SK T1 is leaving Katowice with another trophy. The Korean team managed to sweep Fnatic in the tournament finals 3-0, with the final game ending in a rare surrender vote. The final series wasn’t close, but Fnatic, like TSM, deserve credit for putting on a surprisingly good performance in a tournament they weren’t expected to accomplish anything in.
Many analysts doubted Fnatic would win even a single series in the Katowice tournament. After falling into the loser’s bracket, Fnatic went on to beat both CLG and Qiao Gu Reapers 2-1, moving onto the finals against SK T1. We all know how that series went; second place for Fnatic.
Fnatic has much to be proud of. Their early season woes have been well documented. Fnatic came into Katowice as a middle of the pack EU LCS team, and leaves with a re-energized roster that has a chance to carry this momentum into the EU LCS playoffs. They certainly won’t be underestimated after their strong IEM performance.
Unlike Fnatic, Origen didn’t benefit from the change of scenery in Katowice. Origen dropped into the loser’s bracket after being defeated by Chinese team Royal Never Give Up, then lost the following series 2-1 to TSM, eliminating them from the tournament. It was more of the same for the under performing OG roster.
One has to wonder at what point mid laner PowerOfEvil will be swapped out for team owner xPeke. The team has shared that they play to start integrating xPeke into the team for the summer split, and potentially even the upcoming spring playoffs. The PowerOfEvil experiment just doesn’t seem to be working.
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TSM came out very, very strong in the first game of the tournament against Korean challenger team ESC Ever. After a series of extremely early picks the game looked like it would be very hard to lose for the North American team. Against all odds, they thew the game. TSM was aced at Baron and ESC Ever pushed down the mid lane and ended the game before TSM respawned. But that didn’t tilt TSM. The team bounced back, defeating Origen, and then 2-0’ing ESC Ever in their Bo3 rematch.
These wins earned them a series against SK T1, who ultimately proved too much to handle. Even still, TSM undoubtedly gained from attending IEM Katowice. After a Dignitas-esque throw in their first game of the tournament, TSM could have tilted off the face of the earth. Instead, the team bounced back strong and strung together a series of wins before falling to the defending world champions. Not bad for a team that has been heavily inconsistent in the NA LCS.
This tournament was a big disappointment for CLG. There was talk of CLG having a serious chance at winning the entire tournament, but instead, they only won a single game. To be fair, they did kick things off against SK T1, but many expected CLG to defeat Fnatic in the following series.
CLG will return to the NA LCS disappointed. How they respond to this adversity will likely define how well they perform in the spring playoffs as the defending NA LCS champions.
Ultimately Western teams will leave Katowice with mixed results. TSM and Fnatic have earned some momentum they will be looking to leverage back in their home regions, while CLG and Origen will be doing their best to turn their failures into a learning experience.