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.

Dota 2

SoNNeikO & iLTW announce a new Dota 2 team

Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev and Igor “iLTW” Filatov have always been two of the best Dota 2 players in CIS. However, they haven’t had much luck lately, especially SoNNeikO, who was removed from Natus Vincere’s team a few months ago.

Two players have decided they want to play together, announcing a new CIS team. The announcement happened in the middle of the CIS roster shuffle, which was full of crazy changes. Of course, Virtus.Pro’s decision to bench its main team is still the most controversial move, and all their fans are eager to see what will happen next.

The new team

It’s safe to say that this new roster looks strong on paper. In addition to SoNNeikO and iLTW, we will see a few other famous CIS players. Vasily “AfterLife” Shishkin, Alexander “Immersion” Hmelevskoy” and “Egor “Ergon” Kozlo will join forces with the two players mentioned.

Of course, since we’re talking about the CIS scene, we have to mention a small controversy. Virtus.Pro’s General Manager said that iLTW is allegedly still under a contract with VP, according to Despite that, the organization allowed him to play for other teams. However, we don’t know what will happen if iLTW decides to stay with SoNNeikO and co. Needless to say, VP’s manager probably won’t like the decision.

Besides iLTW, there is another contract problem, but this time the person involved is Immersion. According to Natus Vincere, the player is still in contract with them. Nonetheless, Na’Vi decided to basically change its full roster with FlyToMoon, which is why Immersion was benched. We don’t know whether there will be any legal problems for the player, but we hope that both parties sort out their issues soon.

Lastly, let’s not forget AfterLife, a player who was benched from Gambit Esports a few months ago. After his departure, he played for a few other CIS teams – but has decided to give this new roster a chance.

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Dota 2

Artstyle is back with Virtus.Pro

If you are an old-school Dota 2 player, you probably remember Ivan “Artstyle” Antonov. He is one of the oldest and most reputable CIS pro players that used to be the best in the world. Now, after a few months of being inactive, he decided to come back to Virtus.Pro.

Artstyle in VP

After TI 9 came to an end, Virtus.Pro went through many changes. As a result, the team suffered a lot in the first couple of months. However, after they’ve added a few new players, the CIS powerhouse now looks to be stronger than ever.

In their most recent matches, VP has proved that they are one of the leading Dota 2 forces at the moment. They’ve absolutely ripped through the competition in the Parimatch League Season 3. Nonetheless, it seems like they need just a little bit extra in order to go toe to toe with Team Secret and the other European titans.

Some expected to see a roster change, but it turns out that VP decided to bring back Artstyle. The Dota 2 veteran will take over the coaching role, which is extremely important nowadays. In case you’ve forgotten, he used to be the VP’s coach in 2017 and 2018, which were arguably the best years in Virtus.Pro’s history.

As a player, Artstyle took part in numerous teams, including the legendary Natus Vincere squad that won the first-ever T1. However, he hasn’t been an active player for a long time, deciding to focus on coaching instead. Needless to say, he’s pretty good at it, so we can’t wait to see what will happen with VP.

The next challenge ahead of the CIS powerhouse is the OMEGA League: Europe Immortal Division. The group stage of this incredible event will begin in just four days. If you want to learn more about it, feel free to read our preview.

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Dota 2

OMEGA League Europe Immortal Division Overview

We are just a few days away from the beginning of the OMEGA League. The tournament organized by WePlay! and Epic Esports Events will feature the best teams from Europe, CIS, North America, and South America.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the event.


The Immortal division will have a total of twelve teams. Ten of the participants were directly invited, whereas the other two had to go through qualifiers. The total prize pool for the event is $600,000. However, Europe will take “only” $500,000.

The twelve teams will be placed into two groups with six teams each. All the matches there will be Bo3, and the top two teams will advance to the Upper Bracket of the playoffs. The team that finishes third will move to the Lower Bracket of the playoffs.

The fourth and fifth-placed teams will have to fight in the Play-in Stage. Depending on their performance there, they will either end up in the Divine Upper Bracket or Immortal Lower Bracket. Lastly, the team that finishes last in both groups will go to the Upper Bracket of the Divine vision.

As for the playoffs, we will see a classic double-elimination bracket where every single game is Bo3. However, the Grand Final will be a Bo5.


Alongside the top European & CIS teams, the tournament organizers decided to let Evil Geniuses take part as well. Even though they are a North American team, the prize pools for the region aren’t good, which forces the team to compete outside their territory.

Apart from EG, the other team that definitely stands out here is Team Secret. Needless to say, Puppey and his team-mates have proven themselves as the most dominant force in Dota 2. Ever since COVID-19 destroyed the DPC, the European powerhouse won pretty much every event they played in, which is just impressive.

Another name that’s going to be interesting to follow is Alliance. Nikobaby and co. have had a few fantastic months. In fact, if it wasn’t for Team Secret, the TI 3 champions would have won numerous events. Even though they’ve lost almost all of their matches against Secret, Alliance proved that they have what it takes to win against the best teams in the world.

Last, but definitely not least, we have Team Nigma and Virtus.Pro. These two powerhouses have been truly dangerous lately, which is why we believe that they have a solid chance to win, although their journey won’t be easy.

How to watch?

If you want to watch this amazing tournament, you have to go to WePlay!’s Twitch Channel.

Don’t forget to follow DartFrog on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Twitch for the latest Dota 2 news.