We are rapidly gaining on EMS One, the Counter-Strike tournament hosted in Katowice, Poland - best pronounced as a TV Batman “KATOW!”, followed by a cool-as-you-like “-ice”. It’s especially notable this year, not only because Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player numbers are on the rise, but because its sizeable prize pool has been composed entirely from the contents of the holey pockets of those very same players.
The main event is a couple of weeks away still - but six of its 16 team slots have yet to be filled. That’s what this evening’s European qualifiers are all about.
The first round matches will begin tonight, Tuesday, February 25, at 6pm GMT. 16 teams will fight for those six slots over the next three days of best-of-three matches.
- Virtus.pro (Poland) vs. GreyFace (Sweden
- ALTERNATE (Germany) vs. USSR (Russia)
- 3DMAX (Denmark) vs. oFF Balance Gaming (Sweden)
- Wizards (Spain) vs. Clan-Mystik (France)
- mousesports (Germany) vs. H2k (Norway)
- Reason (Denmark) vs. hudzGs TEAM (UK)
- MYM (Poland) vs. TBA (Sweden)
- partyastronauts (Norway) vs. Natus Vincere (Sweden)
Half of these teams have been sourced from national qualifiers held in the UK, Germany, France, Poland, the Nordic countries and the CIS region; the other half from two open European cups - the second of which was won on Sunday evening.
Links to livestreams, as well as stats and results as they happen, can be found at HLTV.
CS:GO’s August Arms Deal update started a crowdfunding initiative which has since funded two of the largest cash prizes in CS history - including the 2013 DreamHack SteelSeries CS:GO Championship, the final of which drew 145,000 concurrent viewers.
A portion of Valve’s item sales revenue has now wound up in Katowice’s tournament pot. In other words: the same weapon skin purchase and trade infrastructure that has boosted CS:GO’s playerbase is now funding its top pros. How cool is that?