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IEM Katowice Major 2019 Tournament Preview

This is it, guys! Less than two weeks are separating us from the first CS:GO Major tournament of 2019. However, it’s not the first competitive event this year. We’ve already enjoyed iBUYPOWER Masters IV and ELEAGUE invitational in January, both of which had some great matches in store for us. The organizational part of the ELEAGUE Invitational wasn’t up to par, but that’s a story for another day. Today, we won’t be going into all that. Rather, we’ll be focusing on the biggest CS:GO tournament in the first half of 2019. This IEM Katowice Major Betting Preview will be touching pretty much everything you’ll need to make a winning betting slip.

Yes, it’s that simple! We’ll start off with the best CS:GO betting sites, IEM Katowice Major interesting facts, some basic information about the tournament format, and finish it off with brief team overviews and outright betting predictions. Yup, there’s plenty of stuff to go through in this IEM Katowice Major Betting Preview, so let’s waste no more time and head straight to the fun stuff!

Where to Bet on IEM Katowice Major 2019 | Best Esports Bookies

I bet many of you are interested in betting on the IEM Katowice Major 2019. And why not – it’s set to feature all top tier teams (except Mousesports which made an oopsie on the EU Minors), so CS:GO betting sites are bound to go out of their way for their users’ satisfaction. And trust me, IEM Katowice Major will mark 20 really busy days for all popular esports bookies.

Talking about the best bookies, if you’re unsure where to bet on IEM Katowice Major 2019, here’s a short list featuring our favorite picks.

It’s difficult to find a proper bookie out there. With so many choices swimming in the sea of online esports betting, beginners often find themselves cornered in. All options promise great things, generous betting odds, frequent bonuses, and instant payout speeds; but in reality, things turn out much different.

That said, I warmly advise you stick to well-known and trustworthy esports betting sites. That shortlist above is designed to help you out!

Enough with all that, let’s continue this IEM Katowice Major Betting Preview with a few interesting facts:

IEM Katowice Major Betting Preview |Interesting Facts

  • As is customary for CS:GO Majors, IEM Katowice 2019 will feature three stages with 24 participating teams. The names are Challengers, Legends, and Champions Stage. More details about all three stages can be found in the tournament format section below.
  • IEM Katowice Major is set to feature an innovative Swiss system based on dynamic ELO ratings. These ratings will decide each round’s matchups but will avoid repeating matches.
  • IEM Katowice Major’s Challengers stage is set to start on February 13th. The final phase, the Legends Stage, lasts until March 3rd, meaning we’ll get to enjoy roughly 20 days of top-notch CS:GO

Tournament Format

CS:GO Major Championship tournaments have a distinguishable 3-phase format, incorporating 24 teams in total. However, not all teams enter the tournament at the first stage. Nope! The seeding system is kind of comprehensive, so it’s best if I explain it alongside the tournament stages.

The Challengers Stage

IEM Katowice Major 2019 kicks off with the Challengers Stage, which starts on February 13th. It ends on February 17th after 33 Bo1 and Bo3 matches are played in Swiss system format. The teams competing at this stage of IEM Katowice 2019 are ten teams who have qualified through the Minors and six additional teams from the FACEIT Major London 2018. The mixture might be in favor of the Minors’ champions, but they’ll be in for a tough contest against the returning challengers. Not to mention only the eight best teams go through to the Legends Stage.

The Legends Stage

The Legends Stage starts on February 20th and is set to end on February 24th. The principle is basically the same as that of the Challengers Stage. A total of sixteen teams play in a Swiss system format with only eight going through to the next (in this case, final) stage. Crucial matches are Bo3, and all remaining matches are Bo1. As far as team compositions go, the Legends Stage will feature eight teams from the Challengers Stage and the eight best teams from the FACEIT Major London 2018.

The Champions Stage

This is it, the final stage of the IEM Katowice Major 2019 tournament! After two Swiss system formats, Champions Stage takes the thrill to a whole new level with a single elimination bracket. Need I remind you, there will be just eight teams at this point, with no room for error in a single Champions Stage match. Luckily, all matches are played in best of three formats, so teams are allowed to have a single bad map in a match, and that’s it.

IEM Katowice Major Teams Overview

In this section of IEM Katowice Major Betting Preview, I will be taking you through the teams to bet on. We still don’t have the matchups of the Challengers Stage round 1, so I’ll just point out several teams that should come a long way. We’ll be taking both Challengers and Legends into account, so it ought to be a fine list. Let’s kick it off, shall we?

Team Liquid

Team Liquid is finally looking like a complete team ready to take their performance to the next level. Don’t get me wrong, 2018 was the best season for Team Liquid, but it was massacred by poor performances in grand finals matches, especially against Astralis. To a team with tournament wins in mind, this sort of performance was a sign that drastic changes were needed. And, luckily for everyone involved with Team Liquid, drastic changes have been made fast! Stewie2K, one of the most promising NA players, found its way to Team Liquid’s starting roster, completing a lineup that, at least in my opinion, looks even stronger than last year’s.

Driven by the winds of change, Team Liquid has already started its 2019 conquest by defeating Astralis in the grand finals of iBUYPOWER Masters IV. Now that the grand finals curse has finally been lifted, the entire CS:GO esports community is eager to see what the future has in store for the best NA team at the moment.


Astralis is the second team we’re going to take a closer look at here. And why wouldn’t we? After all, Astralis is the most dominant CS:GO team at the moment. Their 2018 season was absolutely brilliant, with a handful of silverware and that thrilling Intel Grand Slam Season 1 title in December. They are the team to beat, with only a few names that can go up against them in Bo3 or Bo5 matchups.

