IEM Katowice 2021 Playoffs – The rise of the CIS

The IEM Katowice 2021 Playoffs are right around the corner. Six teams remain in one of the biggest tournaments of the year. The Playoffs section of IEM Katowice is typically reserved the strongest of Europe, the CIS and NA. However, the 2021 edition of the event is seeing the overwhelming presence of the CIS teams. Let us take a look at the journey of the Playoff teams and what it means moving forward.

The CIS dominate

Just before the event, we at Dart Frog mentioned that the CIS teams really have the potential to upset this event. Lo and behold this is exactly what happened. The four CIS team all made it to the Playoffs, with Team Spirit being the team to earn a direct seed into the semi-finals.

The four teams all had interesting runs through the Group Stages, with theoretically surprise upsets all over the place. We know for a fact that these teams certainly had the potential to go far. The likes of Gambit and Virtus Pro have attended events throughout last year getting wins over some of Europe’s and NA’s best. On the other hand, Team Spirit and Na’Vi have been at each other throats for the majority of 2020 in the CIS regional brackets.

The Lower Bracket CIS teams

Gambit Esports started off slow, losing 0-2 to EG in the first round. However, they went on to win their Lower Bracket group. They beat mousesports, Heroic, and G2 Esports in the Lower Bracket. G2 and mousesports all fell 2-0 the former youngsters. while Heroic gave them a good showing ina 2-1 series. Arguably, mousesports and G2 were not as big, since both these teams have issues. But the Heroic series was certainly a valid upset.

not bad, king

Moving on, Virtus.Pro was in the same spot. They too had to make a Lower Bracket Round One run in Group B. VP started off with a loss to CIS supreme team oof NaVi. The roster then crawled it back with a 2-0 win over NiP and surprisingly Team Vitality, before taking down FURIA and making it to the Playoffs.

The Upper CIS

The number one dog in Na’Vi has a good run through the Group Stages, only losing to Team Liquid in the Upper Bracket Final. Na’Vi performed very well against VP, with a very similar result vs FURIA. The only time Na’Vi was really challenged was against Team Liquid, with the third map going to overtime before Team Liquid won the series.

Meanwhile, Team Spirit performed exceptionally well. TS started off very competitive vs G2 Esports. A 2-1 series was the result, with the Team Spirit victories being fairly close. The same story could be told for Heroic with 16-12 and 16-14 map results. Although, the real surprise was the Astralis series. The roster continued their narrative, until the final map of the Upper Bracket of Group A. The result was a near 16-0 for Team Spirit, with Astralis only clutching the pistol round to make it a 16-1 map. The result is actually incredible.

If only this moment was on LAN
An appropriate meme

What’s Next

IEM Katowice 2021 Playoffs commences on February 26t with the Quarter Finals. Natus Vincere faces off against fellow CIS team Gambit, with Astralis battling on the other side of the bracket. The winners of Na’Vi and Gambit will then advance to face off against Team Spirit, with Team Liquid awaiting the other series.

Regardless of the outcome, there will be at least one CIS team in the Finals, which is certainly something to shout home about. We look forward to seeing the action unfold in the IEM Katowice 2021 Playoffs.

Will the dream come true?

Stay tuned to Dartfrog for all the latest news and analysis on CS:GO and follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.  Image via ESL Gaming.


Riot announces its VALORANT Game Changers Program

Inclusivity with Valorant scored a win yesterday as Riot Games announced their Game Changers Program. The initiative looks to create a fully-fledged competitive ecosystem for women’s Valorant. The program debuted across social media and on the site on February 23.

The Game Changers program will debut with its North American series as early as March. Overall the program looks to offer more “exposure for marginalized genders within Valorant.”

However, the move has drawn the ire of many of the more close-minded fans. Criticism has come from both Valorant esports supporters and the wider community. The misguided criticism used factually incorrect statements about the Game Changers program. They allegedly worried about eyes being diverted away from “top-level” competition by this initiative. Other complaints were levelled at the perceived unfairness of women’s-only and gender-locked leagues.

