We’re only a few days into IEM Katowice and I’m already grinning like an idiot.
Not sure about y’all, but to me, there’s a bit of a childlike nostalgia swirling around this year’s IEM Katowice. Sure, it’s a great opportunity to look forward, the first chance to make a mark on a truly elite-level prestigious tournament in the CS2 era as we make our way towards the first Major of its kind, but for those of us who have been around from the beginning of Global Offensive, it’s also a chance to look back at the early days of that period of esports.
We’re not going back to Jönköping anytime soon, but the venue of the second-ever CS:GO Major is still going strong. It was all a little more scuffed back then, raw yet perhaps more energetic. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss the days of high-variance group stages and half-day tech issues, and the production value is through the roof compared to what we used to have in those days, but there’s a forgotten sort of beauty to the raw nature of things.
We all knew a little less, and it made the whole thing a lot more fun. The industry was full of hope, and the money men only just began knocking on the door. For new fans like myself, every venue was new and wonderful. The Spodek, the Lanxess: there’s always a first time.
Also, the tactics were simpler, and there was more room for surprises. The ridiculous lurks and the ludicrous run-and-guns, be it Fnatic’s nonsensical comebacks or Virtus.pro’s fabled plow, it was just a little bit more about the individual strength than the pristine teamplay.
And here we are, early on in CS2’s life cycle, and it seems like history is repeating itself. The action is explosive, and Polish cores are conquering our hearts. It’s a great reminder of why this game is so much damn fun to play.
Not many of us will get to experience well-honed teamplay during our time on the Counter-Strike servers. Be it a partially or fully random team or a random roll of the tilt dice, coordination and defined roles and set pieces mainly remain the purview of esports broadcasts and top-level players. It is quite different from what we encounter day to day.
But sometimes, a blazing young talent appears with a smile on his face, a finger glued to the W button, wielding the juiciest of wide-peeks, and it’s amazing to watch.
Most often, it’s the AWPers who steal the show in CS2 matches, but now it’s a rifler’s time to shine, shouting and trash-talking along the way and pissing people off on the other team. Frankly, it’s hilarious.
Speaking of fun and rolling back the years, I’d be remiss not to shout out gla1ve’s incredible performances spearheading ENCE and pushing them to the main event and possibly beyond.
Admittedly, as the years go by, I serve up more and more takes with an expiration date worthy of a dairy product. While it’s too early to judge how well this ENCE lineup will do (and whether it will even stay in one piece after the RMR), gla1ve has definitely impressed us all in Katowice, already showing more promise and impact in his latter-day project than FalleN ever did post-SK.
So keep having fun, folks. You make CS even better to watch.
Header image: Adam Lakomy, ESL FACEIT Group