZe Clan and NAVI, but that's no reason to overlook the team. They admittedly had something of a challenging 2022, with no tournament wins until the last possible moment - when they were crowned the champions of last year's BLAST Premier World Final.
What's equally worthy of note, however, is their fantastic performance at last year's IEM Katowice. G2 made it all the way to the grand final, before being defeated by FaZe Clan in a 0-3 victory. They might have been denied the top spot, but it was a great showing for the team - and one that they'll be eager to repeat this year. Early signs are looking promising too - they've started off the 2023 season through a 1st-3rd placement at BLAST Premier Spring Groups, setting them up on an excellent footing for Katowice.
The G2 team is made up of Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač, Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov, Justin "jks" Savage, Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen and coach Jan "Swani" Müller.
Team Vitality's record is similarly not quite as impressive as some of their rivals, but that's not to say they don't have the capacity to win in Katowice. They earned their invitation to the Group Stage through their victory at ESL Pro League Season 16 - where they faced off against the likes of G2 and Team Liquid, before claiming victory at the Grand Final on October 2, 2022.
Their record at last year's IEM Katowice was hardly impressive however, where they placed in 9th-12th position. Still, they've started off the 2023 season on a strong note, placing 1st-3rd in this year's BLAST Premier Spring Groups, and so absolutely have the capacity to delight their fans in Katowice this year.
The Team Vitality roster consists of Dan "apEX" Madesclaire, Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut, Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen, Emil "Magisk" Reif, Lotan "Spinx" Giladi and coach Danny "zonic" Sørensen.
While Heroic certainly had some spectacular wins in 2022, they also came repeatedly close to further success - before facing defeat at the last moment. The team came tantalisingly close to victory at the IEM Rio Major in November, where they were ultimately defeated by Outsiders in the grand final. Furthermore, Heroic ranked in 3rd-4th place at last year's IEM Katowice, after they were knocked out of the tournament by FaZe Clan.
Still, they had plenty to brag about last year too. Heroic were crowned the champions of the BLAST Premier Fall Finals 2022, after they defeated the mighty FaZe Clan in a 2-1 victory. They might have been denied a 1st-3rd placement at this year's BLAST Premier Spring Groups - but they're still absolutely worth keeping your eye on in February.
The Heroic roster consists of Martin "stavn" Lund, Casper "cadiaN" Møller, René "TeSeS" Madsen, Rasmus "sjuush" Beck, Jakob "Jabbi" Nygaard and coach Richard "Xizt" Landström.
Which team will you be supporting? Whoever has your backing, you can follow along with IEM Katowice via our full match schedule, which is available here. And remember to sign up to claim your free 100% bonus, and we'll see you in Katowice!