Supporters of the program were quick to pledge their support. Many of the initial falsehoods were debunked quickly, and the positive aspects of the program were shared. Overall, the vast majority of the reaction to the announcement has been positive.

Only the Beginning

Valorant has already made waves with its competitive inclusivity far outstripping almost every other esport in terms of proportion and visibility. Last month, Evil Geniuses announced a mixed-gender roster. Meanwhile, in the WSOE Online V: Valorant Qualifier, Cloud9 White defeated Renegades in a surprise upset. In Valorant it seems, the playing field is starting to level, although there’s plenty of work still to be done.

The fact that there was a huge outcry following the announcement of such an innocuous program like Game Changers is cause for concern. Many members of the community used the opportunity to have their voices heard. In posts across Twitter and Reddit, competitive players contributed stories about their experience in esports.

With Game Changers, Riot Games has made a step in the right direction. Make sure to follow Dartfrog for all the latest Valorant esports news on our TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Twitch.


IEM Katowice 2021: MiBR vs. Fnatic Result Eliminates The Swedes

After a shocking start to the IEM Katowice 2021 event, Fnatic has departed the tournament after failing to win a map. The Swedish squad played their final series against MiBR, which ended in a 2-0 sweep. As a result one of the most decorated teams in Katowice history is out. Although far from the predicted result, it’s emblematic of the beauty of Katowice. So what happened?

Fnatic’s Drop to Lower Bracket

Fnatic started off the event in a bad spot. In their first series versus OG, the roster failed to amount to anything. Starting Overpass on CT side, the squad started at a deficit to their opponents 10-5 . Moving onto the next half, things weren’t much better. OG started off strong on the weaker side transitioned into the new half where they snowballed a 16-9 win.

As for the players themselves, only Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson of the old guard performed well, with a 0.93 rating. The IGL, Maikil “Golden” Kunda Selim, had to step up with his 0.9 rating. This was against the likes of OG’s Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt’s Deagle 3k, Issa “ISSAA” Murad’s near pistol ace, and other clutch moments.

MiBR vs. Fnatic

The MiBR vs Fnatic series, compared to the OG match, was quite surprising. The new MiBR lineup consisted of the former BOOM roster, after MiBR’s temporary fix late last year backfired. This roster is decent, but heading to one of the biggest ESL Pro Tour events with a lineup that wasn’t part of the team’s 2020 journey was sketchy. However, taking down Fnatic is a good sign.

This series was again a straight 2-0, with MiBR winning Dust 16-12 and Overpass 16-9. The trend continues of Fnatic losing Overpass on the same score. But as for the player ratings, the result was flipped on its head. Younger stars Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin and Jack Ström “Jackinho” Mattsson took the reins while the old guard and IGL fell off.

With the defeat, Fnatic says goodbye to an event they have won several times. It seems likely that Fnatic can bounce back as, they have done before. Hopefully, the roster can come out of this slump and learn along with their new younger talent.

Goodbye Fnatic

Stay tuned to Dartfrog for all the latest news and analysis on CS:GO and follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.  Image via ESL Gaming


IEM Katowice 2021: Narratives To Watch At This Major Event

IEM Katowice 2021 is finally here, with the Play-in event kicking off and the Main Event just days away. IEM Katowice 2021 is the first major event in the CS:GO calendar with so many teams involved for several months. Naturally, the best squads in the ESL Pro Tour are awaiting Play-in results to compete on Thursday. However, there are many lineups looking for a shot to make it into the big leagues. Here are the stories to watch:

Main Event Narratives

The Main Event of Katowice has brought many good stories over the years. Natus Vincere won 2020’s event, and previously, in 2019, ENCE had their incredible underdog babyface run to the final. Similarly, this year has no shortage of stories. Here are the best:

FaZe Clan’s First Real Test

FaZe Clan has rebuilt their roster once again. Only this time, the roster has Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken and Finn “karrigan” Andersen. The team recently looked solid with nothing to lose at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2021, and that was without karrigan. IEM Katowice is their first real showing, and it is going to be a great gauge to see how they’re performing.

