The 5 favorite CS:GO teams to win IEM Katowice 2023
A total of 24 CS:GO teams will fly to Katowice, Poland to attend the $1 million IEM Katowice on Feb. 1, but only 16 teams will play in the main event, where some of the best squads in the world will be waiting.
It’s only the start of the season and some teams will be debuting their new players at IEM Katowice, but it’s still too big of a Counter-Strike tournament to ignore because of how much is at stake for the teams. The event will give fans and experts a good idea of who the best teams will be heading into ESL Pro League Season 17 in February and the upcoming BLAST.tv Paris Major qualifiers in April.
Without further ado, here are five CS:GO teams we can foresee winning IEM Katowice 2023 over the rest of the highly competitive field.
The five favorite CS:GO teams to win IEM Katowice 2023
Photo via PGL
Even though FaZe ended 2022 without winning any trophy in the second half of the year, they’re still one of the most feared CS:GO teams in the world. The international squad have all the pieces: a strong in-game leader in karrigan, a skilled AWPer in broky, and a trio of deadly riflers in Twistzz, ropz, and rain. After the disaster that IEM Rio Major was for FaZe, they looked to be back on track as they were runners-up at BLAST Premier Fall Final and reached the semifinals of BLAST Premier World Final before the year finished.
The goal FaZe have for the first months of 2023 is to close out their Intel Grand Slam run and claim the extra $1 million prize pool. They have the chance to do it at IEM Katowice, the first tournament they won in 2022 during their dominant run in the first semester, and they’ll have an edge in Poland due to the fact that rain missed BLAST Premier Spring Groups and teams don’t know whether karrigan has come up with new tactics for this year. This puts FaZe in a prime spot to win IEM Katowice.
Photo by Stephanie Lindgren via ESL Gaming
Since the addition of young rifler Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard in June 2022, Heroic have started to show signs they’re capable of winning big trophies on LAN. The Danes came close to doing it at IEM Rio Major as they reached the grand finals but end up losing to Outsiders. CadiaN and crew finally won their first big LAN event at BLAST Premier Fall Final at the end of November but unfortunately didn’t close the year on a high note as they didn’t have stavn, who’s arguably their best player, for BLAST Premier World Final and finished last place alongside Outsiders.
Now the big LAN event curse was broken last year, Heroic have less pressure on their shoulders. They proved to the doubters that they’re a top-tier team, now it’s a matter of continuing fighting at the top and potentially adding more trophies to their cabinet. If cadiaN can keep up with the individual form he had in 2022 on top of providing great calls, Heroic will be a serious threat at IEM Katowice.
Photo by Michał Konkol via BLAST Premier
2022 looked ruined for G2 when they didn’t qualify for IEM Rio Major. The failure in the Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event exposed the flaws of their system and how much they needed to improve under HooXi’s leadership. Nobody expected anything from G2 at BLAST Premier World Final in December, but they ran away with the victory after taking down Outsiders, Vitality, FaZe, and Liquid on their way to the title.
The BLAST Premier World Final trophy took pressure away from the players, after G2 as an organization didn’t win a big event since DreamHack Masters Malmö in 2017, and also changed the atmosphere in the team. They were used to losing and questioning their talent, but now they know they have what it takes to beat the best CS:GO teams in the world. IEM Katowice will prove whether the end of 2022 was a fluke for G2 or if they’re here to win more big events this year.
Photo via Stephanie Lindgren and ESL
It’s hard to measure Liquid’s capability. There have been events when they looked like real contenders like BLAST Premier World Final and ESL Pro League season 16, in which they finished second place, but there are also events like IEM Rio Major, where they didn’t show their talent at all. The North Americans have one of the best trios of riflers in the world in YEKINDAR, NAF, and EliGE, but that isn’t enough to win trophies.
If Liquid want to be a top-tier contender in 2023, they’ll need more of nitr0 both in terms of calls and fragging, but most important, it’s time for young AWPer Joshua “oSee” Ohm to show fans he deserves to be on the team. He’s been with Liquid for over a year now but has yet to prove he’s tier-one material. OSee averaged a 1.05 rating on LAN during 2022, according to HLTV, which is below the standards for a top-five team like Liquid.
In case oSee shows up and supports the rifling trio, Liquid can be considered one of the favorites to win IEM Katowice. But if he continues averaging barely positive ratings, it’s hard to imagine the North Americans winning the tournament.
Photo by Helena Kristiansson via ESL Gaming
2023 will be a decisive year for the Vitality project. It’s been a year since the French organization welcomed the Astralis trio of dupreeh, Magisk, and head coach zonic, and became an international team. After a disappointing run in the first period of the season, Vitality secured one of the best riflers in the world in Lotan “Spinx” Giladi and replaced Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier, leaving only ZywOo and apEX as the remaining French players in the roster.
Although Vitality won ESL Pro League season 16 with Spinx in 2022, they didn’t show their prime form in the remaining events of their season—the IEM Rio Major and BLAST Premier World Final. They’re not favorites like FaZe, Heroic, and G2, but if apEX manages to unleash the potential of Spinx, dupreeh, and Magisk to support ZywOo in the fragging department, Vitality can at least pull off a deep run at IEM Katowice. The BLAST.tv Paris Major is also getting closer and is in the best interests of the organization that the CS:GO team arrives in great form at the competition.