Heroic, Natus Vincere tops six to reach IEM Katowice playoffs


January 24, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Fans fill The Armory during the Call of Duty League launch weekend. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn – USA TODAY Sports

Heroic and Natus Vincere won Sunday’s Group A and Group B finals respectively to advance to the semi-finals of the playoff stage at IEM Katowice 2022 in Katowice, Poland.

They will be joined in the playoffs by Virtus.Pro, FaZe Clan, Gambit Esports and G2 Esports following Sunday’s results. The top three teams from Groups A and B reached the knockout stage of the playoffs, with the best-of-five grand final set for February 27.

The group stage was the second of three stages of the million-dollar event. After the qualifying stage, which ended on Wednesday, the top eight teams from that stage joined eight previously qualified teams in the group stage, a double-elimination bracket where all matches were best-of-three.

Heroic beat Virtus.pro 2-0 in the Group A final, winning 16-5 over Mirage and 16-10 over Vertigo. Rasmus “sjuush” Beck led the all-Danish team with 39 kills and Casper “cadiaN” Moller posted a 13+ kill differential out of 35 kills.

Virtus.pro settled for second place in the group and Gambit took third place beating Ninjas in Pajamas 2-0 in the bottom group final. Gambit beat Ancient 16-10 and Vertigo 16-12, with Russia’s Sergey ‘Ax1Le’ Rykhtorov leading with 50 kills and a plus-20 and Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov adding 49 kills with a plus-28.

NaVi bounced back from a narrow loss on their first map to beat FaZe Clan 2-1 in the Group B Group B final. FaZe started with a 16-13 win over Overpass, but NaVi responded with a 16-12 victory on Dust II and picked up a 22-19 overtime win over Mirage.

Ukrainian Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev carried NaVi with 84 kills and a plus-26 differential. Helvijs ‘broky’ Saukants of Latvia posted match highs of 87 and a plus-29 to lead FaZe.

To decide third place in Group B, G2 outlasted Astralis 2-1 in the bottom group final. Astralis drew first blood with a 16-12 win over Ancient before G2 sat out the remainder of the game, winning 16-5 over Dust II and 16-1 over Inferno. Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Nikola “NiKo” Kovac led G2 with 72 kills and a whopping plus-32 differential, while France’s Audric “JACKZ” Jug had 58 kills with a plus-25.

The match was finalized earlier in the day when Astralis beat Fnatic 2-1 and G2 topped FURIA Esports by the same scoreline in the second round of Group B lower bracket. Fnatic, FURIA, NiP and Astralis were eliminated from the tournament Sunday.

The playoff phase begins Friday with two quarter-final matches:
FaZe Clan vs. Gambit Esports
Virtus.pro vs. G2 Esports

IEM Katowice 2022 prize pool:
1. TBD – $400,000
2. TBD – $180,000
3-4. TBD – $80,000
5-6. TBD – $40,000
7-8. Ninjas in Pajamas, Astralis – $24,000
9-12. MOUZ, Team Vitality, Fnatic, FURIA Esports – $16,000
13-16. OG, Copenhagen Flames, Team Liquid, ENCE – $10,000
17-20. BIG, GODSENT, Movistar Riders, Entropiq – $4,500
21-24. Wisla Krakow, Sprout, Renegades, MIBR – $2,500

–Field level media


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