Celebrating Ten Years of CS:GO at IEM Katowice


Spencer Smith, Writer

Despite its value in terms of a tournament ranging from a sideshow, to a major, to becoming part of the ESL Pro Tour Championship, Katowice has been a home for CS:GO now for ten years. After the Play-In Stage finished, we are now ready to watch on as the best 16 teams in Counter-Strike compete head-to-head in the group stages of IEM Katowice. The tournament celebrates its tenth year of existence, playing host to the most prestigious teams and moments within the history of Counter-Strike: Global-Offensive. Now a million-dollar affair since its first introduction into the ESL Pro Tour Championship, the first IEM Katowice started out as a sideshow with a grand prize pool of $7,000. The hometown team of ESC (Later acquired as Virtus.Pro), with three hometown heroes, Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas, Filip “NEO” Kubski, and Jaroslaw “pashaBiceps” Jarzabkowski won this first edition of post 1.6 Counter-Strike IEM Katowice.

The first Major Tournament edition of IEM Katowice came in 2014 was also won by the Virtus.Pro core alongside Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski, and Pawel “byali” Bielinski. This team went on to beat Ninjas In Pyjamas in the grand final, denying the Swedish giants their second shot at such a prestigious title. This was the first time IEM Katowice was recognized as a Valve-sponsored Major tournament within CS:GO. This also, however, would be the one and only major title that the Virtus.Pro lineup would go on to win during their time together. Later, the tournament was changed in its recognition into an ESL Pro Tour Tournament/Championship.

In its first recognition as an ESL Pro Tour Tournament/Championship, IEM Katowice 2020 would unfortunately have the sad distinction as the last CS:GO tournament to take place before the Coronavirus Pandemic plagued Europe. The Spodek Arena was forced to be shut to spectators as a result, leaving teams to play in front of an empty crowd. A mixture of online and offline play contained itself within the tournament. Natus Vincere would go on to win the event in the Grand Final over G2 Esports. This year, as we begin the Group Stages, some of these teams hope to reclaim their spot on top of the CS:GO world, starting with the title of IEM Katowice 2022.