IEM Katowice’s first quarterfinal matchups took place last night, with NaVi defeating FaZe, and ENCE producing a major upset against Team Liquid.
Both teams will now move onto the semifinal stage of the comptetition and face off against the winners of the two remaining quarterfinal matchups: MIBR vs Renegades, Astralis vs NiP.
In the first match of the night, NaVi proved far too hot to handle and swept past FaZe in only two games. FaZe got off to a great start on the first map, racing to a 10-5 scoreline and leading everyone to believe they’d close it out just as quickly - NaVi had other ideas, however.
Flamie (arguably MVP of the match) produced his second pistol ace of the match which halted FaZe’s momentum and seemed to reinvigorate the team’s spirit. NaVi sprung to life, calmly securing the first map 16-13 after a hairy start.
The second map was far more one-sided, and just when you thought FaZe might have turned things around by forcing NaVi into a pistols vs rifles affair, the Ukrainian side brandished Deagles and set to work. After this, the victory seemed sealed. 16-7 was the final scoreline.
In the second match of the night, Team Liquid faced off against ENCE. Team Liquid were one of the favourites to go on and win the Major since they’re one of the only teams to have overcome Astralis (the best team in the world right now) in a tournament final last month.
Well, things didn’t pan out quite that way in the end. ENCE dominated the first map, with the whole team stepping up. Bar Allu, the team is largely made up of rookies, but you'd never have guessed from the performances they produced.
In the final map, Team Liquid turned on the gas and reached map point with what seemed like an insurmountable 15-8 lead. ENCE ploughed on though, scraping together round after round until the comeback didn’t seem impossible anymore.
In an astonishing twist, ENCE equalised the score and carried this energy into overtime, eventually sending Team Liquid crashing out of the Major with a 19-16 victory.
Both FaZe and Team Liquid will go back to the drawing board and figure out where it all went wrong. There’s no doubt we’ll see them on the big stage again, but whether they’ll have the same rosters remains to be seen.