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Published: December 21, 2022

Written by: Isabella Aslam


  • Eight teams are already invited to the event
  • A further eight participants will be decided at IEM Katowice’s Play-ins
  • Some big names are missing out on the event entirely

January 31, 2023, will mark the start of the first big CS:GO tournament of next year with teams duking it out at IEM Katowice for a slice of the $1 million prize pool.

Teams Have Been Decided

The ending of the year signifies the time to prepare for the next competitive season and CS:GO fans can rejoice as the teams for IEM Katowice 2023 have been finalized. Eight teams are heading straight to the main tournament that starts on January 31, while 16 others will clash in the Play-ins. The top eight from that stage will proceed to the main event.

FaZe, Vitality, and Outsiders are the three top teams that have received direct invites to IEM Katowice due to their performance in big events this year. Faze earned their invite by winning IEM Cologne, Vitality – by triumphing at the ESL Pro League Season 16, and Outsiders come to Katowice after winning the Rio Major.

These three top squads are being joined by five who have been invited due to their position in the ESL world ranking. These are Heroic, Liquid, Natus Vincere, MOUZ, and G2, who have all performed admirably during 2022. 

The eight remaining spaces of the tournament will be occupied by the eight teams who triumph during the Play-ins. The sixteen teams invited to the Play-ins have also largely been decided based on the ESL world ranking. The two exceptions to that rule are fnatic, who received a spot due to winning the Elisa Masters Espoo, and Permitta, who grabbed one by winning the ESL Polish Championship Autumn 2022.

Some More Interesting Notes

It’s interesting to note that of the high-profile teams, Astralis is going to miss out on the event. This is due to several factors, including a combination of rank decay, relative inactivity towards the end of 2022, and the removal of Kristian “?k0nfig?” Wienecke from the team. Not even the return of legendary player dev1ce to the Danish team was enough for them to qualify for the upcoming tournament. 

The qualification for the event caused some confusion due to the system that ESL has implemented. The organizer weights tournaments which grant ranking points based on the caliber and spread of teams attending, but retroactively made last-minute changes to certain tournaments. This is one of the reasons why tournaments like Elisa Masters Espoo shifted the rankings to be out of Astralis’ favor, ultimately denying them a spot at IEM Katowice. 

“Upon review, we found that we have wrongly reclassified Elisa from regional to global and that a similar mistake happened at three other tournaments,” stated the ESL of the confusion. “This decision has been reversed and is once again regional.”

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