IEM Katowice Season X: League of Legends Preview

This weekend IEM Katowice will be showcasing 8 talented League of Legends teams from across the globe that will all be fighting for the IEM Championship title. There are 2 teams representing China, Korea, North America, and Europe at this tournament this weekend. It will be an interesting competition to see where each region stands and how well the teams attending will fare against the international competition. I’ll give a brief overview of the tournament and the teams, so let’s dive in.


IEM Katowice Format

Group A:


Group B:



The 8 teams are divided into two groups of four. It is a double elimination tournament. The first matches and the winners match are a best-of-one. Loser’s matches and the decider matches are best-of-three. The top two teams from each group make up the semifinalists. The semifinals are a best-of-three format and the finals will be a best-of-five.

The Competitors




Top: Hauntzer

Jungle: Svenskeren

Mid: Bjergsen

ADC: Doubelift

Support: YellowStar

TSM comes into this event as the defending champions. They were able to win IEM Katowice last year, but that doesn’t seem like it will be the case this year. TSM are sitting in 4th place in the NA LCS with an 8-6 record despite having one of the most talented rosters in the West.   Inconsistency and poor macro play are the Achilles heel of TSM so far this season and will need to drastically improve if they want to defeat the 7 other teams attending IEM this weekend. Hauntzer has been the best performing member of TSM and he will need to play well in his International debut for his team to go far. My player/players to watch for this team is the bottom lane of Doublelift and Yellowstar. They have yet to perform at an elite level in North America and will be looking to reach that status this weekend.



Top: Darshan

Jungle: Xmithie

Mid: Huhi

ADC: Stixxay

Support: Aphromoo

CLG is coming into IEM Katowice off their best week of the year after defeating the other top two teams in North America, Immortals and Cloud 9. CLG’s macro play has been their strong suit and will look to take advantage of that against their international competition. Darshan and Xmithie have been performing extremely well for this team and will have to keep that going in order for CLG to not get knocked out early. I worry about Stixxay and Huhi against the likes of Bang and Faker from SKT, but what CLG lacks in talent, they make up for in teamwork and cohesion. You can’t sleep on CLG at this event or they might catch you by surprise and send you home. Player to watch for CLG is Huhi. His performance in the mid lane could help CLG or drag them down. He’s a key piece to their puzzle.



Top: Gamsu

Jungle: Spirit

Mid: Febiven

ADC: Rekkles

Support: Klaj

Fnatic is the 5th place team in Europe at the moment with an 8-6 record and will have to improve their play immensely for them to take this tournament trophy home. Their rookie support player, Klaj, has had his fair share of mistakes on stage and could be a weak point for this team. Febiven has also had a down year after he exploded onto the scene last year. Spirit has improved as of late, but still has not been consistent enough for his team to climb the standings in Europe. The player to watch would be Spirt. He took his team to the IEM Katowice finals last year against TSM, maybe he could do the same for Fnatic this year.



Top: Soaz

Jungle: Amazing

Mid: PowerOfEvil

ADC: Zven

Support: Mithy

Talk about a disappointment so far this season, Origen currently sit in 6th place in the European LCS with a mediocre 7-7 record. Soaz has looked poor every week this season and Amazing has fallen off from his Summer/Worlds form. PowerOfEvil taking over for xPeke has not been a huge success that the team was hoping for and the bottom lane hasn’t been winning 2v2s like we expected from them. They did take home the IEM San Jose title easily, so maybe we will see the best of Origen yet again on an IEM stage. Origen may be a dark horse to win it all this weekend, so we will have to see if they can make it out of their group. My player to watch for Origen is Soaz. Which Soaz will show up? If Soaz comes out and wins the top lane each game, then Origen might be able to make a deep run in this tournament.


ESC Ever

Top: Crazy

Jungle: Ares

Mid: Tempt

ADC: Loken

Support: KeY

Ever or as most call them, the challenger team from Korea, are back again after their IEM Cologne victory and are looking to repeat their past success. They lost their mid laner Athena to EDG along the way, but Tempt has stepped in and played well. Crazy is a rock in the top lane and the Bard specialist, KeY, is back with the team. KeY is a fantastic support that will be looking to make plays all over the map with his roams. Ever’s synergy may be in question after absences from a couple of their players and having a new mid laner, but they have the talent to make it out of their group. My player to watch for this team is their jungler Ares. If he can snowball Crazy or Tempt in the solo lanes, then Ever will find success at this tournament.



Top: Duke

Jungle: Blank

Mid: Faker

ADC: Bang

Support: Wolf

The defending world champs have had a very rough beginning to Season 6. They are currently in 5th place in the LCK with a disappointing 5-4 record. SKT has been great in their individual play, but their team play has struggled at times. An interesting note about this team is that they are using this tournament as a chance to give Blank more playing time instead of using the legends himself, Bengi. Bang and Faker will need to outclass the competition like they are known for doing and carry SKT throughout the tournament. My player to watch for SKT is Duke. Duke has had an ok season so far, but he is not the player Marin was for SKT. His teleport plays will have to improve and he will need to work better with his team for SKT to go all the way.


Royal Never Give Up

Top: Looper

Jungle: mlxg

Mid: Xiaohu

ADC: Wuxx

Support: Mata

RNG lead group B in the LPL with a 6-2 record and have a good chance to take the trophy home this weekend. If you haven’t seen this team play before, they consist of two former world champions in Looper and Mata and are surrounded with 3 talented young guns. Mlxg is an aggressive jungler that will wreck havoc in the opposing jungle with Mata giving him all the backup he needs. Xiaohu can play any champion in the mid lane and the same goes for Looper in the top lane. Mata is considered one of the greatest support in League of Legends history and is my player to watch for RNG. Watch his warding, his invades with mlxg, and his roams. He’s a playmaker that can blow a game wide open for his team.  RNG should be favorites to make it out of their group.

QG Reapers

QG Reapers

Top: V

Jungle: Swift

Mid: Doinb

ADC: Peco

Support: Mor

In the LPL, QG currently holds the first place spot in Group A and also has the best record in all of China at 7-1.  They come into IEM fresh off their first loss of the season to RNG, but they are still a strong contender to take it all. Swift is a force in the jungle and is one of the best in the world. Doinb is an excellent LeBlanc and Viktor player and Peco and Mor work extremely well together in the bottom lane. This team is known as one of the best 5v5 fighting teams in the world, but their lane swap game and early game is a question. If they fall behind early, they may never be able to get to the 5v5 team fights that they thrive in. Another note for QG is Uzi, the star ADC that is on their bench. He could see himself on the stage if things don’t go QG’s way. The player to watch on QG is Swift. If he can get an early advantage for his team whether by farming or ganking it would help his team significantly. QG will also be looking to redeem China’s pride as they choked on extreme levels at the past few international events.



Broadcast Team/Schedule


All the action kicks off tomorrow, March 4th, with all of the games from Group A. March 5th will be all the games from Group B. The semifinals and the finals will end the tournament on March 6th. Games will be starting each day at 6:00 AM EST. Set your alarms and get ready to see some of the best teams from across the globe do battle on the international stage. I’m expecting this tournament to be a very entertaining one, so don’t miss out. If there are any questions feel free to comment below or send me a tweet.

By: Jeff “Gravy’ Miskin

Twitter: @BigBadGravy