Danish powerhouse Astralis will bid to reassert their dominance over the CS:GO scene when they head to IEM Katowice on February 25. Dev1ce, dupreeh, gla1ve, Magisk and Xyp9x ended 2019 in their usual positions at the top of the HLTV world rankings after storming the Berlin Starladder Major. That provided the catalyst for a string of sensational performances that saw them crush their closest challengers and cement their status as the world’s best team. Yet Astralis remains the biggest scalp in the CS:GO scene. They will need to work hard to replicate their success in 2020.
The first big tournament of 2020 is IEM Season XIV World Championship in Katowice, boasting a prize pool of $500 thousand. This also makes it one of the most lucrative events of 2020, behind the Majors, ESL One Rio in May and another event in November. IEM Katowice will provide a great opportunity to see how equipped the top teams are to compete at the Majors. It should provide plenty of exciting clashes between the best rosters in the world.
The Dominant Team of the Era
In the esports odds at top betting sites covered by industry regulator Sportsbook Review, Astralis is projected as the clear favorite. They were the dominant team in 2018, winning 15 events, seizing the $1 million Intel Grand Slam and surging to victory at the London FACEIT Major. They also began 2019 in peak form and won a second consecutive Major at IEM Katowice.
Things then went downhill for the Danes. They skipped multiple tournaments and suffered from rustiness. And for the first time in more than a year, Team Liquid knocked them off the top of the world rankings. Their reign looked to be over and gleeful obituaries were plastered all over the web. But Astralis made a mockery of such talk, destroying TL and every other opponent at Berlin, seizing an unprecedented third consecutive Major. They wrapped up 2019 with victory at IEM World Championships XIV in Beijing, the Esports Championship Season 8 Finals and the BLAST Pro Series Global Final.
Who can stop the Marauding Danes?
Astralis beat TL in four big matches during December, removing any doubt of who the world’s best CS:GO team is. TL have now dropped to fourth in the world rankings, behind Fnatic and mousesports. These three seem most likely to present a challenge to Astralis’ dominance in 2020. Team Vitality also looks dangerous thanks to the presence of the outrageously talented ZywOo.
mousesports recently won a stacked EPL season 10 finals after a splendid triumph at the CS:GO Asia Championships where they beat ENCE in the grand finals. Under karrigan’s leadership, the wunderkind Ropz has really flourished, forming a devastating duo with woxic. mousesports will head into 2020 full of confidence.
Fnatic already seized a spot at IEM Katowice thanks to their victory at DreamHack Masters Malmo, and they are not to be taken lightly. Yet Astralis boasts fantastic chemistry. With magnificent individuals like dev1ce and Magisk in their ranks and experience in previous Katowice events, it is hard to look past another victory for the most dominant roster in CS:GO history.
Magisk to Lead the Charge
IEM Katowice 2020 features two double-elimination format groups of eight, with the top three teams in each heading to the playoffs. Group winners go straight to the semifinals, while second and third-place teams fight it out in the quarterfinal round. Quarterfinals and semifinals are best of three with the grand final a best-of-five.
At 2019’s IEM Katowice Major, Astralis finished at the top of a group featuring TL, NaVi, MIBR, Renegades, FaZe Clan, ENCE, Ninjas in Pyjamas and more strong teams. In the playoffs, Astralis swept aside NiP, MIBR and ENCE to clinch the coveted trophy. Magisk claimed the MVP award and he will be fired up to replicate that success in 2020. Some viewers hope to see Astralis taken down a peg or two, but right now, that looks unlikely.
Written by Esportz Network