We're back home from Katowice, had a few days to wrap our minds around all things expert that happened during the IEM week and now want to take a look at how the individual performances can be rated and what the future may hold for our teams.
Europe dominates the Western Clash
Let's start with the team that wasn't even in Katowice to begin with. Unfortunately, our Heroes of the Storm team around Adrian 'adrd' Wojcik only placed 4th after the first five weeks of HGC action which made them sit out on the sidelines while Misfits, Team Dignitas and Fnatic travelled to Poland.
And all three of them had impressive showings while they were there - as a whole, Europe only lost two maps to outside competition in course of the tournament which cements their position as the dominant region in the West.
Now, with Weeks 6-10 awaiting us in about one month, it will be interesting to see how the European landscape will shape up. During the regular season, for example, with Dignitas losing to both Fnatic and Misfits, it looked like they were the team that would fall out of the top three. And with them going down 0-3 vs. Misfits on Saturday, this thought has been reinforced. 28 hours later, however, Dignitas beat Misfits and were able to beat Fnatic right afterwards in order to crown themselves Champions of the Western Clash.
With the Triumvirate being able to test themselves intercontinentally, it will be interesting to see if our boys were able to make use of the time off. They already were more or less able to hang with the top three in all of their matches against them this season, but in order to qualify for the next intercontinental event, they need to step up their game.
Females on the rise
Poland has always been "Team Secret territory" with the team around juliano and zAAz dominating the two previous Intel Challenges in Katowice - and this time was no different. The ladies ran through their group losing only eight rounds and in the beginning, it looked like just another CS:GO female tournament with everyone fighting over who will become 2nd place behind the former WeRunThisPlace line-up.
On the other hand, our ladies around Lisa 'shifty' Catino struggled with CLG.Red in their first game and were on the brink of elimination very early on, having to win against both silhouette and Team LDLC in order to make the semi-finals - which they did.
And so both teams had to face each other in the first of two semi-finals and although only a few people really gave our ladies a chance, they were able to take the first map off of them which definitely made some heads turn. Although Team Secret was able to get the W, our ladies showed that they are a force to be reckoned with, especially with the newest addition to the roster, Petra 'Petra' Stoker who put the team on her back for most of the tournament.
In about a month's time, our ladies will have the opportunity to affirm their place in the scene when the world's best female teams travel to Copenhagen once again.
The rebirth of SC2?
The StarCraft II community has been ecstatic about what happened in Katowice last week and showed their appreciation for it throughout the whole event as well as afterwards. By many, it has been called the best tournament in ages.
One can definitely see where they are coming from - starting on Monday with the Open Qualifiers, you could feel a lot of thought has gone into both the production and the format which led to the things that the tournament organisers have control over being executed very well. Additionally, the tournament has featured some amazing gameplay as well. It arguably had the best possible line-up for a StarCraft II tournament nowadays and that showed for it with great games between players of equal skill.
In the end, it was TY who could return to his WESG form after losing out against soO at GSL and winning the whole thing in the end vs. Stats in what turned out to be one of the best series of StarCraft II action ever.
Highlighting Byeon Hyeon 'ByuN' Woo's performance here, after a great showing in the group stage, he lost out to the person he 3-0'd in order to qualify for IEM Katowice in the first place - which just goes to show how narrow the field actually can be at the top of StarCraft II right now.
And with this tournament, the excitement for the game and its scene seems to be on the rise again after the hard times it had to suffer in the last six months especially. But, the GSL is still running, the SSL returns with a new format and in general, there are a few things you can look forward to as a StarCraft II fan.
After ByuN was not able to qualify for the SSL Premier, he needs to be content with playing in the SSL Challenge for now which is yet another attest to the high-density environment StarCraft II finds itself in. It will be interesting to see where the game goes from here.
Many storylines to follow provide us with a lot of excitement in the next coming weeks and months. For all things expert, stay connected with us via our Social Media platforms in order to be the first to know where our players will participate next.