Why G2 are the favorite to win IEM Katowice 2023
Six CS:GO teams are left in the running for the IEM Katowice 2023 trophy, but only one of them stands out as the clear favorite: G2 Esports.
The European superteam have been playing nearly-perfect CS:GO over the last couple of weeks, showcasing exceptional individual mechanics, confidence, and strategies. When combined, these variables make it tough for G2’s opponents to win a map against them, let alone a series.
Once you dive into G2’s record, you’ll quickly realize some impressive feats. Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen and his men are currently on a 17-map win streak. They’ve also won 10 series in a row, with their latest loss being against FaZe Clan on Dec. 14 during the BLAST Premier World Final 2022, an event which they won.
Since that loss, G2 have not only gotten revenge against FaZe twice but also defeated some other significant teams in CS:GO. They overcame Vitality, Liquid, BIG (twice), and Natus Vincere (three times), and have only lost a single map against the former.
The European squad secured a place directly in the IEM Katowice 2023 semifinals and it’s tough to predict anyone beating them in the race for the trophy. Here are a few reasons why.
G2 players are stepping up
Photo by Jak Howard via BLAST Premier
With a lineup of G2’s caliber, it should always be expected to see the individuals perform at a high level under immense pressure. In the last two months, though, they’ve done more than that.
The star names of Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov and Nikola “NiKo” Kovač have been bringing their A-game lately. The latter was the best player of BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2023 with a 1.48 rating, with the young AWPer following in ninth place with a 1.16 rating, according to HLTV. And Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač has been producing solid numbers as well, having a 1.13 rating in the IEM Katowice 2023 group stage.
Moreover, two other G2 players have also leveled up their play, even though their roles don’t demand admirable numbers. Still, as of now, support player Justin “jks” Savage is the third-best player of the IEM Katowice 2023 group stage with a 1.30 rating. And even their IGL HooXi has a decent rating with a 0.99 score at the event, similar to star players like Emil “Magisk” Reif (0.97) and Lotan “Spinx” Giladi (1.01).
G2 players have been solid across multiple competitions as of late, and that’s a fact, not an opinion. With such a great form, only they can be their own greatest enemies if they get overconfident.
They have their head in the right place
But it doesn’t look like G2 are getting overconfident since the players have been constantly underlining that they take things step by step and keep it cool.
“We have experienced players in the team who went through a lot of things, and we know what we should do to not get overconfident,” huNter- said in a post-game interview after G2’s latest win over NAVI. “We are aware of it, that [overconfidence] can be dangerous. … Step by step, game by game, and yeah, we are only thinking about the next opponent.”
At the same time, huNter- pointed out that G2 are aware of being the strongest team in the world right now and that every other squad will be aiming to bring them down. And when it comes to staying at the top and securing trophies, having that self-awareness and being cautious when approaching their next opponents are key to staying in that place.
Don’t make wrong assumptions, though: G2 are still playing confidently. In round 20 against NAVI during IEM Katowice 2023, they boldly took control of the lobby on Nuke’s CT side just 10 seconds into the round, despite having a comfortable 12-7 lead. Aggressive plays like these are typically a sign of desperation from teams. But in this case, it was a pure example of G2’s confidence in their individual form and the strategies they had prepared. That round, like the remaining three, were won by G2.
G2’s stars outperform other iconic players
Photo via PGL
Some of the greatest stories in CS:GO are written by exceptional individual performances. You can have a team that performs well across the board and has its head in the right place and still lose due to a single enemy’s brilliance. Well, that doesn’t look like the case here since G2’s superstars are also blowing out the competition.
Their AWPer m0NESY has already made some unbelievable plays in Katowice. During Inferno against NAVI, he secured a one-vs-two clutch on B site defense, which sealed the map for G2. More importantly, m0NESY won all 13 duels in that series against the G.O.A.T. of CS:GO, s1mple, according to HLTV. When you come at the king, you better not miss, and m0NESY is hitting all his shots so far.
In the 10-year history of IEM Katowice, no team has won the tournament without losing a single map. With their performances so far in Poland, though, G2 could very well write history as the first roster to do so. If that were to happen, jks would also become the first player to win the event back-to-back on two different lineups since he triumphed with FaZe Clan last year.
Any of the other five teams who will play in the Spodek Arena have the capabilities to take down G2, with the toughest opponent being Heroic, at least on paper. Moreover, Heroic are the only one of the five teams left who haven’t lost to G2 since the latter’s loss to FaZe in December. So if there’s a final nemesis on G2’s way to IEM Katowice 2023’s trophy, it’s them. If they meet in the final, it will certainly be a series for the history books.
IEM Katowice 2023 returns this Friday, Feb. 10 with the quarterfinals. G2 will face the winner of the Liquid vs. Vitality matchup on Saturday, Feb. 11.