Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice 2023 has come to a spectacular closure, as our new Champions have claimed their eternal spot in the Hall of Heroes – a place where legends are born and history is forged for all generations of esports players and fans worldwide. Across three days, over 65,000 people visited the sold-out Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and StarCraf® II Championships at the Spodek Arena and the International Congress Center (MCK), the IEM Expo, and two additional esports tournaments.
IEM Katowice 2023 CS:GO Championship
The Hall of Heroes hosted 24 of the world’s best CS:GO teams during ten competition days, with the final three days being played out in front of a live audience. After many intense battles, it was G2 Esports and Heroic that were left with the opportunity to claim the ESL Pro Tour (EPT) CS:GO Championship title, a lion’s share of the $1,000,000 total prize pool, and a spot in the IEM Cologne 2023 tournament. The audience at the packed Spodek Arena, along with the almost 710,000* people simultaneously tuning in from around the world, was kept at the edge of their seats, but eventually, it was G2 Esports that took a 3-1 victory.
While previously only making it as far as the semi-finals at IEM Katowice Championships, G2 Esports has officially entered the Hall of Heroes and will see its name engraved on the iconic trophy for the very first time. The team has now also made its first step to completing the race to the Intel® Grand Slam IV, needing three more wins of EPT Masters or Championship events to secure its $1,000,000 cash prize.
Moreover, Nikola “NiKo” Kovač finally managed to secure the coveted IEM Katowice title after having lost three Grand Finals in the past, making the win a particularly special moment for the G2 Esports rifler. For his teammate, Justin “jks” Savage, this is the second IEM Katowice victory after winning last year’s edition as a stand-in for FaZe Clan. He hereby becomes the first player ever to win IEM Katowice back-to-back while playing for different teams. The Australian also debuted as EPT DHL MVP (Most Valuable Player).
“If you want to know how much winning IEM Katowice meant to the G2 Army, just watch NiKo finally lifting the trophy,” said G2 Esports. “We are honored to cement our place in CS:GO history and join the Hall of Heroes with this amazing team.”
Next up in the ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO is the ESL Pro League Season 17, on February 21-March 26. For more information, check the official website and follow ESL CS on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
IEM Katowice 2023 StarCraft® II Championship
StarCraft® II fans world-wide got to experience a most memorable and emotional tournament as well. After five days of intense battles for the $500,000 total prize pool and the title of World Champion, it was Maru and Oliveira – respectively placed first and 20th in the EPT 22/23 Combined Standings – who were this year’s Grand Finalists.
With the former being the expected winner, the people watching the matches live at the MCK as well as the more than 73,000* fans simultaneously watching the live broadcasts were in for a big surprise as it was Oliveira who claimed the victory. Shedding tears of happiness live on stage after his remarkable performance, Oliveira has shown the world the fairytale-like possibility to reach the absolute top as an underdog.
The win is one of the most memorable ones in the almost 25 years of StarCraft® history, as the Chinese Terran player who commenced his professional career in 2015 has never before won a tournament outside of China. Furthermore, despite being close to not making it out of the Group Stage, he ended up beating some of the big fan-favorites – including Heromarine, Reynor, and herO – along the way.
For more information about EPT SC2, check the official website and follow ESL SC2 on Twitter and Facebook.
ESL Impact Katowice
Marking a spectacular start of an action-packed year for the all-women CS:GO circuit, ESL Impact, eight top teams competed at the $100,000 tournament in Katowice. Motivated by tremendous local support at the IEM Expo at the MCK, the Polish squad from NAVI Javelins made it to the Grand Finals, where they were challenged by Nigma Galaxy.
Eventually, it was the latter that proved to be the stronger team as they beat NAVI Javelins 2-0 after overtime on the last map. Nigma Galaxy thereby continues to dominate the all-women CS:GO scene, now having claimed all four ESL Impact trophies since the circuit’s launch in early 2022.
Next up is the ESL Impact League Season 3 on March 8-April 16, with the Global League Finals taking place live at DreamHack Dallas on June 2-4. For more information, check the official website and follow ESL Impact on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
ESL R1 2023 Spring Season Round 1 & 2
Apart from the ESL Impact tournament, the returning IEM Expo hosted another heated competition as the brand-new ESL R1 made its debut. On February 11-12, 48 racers gave a whole new meaning to virtual racing during the first two rounds of the 2023 Spring Season. With more than 75,000 hours watched during the live broadcasts of the first two rounds, EFG’s newest esports circuit already proves to be a stunning success.
Encouraged by the fans gathering around the live stage, Maximilian Benecke from MOUZ became the fastest RENNSPORT driver during Round 1, while Joshua Rogers from Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team was the first to cross the finish line in Round 2.
The ESL R1 2023 Spring Season continues with rounds 3 to 8 on March 13-May 8 and concludes with the 2023 Spring Major, live at the RENNSPORT Summit on May 27-28. For more information about ESL R1 check the official website and follow ESL R1 on TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
The IEM Expo
Last but certainly not least, the event provided its attendees with countless new memories through activities at the IEM Expo. Games, cosplayers, influencers, competitions, hardware presentations, and much more were offered by some of the biggest brands on the market. The big crowd attending is a testament to the ability of shared interests, hobbies and passion for bringing people together to celebrate and socialize.
As the lights slowly turn off in the Spodek Arena and silence settles in the MCK, a new chapter of esports history is officially written and new legends are immortalized at the Hall of Heroes. The spectacular beginning of the year is a promising start for what is yet to come for the world beyond gameplay.