Spirit, GamerLegion move on at IEM Katowice

Team Spirit and GamerLegion advanced to the group stage of Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2024 by picking up wins on Thursday in Poland.

Spirit swept The MongolZ 2-0 and GamerLegion got past Virtus.pro 2-1 in the second round of the play-in stage, dropping the losing sides from the upper bracket into the lower bracket.

Meanwhile, four teams were shown the early door thanks to losses in the lower bracket: BetBoom Team, Astralis, FURIA Esports and Rooster.

Twenty-four teams are competing for a share of the $1 million prize pool, the first $1 million prize pool in Europe since Counter-Strike 2 launched in September. Sixteen teams are competing in the double-elimination play-in stage, and six more will join Heroic and Eternal in the group stage.

On Thursday, Team Spirit routed The MongolZ 13-2 on Mirage before winning a 16-14 overtime result on Ancient. Danil “donk” Kryshkovets had 47 kills on a plus-14 kills-to-deaths differential, and fellow Russian Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov added 38 kills on a plus-16 for Spirit.

GamerLegion opened their match with a 13-3 runaway win on Vertigo, but Virtus.pro answered with a 13-5 triumph on Inferno. The final map was Overpass, where GamerLegion prevailed 13-9. Belgium’s Nicolas “Keoz” Dgus led a balanced attack for GamerLegion (39 kills, plus-5) while three other players had at least 32 kills.

In Round 1 of the lower bracket, Cloud9 rallied past BetBoom Team 2-1, overcoming BetBoom’s marathon 25-22 overtime win on Overpass by winning on 13-6 Anubis and 13-7 on Ancient.

Apeks beat FURIA 2-1, sandwiching a 13-9 result on Inferno and a 13-11 win on Ancient around a 13-10 setback on Mirage. ENCE swept Astralis 2-0 (13-10 on Vertigo, 13-4 on Ancient) and M80 beat Rooster 2-0 (13-3 on Inferno, 13-7 on Vertigo).

The play-in stage concludes Friday with four do-or-die Round 2 matches in the lower bracket: –Virtus.pro vs. Cloud9 –The MongolZ vs. ENCE –BIG vs. Apeks –Rebels Gaming vs. M80

PRIZE POOL 1. $400,000, 3,000 BLAST Premier points (Qualifies to IEM Cologne 2024, BLAST Premier World Final) 2. $180,000, 2,000 BLAST Premier points 3-4. $80,000, 1,200 BLAST Premier points 5-6. $40,000, 500 BLAST Premier points 7-8. $24,000, 300 BLAST Premier points 9-12. $16,000 13-16. $10,000 17-20. $4,500 21-24. $2,500 — BetBoom Team, Astralis, FURIA Esports, Rooster

The event will be broadcast live on the ESL Counter-Strike Twitch and YouTube channels, with all matches also available on-demand on YouTube.

IEM Katowice will also include a $500,000 standalone Starcraft II competition, with $150,000 going to the winners. The 24-team event will again feature the IEM Expo from Feb. 8-11.