Xanth's Top 4 Surprises from IEM Katowice 2018

IEM Katowice has wrapped up, and the world's focus has moved onto Kiev and the setting of the StarSeries LAN. Before we get caught up in the flurry, let's take a look back at the events of Katowice, where we witnessed upsets and surprises all throughout the tournament.

Here’s my countdown of the top 4 surprises from IEM Katowice 2018.

#4: Noble's Consistency

Noble was a team that was expected to do poorly at this event. I underestimated them greatly. While they never had a stand-out game, they performed spectacularly on a regular basis. Over 8 games, they had an average placing of 5.5. Their highest placing was 4th, and their lowest was 8th, finishing the tournament in 5th place. 

Perhaps having significantly more LAN experience than most of their competition gave them an edge. Nevertheless, going into this event they were heavy underdogs, and them displaying that sort of consistency against some of the best teams in the world is impressive. Their online record has been spotty, at best. Noble currently sits in 31st place in Auzom's Premier League, for example, and most would not have put them in major contention to qualify for the event in the first place. 


#3: Vitality's Day 2

One of the easy favorites going into the event along with FaZe, after day 1, it looked like Vitality might just repeat their win from IEM Oakland. Although they had a bad first game, ending with a 14th place finish, they bounced back quickly in games 2 and 3, nabbing 3rd place and a win. This put them in 2nd place at the end of day 1, looking stronger than many other favorites to win the tournament. 

But when the 2nd day finally dawned, Vitality just couldn't put anything together. Their first game ended with an 8th place, and it was all downhill from there, as in their final 3 games, they never made it into the top 10. No one could have predicted that Vitality would fall apart to such a degree, but that just goes to show that even the best teams in the world can have off days.


#2: KSV's miserable performance

Among the western public, KSV NoTitle were not touted very highly. Coming from Korea, where they play a strictly third person league, general opinion was that they would be unable to adapt to the first person environment that was used in the west. Among some analysts and pros, this would not have been farther from the truth. Korea has infrastructure far beyond what the west has conjured up thus far, and the players in KSV had been scrimming and seemed to be adapting well to first person. Many thought that KSV would come into Katowice dominating many of their western counterparts. But instead, the opposite happened. 

For most of their games, KSV looked hopelessly lost, only getting two top 10 finishes throughout the entire event, and finishing in second to last overall. The reason for this is unclear. It's possible that, as some had thought, KSV were unable to adapt to the first person environment. Perhaps their team was simply overrated, perhaps Korea is behind the west in the meta. Or, perhaps more simply, KSV simply had a bad couple of days. As we saw with Vitality and even FaZe on the first day, it can happen to anyone.


#1: Optic Bahawaka's potential abuse of an in-game bug

This surprise didn’t actually surface during the event, but as a source of controversy afterward. On twitter, streamer luddigus tweeted a clip from ESL's stream that showed OptiC Gaming's Bahawaka abusing a clipping bug to gain vision through a wall to the outside of the house he was in.

It's unclear whether what he was doing was intentional, but it has caused several pro players to speak out on the issue, and in a Twitter exchange Team Liquid's Scoom said that he had tested the bug in order to replicate it in a twitter exchange, with several other players chiming in.

As For ESL, this should not be taken lightly. In section 1.8 of the 2018 IEM Katowice rule book, the following sentence is found in the last paragraph:

“The intentional use of any bugs, glitches, or errors in the game is strictly forbidden and will be penalised. Any team found to be using any known exploit will forfeit their game upon the first occurrence of the exploit.”

For most teams, this penalty would now be inconsequential, but for OptTic, it would be the difference between $12,000 or $0. OpTic took 2nd in the tournament, but if they are retroactively penalized by ESL, they would lose all of it. In the round that Bahawaka performed this glitch, round 8, OpTic got a 3rd place finish with a fair amount of kills, receiving 360 points for this performance. This gave OpTic a total of 1881 points after game 8, but after game 7, they only had 1521 points. Just 9 less than Noble after game 8.

In other words, if ESL punishes OpTic according to their rules instead of outright removing them from the event,OpTic would be moved down from 2nd place to 5th place, 9 points short of finishing in the money. The teams that would move up in their place are Cloud 9, FaZe, and Noble. Whether any action will be taken is yet to be seen,but ESL had better consider the situation carefully before they decide, as it could be an influence on how futurePUBG events decide to treat similar exploits and glitches used during the event. 

Image Credits: ESL


About the author: Xanth is a PUBG analyst and content creator for PUBG.Net. Check him out on Twitter