Heroic’s Enigma

Heroic is a team that really grew into their own throughout 2020. The roster eventually peaked at the second half of the year, contending for finals in several events. And in the process, building an actual rivalry with Astralis. The roster did partially fall off in some events, coming 5th-8th at events like the Global Showdown and CS_Summit 7. Katowice is an event that will define Heroic as either a team falling off or still hanging one of the best in the world.

Vitality down to Five

Vitality is a team that has prided itself with its six-man roster, tactical substitutions, and winning events with their gameplay. However, the start of 2021 has not been great. A fine resulting from an accidental restream of an event noticed on broadcast, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut getting his lowest ADR game on record at BLAST Premier Spring 2021, and now the temporary leave of Dan “apEX” Madesclair has got the roster shaken up. Vitality has plenty of prep time, so the opening game for them is one to watch.

Vitality down a player at time their six-man roster was working effectively

Play-In Narratives

The Play-ins is the first leg of the tournament, looking to advance eight teams to the quarter-finals. There are plenty of teams in that pool scrapping it out to make it to the one of CS:GO’s most prestigious events. While there are many decent teams, there are a few high profile stories to watch.

How Will mousesports Fare?

Mousesports has gone from one of the best teams in the world several times to falling off the face of the earth. The roster is currently experiencing the latter. Both the aged veteran Chris “Chris J”de Jong is benched and on loan to FPX and karrigan has returned to FaZe Clan. With the veterans out, there are plenty of young talent fending for themselves. Add in the new IGL and the roster is interesting. The question is has Robin “ropz” Kool graduated from young star to the star player and now veteran of the mousesports roster in time?

Karrigan returns to FaZe after several years of absence

The CIS Beast Awakens

Team Spirit,, and Gambit are three teams on the rise in recent months. The tier 2 Russian squads have made it out of their region and began stomping teams like BIG, mousesports, and others in international online events. Both teams now arrive at their biggest challenge yet: IEM Katowice. Both teams have a darkhorse atmosphere to them, and it will be interesting to follow the growth of new CIS threats in the global scene. There is definitely potential for all these teams to break through the Play-Ins into the Main Event of IEM Katowice 2021.

Can Complexity Keep Up Appearances?

Complexity is a mixed-result team that has been in a weird spot since Owen “oBo” Schlatter left the team. The roster has rebuilt and recently won its group in the BLAST Premier Spring 2021. But now there are many more teams to face off against at of CS:GO’s biggest events. The question does the team have what it takes to keep up its appearances? the Play-Ins will be a perfect benchmark.

Stay tuned to Dartfrog for all the latest news and analysis on CS:GO and follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.  Image via ESL Gaming


Multiple Players Accuse Phoenix1 of Stealing Prize Money

American Valorant team Phoenix1 has been accused of stealing prize money from its former players. Up to an alleged $1300 was reportedly stolen from each player. Allegations first came to light in a TwitLonger posted by Aiden “King” King.

In the post, King alleged that Phoenix1 had not paid him and other players prize money from the Super League Arena tournaments and Knights Gauntlet events. King states that the organization requested money be paid directly to the team, rather than the players. The money was then never distributed to the players.

In his TwitLonger, King went into detail about the steps he’s taken to recover the money. “After a few attempts at messaging a few members of the organization about my situation it seems no conclusion is being reached and I am still without my money as of now, if this changes I will post an update. I wanted to make this statement to bring to light the situation I have experienced. ”

King also shared screenshots from a discord conversation which detailed the fact that Phoenix1 was ceasing operations. Prior to this post all members of the team, some of whom have since alleged various levels of prize money theft, have departed the team.

