Heroic Virtus.pro scores crucial group stage wins at IEM Katowice

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A backlit keyboard is part of the equipment used by online video game streamer Jordan Woodruff in his Gilbert home.Jordan Woodruff

Heroic and Virtus.pro advanced to the Group A Finals with wins in Friday’s group stage at IEM Katowice 2022 in Katowice, Poland.

Heroic swept Team Vitality 2-0 and Virtus.pro held off Ninjas in Pajamas 2-1 in order to advance. When Heroic and Virtus.pro play on Sunday, the winner will take first place in Group A and receive a bye to the playoff stage semi-finals.

Also in Group A, MOUZ beat OG 2-0 and Gambit Esports held on to beat Copenhagen Flames 2-1 in the bottom group, knocking OG and Flames out of the competition.

Group B concluded the first round of their top group with Natus Vincere prevailing 2-1 over ENCE and Fnatic coming back to beat G2 by the same scoreline.

The group stage is the second of three stages of IEM Katowice. After the qualifying stage, which ended on Wednesday, the top eight teams from that stage join eight previously qualified teams in the group stage, a double-elimination bracket where all matches are best-of-three. The top three teams from Groups A and B reach the knockout stage of the playoffs, with the best-of-five grand final set for February 27.

Heroic started with a 16-12 win over Vitality over Mirage before a 22-18 overtime victory over Inferno to finish. Martin “stavn” Lund and Rasmus “sjuush” Beck led the heroic all-Danish team to 54 wins apiece, with stavn posting a team-leading plus-8 differential. Denmark’s Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen of Team Vitality had a game-high 57 kills and a plus-9 rating.

Virtus.pro won 16-9 over Overpass, but NIP evened things up with a 16-12 win over Vertigo. They headed to Ancient for the deciding round, with Virtus.pro taking the map 16-8. Latvian Mareks “YEKINDAR” Galinskis had 59 kills and Russian Dzhami “Jame” Ali posted a plus-18 with 50 kills for VP. Sweden’s Fredrik “REZ” Sterner carried NIP with 56 kills and a plus-4.

MOUZ had little trouble beating OG 16-12 on Nuke and 16-9 on Ancient. Hungary’s Adam “torzsi” Torzsas had a record 40 kills and a plus-11 KD while MOUZ teammate David “frozen” Cernansky of Slovakia recorded a plus-15 with 35 kills.

Gambit beat the Flames 16-12 on Overpass before Flames got revenge on Inferno, winning 16-13. But Gambit took the decisive card, Vertigo, with an easy result of 16-6. Gambit’s Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov had 74 kills with a plus-25 differential, while teammate and fellow Russian Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov had a plus-28 differential with 64 kills.

Natus Vincere opened with a 16-8 win over ENCE over Mirage. ENCE then topped second map Nuke 16-4 before NaVi broke the tie by taking Overpass 16-14 – rallying from a 9-1 deficit. Ukrainian Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev led NaVi with 54 kills and a plus-9. ENCE’s Israeli Lotan “Spinx” Giladi posted game highs of 61 kills and a plus-10.

Finally, Fnatic bounced back from a lopsided 16-2 loss to G2 Esports on Nuke by taking Mirage 16-7 and Inferno 16-11. Sweden’s Freddy ‘KRIMZ’ Johansson led Fnatic with 55 eliminations and a plus-11 KD. Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovac had 56 kills with a plus-11 for G2.

The group stage continues on Saturday with six matches:
Ninjas in Pajamas vs. MOUZ (bottom bracket of group A)
Team Vitality vs. Gambit Esports (bottom bracket of Group A)
Natus Vincere vs. FURIA Esports (top group of Group B)
FaZe Clan vs. Fnatic (top bracket of Group B)
ENCE vs. Astralis (bottom bracket of Group B)
Team Liquid vs. G2 Esports (bottom bracket of Group B)

IEM Katowice 2022 prize pool:

1. TBD – $400,000
2. TBD – $180,000
3-4. TBD – $80,000
5-6. TBD – $40,000
7-8. TBD – $24,000
9-12. TBD – $16,000
13-16. OG, Flames of Copenhagen, TBD, TBD – $10,000
17-20. BIG, GODSENT, Movistar Riders, Entropiq – $4,500
21-24. Wisla Krakow, Sprout, Renegades, MIBR – $2,500

–Field level media

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