We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

ESL One Katowice qualifier begins Saturday; expect US Counter-Strike heavyweights

ESL One Katowice

This weekend, bombs will be planted and men shot – not in the name of idealism or national security, but for sport.

The Electronic Sports League is one of the oldest names in the business, and has been running Counter-Strike tournaments for a decade. Their dedication has paid off: these days CS isn’t a niche concern, but by some way the second-biggest game on Steam. At last year’s ESL One Cologne, 856 years of Counter-Strike was watched by nearly half a million people.

Some of that game’s finest players will be jetting to Katowice at the weekend to scrap over a $250,000 prize pool.

16 teams will be clashing at the Polish city’s Angelo Hotel, via LAN and hopefully not in the lobby, on February the 14th and 15th.

The roster is made up of seven invitees – big names like Team Liquid, Dignitas and Cloud 9 – and nine teams who’ve already pushed their way through regional qualifiers. The EU leg of the event has been particularly crowded, with over 400 teams competing.

The invitees:

  • Cloud 9
  • Team Liquid
  • Vox Eminor
  • Team Dignitas
  • Titan
  • ex-ESC Gaming
  • KaBuM.TD

The qualified teams:

  • mousesports
  • Copenhagen Wolves
  • Flipsid3 Tactics
  • LGB eSports
  • 3DMAX
  • Counter Logic Gaming
  • se mi puta (Temporary)

ESL point out that the presence of both Cloud 9 and Liquid provides “a chance of bringing the US flag back to a CS:GO major”, after Cloud 9 and iBUYPOWER dropped out during DreamHack Winter’s group stages. Which shooters will you be rooting for?