Further Allegations

After King’s post, another former Phoenix1 player came forward with allegations. Jadin “Menace” Wagner also alleged that up to $1300 had been “scammed” from himself and “all of” his teammates. 

Phoenix1 dropped all of it’s players at the end of January. The announcement stated that the majority of the team had “bought out of their contracts.” It’s unclear whether this is linked to any kind of payments they have or haven’t received.

Confusingly, Phoenix1 is also an organization name which another American esports organization, Sentinels, used prior to rebranding. The two orgs reportedly have no relation. The allegations have stained the otherwise thriving NA Valorant scene.

Phoenix1 today issued a response to the allegations in a follow-up Tweet. “To clarify, the org has paid all players according to their contracts.”

Make sure to follow Dartfrog for all the latest Valorant esports news on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.

Call of Duty

LA Thieves and Atlanta FaZe steal the show at Opening Weekend 2021

The Call of Duty League’s Opening Weekend 2021 marked the beginning of the 2021 season. LA Thieves and Atlanta FaZe are now top of groups A and B after finishing the weekend unbeaten.

Image: Breaking Point

There were plenty of highlights, from upsets to impressive plays, that made it a weekend to remember. Current champions Dallas Empire suffered an unexpected defeat to Minnesota Rokkr whilst Atlanta FaZe took down a menacing OpTic Chicago.

The second weekend is right around the corner where we will get a better idea of what teams are ahead of the pack.

LA Thieves top Group A

Nadeshot’s LA Thieves faced Minnesota Rokkr in their first match of the weekend. They started the series off hot but Rokkr bounced back to level the series at 1-1.

Thieves then took over the series and closed it out 3-1, starting their CDL campaign on a high. They then met Clayster and the New York Subliners on Saturday in what was expected to be an exciting match-up.

The series really had it all with flashy plays being made left, right, and centre. In map one, Thieves’ Kenny found three Subliners players in his line of sight when the scores were tied. He cleaned up all three which turned the odds in LA’s favour as they won the map.
Kenny with the triple!

Search and Destroy often provides the best highlights and that was true of the second map. Kenny pulled off the first 1v3 of the season to win the round. Subliners rookie, Diamondcon, then completed a 1v2 of his own in a thrilling map that was won by Thieves.

Another one!
Not a bad way to start for a rookie

LA closed out the series 3-0 which placed them at the top of Group A.

Atlanta FaZe fight off OpTic

FaZe made light work of the Guerillas in their first match, but the one that had everyone talking was the match of the weekend versus OpTic Chicago.

Chicago were slight favourites heading into the series following Atlanta’s defeat to the Mutineers in the Kickoff Classic.

OpTic was in the driving seat after map one as they closed out the Hardpoint 250-225.
OpTic had the opening map in the battle of the titans

However, Atlanta bounced back with a vengeance and levelled the series with a 6-0 victory in the Search and Destroy. In what was a back and forth series, OpTic won a tightly-contested third map to go 2-1 up but FaZe forced the map five after aBeZy ran rampant in the second Hardpoint.
ooo baby a triple

Atlanta’s aBeZy took over the fifth map and guided his team to an enthralling series victory that topped off a great weekend of matches.

What was your favourite moment from the Opening Weekend 2021?

Let us know!

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BLAST Premier Spring 2021 Groups: Five things we learnt

The BLAST Premier Spring 2021 is over and done, with the three groups confirming the winners and Spring playoffs attendees. The event was one of the calendars first crack at the top level of CS:GO since the winter player break concluded. It is safe to say we learned a lot from the event, so let’s take a look.

Na’Vi isn’t a fluke

Natus Vincere is no fluke. The roster has struggled for the most part in the online era, but it appears to have found its footing. The recent success of the roster is a testament to this. They recently won the BLAST Premier Global Finals 2020 in January after an under bracket run.