Their lineup has stayed the same, which is another huge plus ahead of the IEM Katowice Major. Dev1ce, dupreeh, Xyp9x, and gla1ve still form the basis of this Astralis team; and their run started all the way back in 2016. The addition of Magisk in 2018 was the final piece of the puzzle, transforming Astralis into the best CS:GO team ever. That said, their expectations for this tournament are huge. Bookies are favoring them to win it, and they surely won’t lack the motivation to do so. However, it won’t be a piece of cake this time around. With an upgraded Team Liquid, all-Brazilian MIBR, and several other top-notch contestants, Astralis’ rod to Katowice glory will be heavily contested.


A team whose acronym stands for Made in Brazil was not featuring an all-Brazilian team for a good portion of 2018. However, they’ve finally made the switch back to being Brazil-only by trading TACO and zews from Team Liquid in exchange for the only non-Brazilian in their roster – one of USA’s hottest prospects – Stewie2K. The switch, even though two for one, was accompanied by satisfied smiles on both ends. And why not – Team Liquid got another reliable fragger, and MIBR got two top-tier Brazilian talents; a player and a coach. Felps completed the “Brazil 5“ roster but that, unfortunately, meant Tarik was out of the picture.

MIBR’s performance under Janko “YNk” Paunovic was astonishing, to say the least. While they haven’t won any Majors, they’ve managed to conquer ZOTAC Cup Masters and have successful campaigns on FACEIT Major London, ECS S6, and ESL Pro League S8. Now, the question is – will their all-Brazilian roster be a positive or a negative change ahead of the Major? They’ve lost Stewie2K who was playing well under their colors. They’ve lost Tarik too, who did struggle at times but was still a solid middle-of-the-pack player most of the time. TACO is definitely a worthy replacement for the latter, but all heads will be pointed toward felps who’ll have to prove his worth on the biggest of stages in Katowice.


On the wings of their PLG Grand Slam victory, Fnatic players surely have their eyes set for the Legends Stage. However, they should be well aware of the competition that awaits them in the Challengers Stage of the tournament. Perhaps there aren’t that many resounding names like last time out, but I’ll be damned if a few of these teams don’t show their dark horse potential.

That said, Fnatic’s mixture of experience and young blood will be put to a proper test right off the bat. If they manage to find consistency in their first few matches, they should be able to qualify for the second stage. The quality of their roster is there, the coaching is done in a highly professional manner, and I’m sure the players are all determined to make an impact here. Their last notable victories (not counting PLG Grand Slam) were in March 2018, so it’s about time we see KRIMZ, JW, and the co at their best!

Honorable Mentions

Lastly, I’d like to mention two more teams that could make it big in Katowice. FaZe Clan, after signing AdreN, finally seems capable of closing tournaments out. They’ve managed to keep their superstar base intact – NiKO, olofmeister, and GuardiaN are all still in the starting roster. After winning the ELEAGUE Invitational in late January, NiKo and the boys must be feeling great ahead of the Katowice spectacle.

Furthermore, another team that’ll aim high is Natus Vincere. 2018 was solid, to say the least – nothing out of the ordinary for the Ukrainian team. S1mple has been absolutely brilliant throughout the course of the season, leading all Ukrainian fans to hope for a great display in Poland.

Neither FaZe or Navi should be taken out of the title-contender picture. Both teams are packed with talent, be it individual or team-based, granting them solid chances of going all the way through.

Betting on IEM Katowice Major

Finally, the last part of this IEM Katowice Major Betting Preview – the betting section. I know this is what all of you have been waiting for, so I won’t bother you any further. Here’s the deal:

At the time of writing this article, The Challengers Stage round one matches weren’t announced yet. This means we have no info regarding match-winner betting options. No worries though, we will have a separate article covering IEM Katowice Major Challengers Stage Betting Picks. For now, I guess outrights will have to suffice:


Obviously, Astralis is the heaviest favorite to take this one home. After all, they were playing miraculously well last year, and there’s just no way for them to make a bad transition to 2019. Not even their recent iBUYPOWER Masters IV campaign, in which they lost against Team Liquid in the grand finals, shouldn’t be too much of a burden for the Great Danes.

However, all of you interested in betting on Astralis to win IEM Katowice major will be quite disappointed when they see the odds. At the moment, Astralis stands at just +150. I really can’t recommend this one as a single bet. Perhaps in a long-range accumulator bet, but that’s as far as I’d go.

I’m the kind of guy who likes diving deeper into the team sheets and betting off the beaten path. In other words, I like to search for potential Cinderella stories. Dark horses, sleeper picks, whatever you want to call them; and I’m not talking about complete outsiders here. Nope, I’m talking about class-A teams that have somehow found themselves in the background. FaZe Clan is a brilliant example. MIBR is even better. Both these teams currently stand at +800 to win outright. Much better odds than Astralis’ +150, right? Small to a medium stake, and you should be good to go.

Please Note:

In addition to this article, we’ll have several more coming in the following days, all based around the Major tournament. We’ll be taking a closer look at each tournament stage and give you guys up-to-date predictions as the Challenger Stage matchdays start racking up. That said, make sure you stay tuned for more IEM Katowice Major betting info!

Pavo Jurkic :Pavo Jurkic has been in the esports betting industry since 2015, actively writing content related to this rapidly growing industry. A dedicated father by day and an avid gamer by night, Pavo Jurkic aims to bring you the freshest esports news and betting predictions.