Astralis, Fnatic advance with 2nd-round wins at IEM Katowice

Astralis and Fnatic earned second-round Group A victories Tuesday to advance at the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 World Championship in Katowice, Poland.

Astralis, who earned a spot in the tournament by beating 100 Thieves in the Grand Final of the Intel Extreme Masters XIV in Beijing in November, defeated tourney invite Team Vitality 16-9 on Overpass and 22-19 on Vertigo.

Also in the Group A upper bracket, Fnatic (winners of DH Masters Malmo 2019) had a tougher time before defeating open invite Natus Vincere. Fnatic won 16-7 on Dust II, then fell 16-14 on Inferno but came back for a 16-12 victory on Mirage.

Astralis and Fnatic will meet in the third round of the upper bracket on Thursday.

In lower-bracket first-round action in Group A on Tuesday, Ninjas in Pyjamas defeated Cloud9 16-2 on Overpass and 16-9 on Vertigo. FaZe swept Renegades, winning 16-12 on Inferno and 16-10 on Mirage.

Both Cloud9 and Renegades were eliminated from the tournament, while NiP will next face Natus Vincere and FaZe will meet Team Vitality in second-round lower-bracket action on Wednesday.

In the only Group B first-round matchups played Tuesday, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses were victorious, and will meet in the second round Wednesday.

Team Liquid swept 19-16 on Vertigo and 16-9 on Mirage. Evil Geniuses had a difficult time putting away MAD Lions, winning 16-7 on Vertigo, then dropping a 16-14 decision on Dust II before rolling 16-5 on Nuke.

In Group B first-round matchups played Monday, mousesports and G2 Esports each won soundly in 2-0 blowouts to set up their head-to-head battle in the second round of the group’s upper bracket. They will face each other Wednesday, before Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses square off.

TYLOO will take on 100 Thieves in a lower-bracket first-round match on Wednesday, when and MAD Lions will also meet.

TYLOO were runners-up of the Asian Closed Qualifier in January, but gained a spot as a replacement for Vici Gaming after one of their players could not obtain a visa from China in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. While ViCi and TYLOO both are based in China, TYLOO has been training in Ukraine.

Winners of the second round of the upper bracket will be assured of a spot in the six-team, single elimination playoff bracket. The winner of each group will head straight to the semifinals.

The best-of-three group stage runs through Thursday, with the top three teams from each group moving on to the playoff bracket. The 16-team, $500,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament will conduct its playoff rounds from Friday through Sunday, with the champions of the best-of-five Grand Final earning the $250,000 top prize.

Prize Pool:

1. $250,000

2. $100,000

3-4. $40,000

5-6. $15,000

7-8. $7,000

9-12. $4,000

13-16. $2,500 -- Cloud9, Renegades

--Field Level Media