Natus Vincere performed well once again at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals Group C, taking the group with teams like MiBR, FaZe Clan, and Team Liquid. Overall, NaVi was left unchallenged for the most part, dropping Train to the new MiBR and Nuke to FaZe Clan. Natus Vincere are keeping up appearances as one of the better teams in the world right now.

Natus Vincere take the crown of Group C in the BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2021

FaZe Clan are back

FaZe Clan has had quite the turbulent year in 2020. The team lost star player turned IGL in Nikola “NiKo” Kovač when he moved to G2 Esports. They then brought in Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye, who lasted a few months before going back to the bench. Now they have Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, and a returning Finn “karrigan” Andersen as the IGL as of February 15th.

The thing is, FaZe Clan did not compete with their actual roster to get second place at the BLAST Premier Sping 2020 Groups. The full roster is only debuting at IEM Katowice 2021. The effect we saw a strong FaZe Clan already, with the likes of Twistzz looking like 2019 Twistzz, and Nuke already being one of their better maps is incredible. The team has a good shot at challenging the top teams this year as they have a great performance on one of metas most popular maps.

Twistzz with the incredible performance. FaZe Clan is really promising.

Astralis’ Collapse

Astralis is one of those teams that when it is on top, it is easy to see why. But when the same team isn’t performing, it is quite hard to understand why. Astralis at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2021 has a bad time, The team unconventionally lost to NiP in the opening round and then bombed out in the Lower Bracket to BIG. Both series ended 0-2 to the other team, losing maps in a rather close finish.

The other thing to note is that Astralis have the worst stat on pistol rounds in the BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2021. The team lost 6 of 24 pistol rounds at one point. Pistol rounds typically grant two free rounds every half, which actually could have been the deal-breaker Astralis’ 16-13 defeats to NiP. Perhaps it was some returning player break jitters. Either way, this is not the start Astralis was hoping for.

Pimp with the crucial details breaking down Astralis’ shocking exit in Group A

G2 Esports honeymoon is over

G2 Esports had a troublesome online era, and it appears it is only getting worse. The roster decided to bring in Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač’s cousin, NiKo to the team. NiKo immediately embedded into the roster, fragging out along the way. But now, G2 Esports only reliable player is NiKo, most of the players have fallen off, and it is showing.

G2 esports is back dropping out of events they should be going higher in. Players like Nemanja “nexa” Isaković are the ones keeping G2 in the game with his above-average performance on Vertigo against EG. Shockingly, EG managed to take consecutive rounds on the T side of Nuke, which is unprecedented on a popular map in CS:GO. Perhaps it is all because of the playerbreak that traditionally puts teams back a month or so. Only time will tell if this project is doomed from the start.

G2 collapsing on one of CS:GO’s most competitive maps

Patience pays off for the Juggernaut

Complexity’s juggernaut had its legs give out under it in late 2020. Its young star Owen “oBo” Schlatter left the team due after being trapped in covid stricken Europe. He departed the team, leaving Complexity in a tough spot. After months of subs and bringing in Justin “jks” Savage after 100 Thieves disbanded, the team has finally got back on its feet.

The narrative here is that Complexity hasn’t looked too bright since jks joined the team in 2020. But now the time off and more time embedding into juggernaut culture has them winning games. Complexity is on the right path and this confidence boost from the is going to be a nice injection into the five gods of CS:GO.

Complexity back in the game with a well-needed win

Stay tuned to Dartfrog for all the latest news and analysis on CS:GO and follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.  Image via BLAST.


IEM Katowice 2021 talent line-up announced, GeT RiGhT on Analyst Desk

ESL Gaming has announced the IEM Katowice 2021 talent line-up for its CS:GO event. The tournament is getting plenty of CS:GO’s biggest talent to cast, analyse and host the event, alongside a few notable figures added into the fray.

IEM Katowice 2021 talent line-up

The usual CS:GO talent pool is back for the IEM Katowice 2021 event. The talent list features the big names we see across several ESL Gaming CS:GO events. Furthermore, a few rising star talent members are part of the main line-up, with a few faces we know and love acting as analysts.

