It’s not the event we were expecting, but man it has delivered. The IEM Katowice 2021 best-of-five grand final is underway as Virtus.pro and Gambit battle it out as the last two teams standing.
Yeah, you read that correctly. The two CIS teams defeated the other world beaters attending the event in a somewhat surprising sequence of events. With teams like Astralis, Natus Vincere, Vitality, and Liquid on the docket, the likelihood that we would be seeing three CIS teams in the semifinals seemed farfetched at first.
That was until Spirit, Gambit, and Virtus.pro showed what they were capable of. The teams built up momentum quick and began destroying all that lay in front of them on their way to a deep playoff run. Spirit impressed in their wins over G2, Heroic, and Astralis while Virtus.pro bested both Astralis and Liquid in the playoffs. Gambit would have a full CIS run, taking down Na’Vi 2-0 in the quarterfinals before sweeping the fiery Spirit squad in the semis.
There’s already been claims of a new CIS era hitting the Counter-Strike scene and if this level of play continues across the board from the likes of Spirit, Gambit, Virtus.pro, and Natus Vincere those claims may just have some truth to them. It’s still early, but the battle between Europe and North America may not be the most interesting anymore.