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Serral and FaZe Clan Secure Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice 2022 Champion Titles

1.1 Million CCU Viewers Watched the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Competition
A Total of $1.5 Million In Prize Money was Awarded During Competitions

Cologne/New York/Stockholm — Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice 2022 has concluded and new ESL Pro Tour champions were crowned. This year’s event marked the 10th anniversary of ESL Gaming’s flagship event in Katowice, Poland. Due to the pandemic, it was the first of the company’s esports competitions to welcome onsite audiences in 812 days.

The Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland, is a place for the best of the best. What the fans got to experience during the final day of Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice 2022 is difficult to describe in words. With both the Grand Finals of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and StarCraft® II taking place, the temperature inside the Spodek Arena skyrocketed, and fans got to experience an overflow of emotions, unforgettable action, and unexpected turns of events.

Not only did the crowd at the arena get to experience all the memorable moments, but the CS:GO competition also had a huge viewership across the globe with the peak CCU coming in at 1.1 million; ESL’s main CS channel on Twitch peaking at 550,000; and average viewership across channels hitting more than 328,000. In total, this has become the first and only non-major event to become one of the top-five, most-viewed CS:GO tournaments ever.

“Serral” kissing the IEM Katowice trophy. Photo: Helena Kristansson/ESL Gaming

ENCE Esports’ Joona “Serral” Sotala Secures Historic StarCraft® II Title

For the first time, the semifinals of the Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice playoffs featured as many as three Europeans. The two encounters were their exact opposites. Defending champion Riccardo “Reynor” Romiti had to defeat Gabriel “HeRoMaRinE” Segat on his way to the final. The beginning of the clash between the Terran and Zerg players indicated the domination of the first ones when HeRoMaRinE took a two-point lead. However, as the classic sports saying goes – if you do not win 3-0, you’re bound to lose 3-2, and it turned out to be true again. In the end, it was “Reynor” that advanced to the finals. The second semifinal was a show of definite domination by the Finnish player Joon “Serral” Sotal. He defeated his opponent Lee “Rogue” Yeol by 3-0.

In the final duel, “Serral” and “Reynor” gave the fans a real show. Initially, the Finn led the match, but after two wins, his opponent finally fired back. Despite that, “Reynor” could not complete the set, and “Serral”, representing ENCE Esports, bounced back to write his name in the history books as the winner of IEM Katowice 2022. 

The FaZe Clan players and coach after their win. Photo: Helena Kristansson/ESL Gaming

FaZe Clan Secure Their First-Ever Intel® Extreme Masters Title Fielding a Stand-In

G2 Esports and FaZe Clan, the two teams that showed the best and most stable performance, advanced to the CS:GO Grand Final. Facing off not only for the opportunity to lift the cup and win their share of the $1,000,000 total prize pool but above all for the eternal glory and recognition for their performance in the legendary Spodek Arena. 

Everyone watching the CS:GO tournament expected a great clash, and the finalists truly delivered. Although the first map, Inferno, did not start well for FaZe Clan, the team managed to make up for the slow start and take the first point of the series following overtime. After the map changed to Mirage, we once again experienced overtime that lasted for a total of 58 rounds. The game then ended on Dust 2 as after over 5 hours of going punch for punch, FaZe Clan raised the trophy of Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice 2022.

A notable feat of FaZe Clan securing their first-ever IEM title is that they played the majority of the tournament sporting a stand-in. Justin “jks” Savage first entered the FaZe Clan roster as a stand-in for Robin “ropz” Kool during the play-in stage, he was brought back in ahead of the playoffs to replace Håvard “rain” Nygaard. Both players had tested positive for Covid-19.

FaZe Clan on their win: “The support for FaZe was incredible and helped us to reach the top. The competition was insane and we are proud of the team for staying positive and giving it their all until the end. Next, our focus will be on ESL Pro League S15 in 2 weeks. #FaZeUp!”

Oleg “s1mple” Kostyliev gave an emotional speech at the opening ceremony.
Photo: Helena Kristiansson/ESL Gaming

Impactful Speeches During Opening Ceremony

Earlier, during the opening ceremony on Friday afternoon (local time), Michal Blicharz, VP of Pro Gaming at ESL Gaming, and the Ukrainian superstar Oleg “s1mple” Kostyliev of Natus Vincere both gave emotional speeches to the fans onsite and all those watching at home.

We have waited for three years to be back here with you. Two years ago and one year ago, the pandemic took it away from us and we’re really looking forward to celebrating our reunion because esports is not esports without fans,” Blicharz said before continuing: “It’s hard to ignore what else is going on out there in the world. We have an international community with dozens of nationalities coming here to compete in Katowice. Multiple teams with mixed nationalities where there are teammates from different countries and 180 countries usually watch this event around the world and tune in. And all that connects us, that binds us, is esports and that is magical, really that is magical /…/ I hope that esports this week will unite us and that we will not be divided by that shit that is going on out there.

Later, when “s1mple” was handed the microphone, he promoted a message of unity and peace:

“I want you to know that esports is out of politics and all our players, players from different teams, and all of you have nothing to do with government decisions /…/ All of us want peace for Ukraine, and for [the] whole world. All of us [are] scared. And all of us need to show example of this tournament for [the] whole world. We need to stay together as a unit with our fans, with our friends, with everyone who’s going to watch this tournament. We all need to stay humans first.”

The Road to IEM Cologne has Already Begun

With the event in Katowice coming to a close, focus is now shifting to the next ESL Pro Tour Championship event in Cologne, Germany. In the heart of summer, July 5–17, at LANXESS Arena, also called the “The Cathedral of Counter-Strike”, will once again host the culmination of all excellence the game has to offer. 24 teams will fight for not only the prize money, or another win in the Intel® Grand Slam race, but above all for one of the most prestigious titles around. Many prestigious competitions await before the teams gather in Cologne. These include such competitions as ESL Pro League Season 15, March 9–April 10, and IEM Dallas, May 31–June 5.

For more information and the latest updates, head to the official ESL Pro Tour, follow ESL CS on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or follow ESL SC2 on Twitter and Facebook.

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About ESL Gaming

ESL Gaming is the world’s leading esports company. For more than two decades, we have been shaping the industry and leading esports and gaming innovation globally across the most popular video games, creating a comprehensive ecosystem with opportunities for players to go from zero to hero, and for fans to witness the best stories esports has to offer. Our portfolio consists of high-profile products such as the ESL Pro Tour, Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL Mobile, DreamHack Festivals, and many more, ranging from grassroots to global elite competitions. ESL Gaming is part of MTG, the leading international digital entertainment group.

More information is available at about.eslgaming.com.

Intel® Extreme Masters – Intel® Extreme Masters is the longest-running global professional esports tournament circuit in the world. Started in 2006 by Intel and ESL, the competition has now traveled to over 30 cities around the globe and conducted tournaments for 11 different competitive gaming titles. Esports fans from more than 180 countries regularly make IEM events record-breakers in terms of stadium attendance and viewership, with the tournament’s inaugural event in Australia in May 2017 marking the fifth continent for the global competitive circuit. Throughout more than 75 IEM events, over US $11 million in prize money has been awarded to some of the world’s top esports talent (www.intelextrememasters.com).

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The company operates high-profile, branded international leagues and tournaments under the ESL Pro Tour.