  • Tres “stunna” Saranthus – Desk Host
  • Janko “YNk” Paunović – Analyst
  • Aleksandar “kassad” Trifunović – Analyst
  • Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund – Analyst
  • Alex “Machine” Richardson  – Caster
  • Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill  – Caster
  • Harry “JustHarry” Russell – Caster
  • Hugo “Hugo” Bryon – Caster
  • Frankie “Frankie” Ward – Interviewer

Most of the names on the list are the usual CS:GO talent we see during events. However, the interesting part is the promotion of caster duo, Harry and Hugo, alongside the masterminds of CS:GO, YNK, Kassad, and GeT Right.

The other talent taking part for the alternate streams are

  • Mike “DarfMike” Winnick – Caster
  • Joshua “Dweg” Nathan – Caster
  • Jamie “TheEternalJay” Martin – Caster
  • Dean “Dean” Brown
The full talent list across every stream of the event.

The return of the old guard

Some of the old guard of CS:GO is back at Katowice 2021, only this time they are the three broadcast analysts. GeT Right, YNK, and Kassad feature on the analyst’s desk, with all three very recently announcing changes to their careers. GeT Right announced he was stepping down from competitive play in January 2021. YNK and Kassad, on the other hand, both left their recent projects as coaches on FaZe Clan and Cloud 9 respectively.

The trio on the analyst desk is something that is going to want fans to tune into and listen to their post-game commentary. IEM Katowice 2021 kicks off on February 16th- through to the 28th with the most well rounded CS:GO teams throughout 2020 in attendance. This year is going to be big, even with the event taking place online yet again.

Stay tuned to Dartfrog for all the latest news and analysis on CS:GO and follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.  Image via ESL Gaming.

Call of Duty

Atlanta FaZe vs OpTic Chicago: Game to watch at CDL Opening Weekend

The Call of Duty League is back with a bang as esports giants Atlanta FaZe and OpTic Chicago collide at the Opening Weekend.

The inaugural season of the Call of Duty League saw a shift to online gameplay and Dallas Empire crowned champions.

This year will continue in an online format for the foreseeable future meaning fans will have to wait that bit longer to attend live events.

All 12 teams took part in showcase matches at the Kickoff Classic last month where we saw a glimpse of how teams are performing ahead of the 2021 season.

Now we look forward to the Opening Weekend hosted by Atlanta FaZe which kicks off on February 11.

There are some exciting match-ups across the weekend but the one that has everyone talking is the final series of the weekend – Atlanta FaZe vs OpTic Chicago.

A new rivalry – Atlanta vs Chicago

OpTic and FaZe are among the organisations that come to mind when talking about competitive Call of Duty.

Both have deep roots in Call of Duty and a subtle rivalry between the two has formed through the years.

With Atlanta FaZe and OpTic Chicago looking like the teams to beat this season, this rivalry has the potential to intensify as the year progresses.

The young FaZe squad of Simp, aBeZy, Cellium and Arcitys is a dangerous team on paper.

However, they suffered an unexpected 3-2 defeat to the Mutineers at the Kickoff Classic.

Although this was only a showcase match, there were still thousands of fans watching the live broadcast and Atlanta’s performance was below par.

The T2P duo, Scump and Formal, are looking better than ever in pre-season scrims. The pair also stole the show at the Kickoff Classic where OpTic took down LA Thieves 3-0.

Formal suffered from internet issues last season as he was based in California. However, this year he moved to Texas with the rest of his team and looks like a whole new beast.

Heading into the Opening Weekend, it would seem OpTic have the slight upper hand over FaZe.

Who do you think will win the main event this weekend? Will T2P takeover? Or will Simp steal the show?

Let us know! Follow Dartfrog for all the latest Call of Duty news and analysis on our TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Twitch.