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Starting on January 31 and ending on February 12, Poland’s biggest esports event will take place at a sold-out Spodek Arena. The reason: the planet’s best CS:GO teams will be going head-to-head as they fight not only for the $1 million prize pool, but also for a spot in the prestigious Intel Grand Slam. 

This preview will cover what to expect at IEM Katowice this year. That said, there is something for certain: the most thrilling, competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gameplay on the planet.

The teams at IEM Katowice 2023

There are 24 teams entered for IEM Katowice 2023. These are split into two groups from the start: 

  • eight teams at the group stage
  • 16 teams at the play-in stage

Group stage

  1. FaZe Clan
  2. Team Vitality
  3. Outsiders
  4. Heroic
  5. Team Liquid
  6. Natus Vincere
  7. G2 Esports
  8. MOUZ

Play-in stage

  1. Fnatic
  2. Permitta Esports
  3. Ninjas in Pyjamas
  4. Complexity
  5. Team Spirit
  6. Cloud9
  7. FURIA
  8. Grayhound
  9. IHC Esports
  10. MIBR
  11. OG
  12. ENCE
  13. BIG
  14. Sprout
  15. paiN Gaming 
  16. Evil Geniuses

Those in the group stage met certain entry requirements. FaZe Clan, for instance, won the Cologne tournament, whereas Heroic earned their place due to their ESL World Ranking. 

After winning in 2022, FaZe Clan is backed by the bookmakers to defend their IEM Katowice successfully. G2 Esports and Heroic, who finished second and third, respectively, in 2022, are seen as strong contenders again. For an outside pick, FURIA, currently in the play-in stage, are backed to better their ninth-place finish from 2022. 

How the competition works


The tournament begins with the 16 play-in teams. The aim of this section is to half the group into eight, and these are added to the rest of the teams in the group stage. The play-in is a double-elimination format. The opening matches are a best of one, while every other match in this part of the tournament is best of three. 

Group stage

The 16 remaining teams are split into two groups of eight. Again, with double elimination, each match is a best of three. After all, matches are played, the top three teams in each group will advance to the Playoffs.


The teams that finish first place in their respective groups advance straight to the tournament semi-finals. The teams that finished second/third in each group then have to compete against each other in the quarter-finals. The draw will look as follows: 

  • Group A winner vs. (Group B 2nd place/Group A 3rd place)
  • Group B winner vs. (Group A 2nd place/Group B 3rd place)

The winners of these semi-finals will then go against each other in the Grand Final.

Each match in the playoffs is best of three. That’s other than the Grand Final, which is a best of five. 

Prize pool 

With a giant $1 million prize pool up for grabs, here is how the money is distributed across placements: 

PlacePrize (dollars)

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