Movistar Riders have completed the team list for the IEM Katowice 2021 Play-In stage, prevailing 2-0 over Endpoint in the grand final of ESL European Championship Winter. The team utilised Owen “smooya” Butterfield as a stand-in, with the British player being rumoured to be on the organisation’s shortlist to replace Sebastian “larsen” Larsen.
Strong performances from Alejandro “mopoz” Fernández-Quejo Cano and Alejandro “alex” Masanet were key in Movistar Riders starting the grand final off on the right foot, with the Spanish duo helping drive home an 11-4 scoreline on the T side of Overpass before closing out the map in fast fashion in the second half, claiming a 16-10 victory.
Endpoint‘s pick of Vertigo began in similar fashion as Movistar Riders held a dominant 10-2 lead on the defense, although Joey “CRUC1AL” Steusel and company managed to secure the final three rounds of the first half to close the gap to 10-5 by the break.
The map seemed set for a swift conclusion as Lucas “steel” Lopes and smooya combined to extend Movistar Riders‘ lead to 13-5, but Endpoint ordered a stay of execution as they won eight rounds in a row to tie up the scoreline; however, a complete comeback was not to be as multi-kill rounds from the aforementioned pair ensured victory for the Madrid-based organisation, edging out a 16-13 victory to take the series.
The IEM Katowice Play-In stage is set to run from February 16-17 in Poland and will offer eight spots in the main tournament. Both stages will be held as in-person competitions at an undisclosed location in Europe, provided that the coronavirus pandemic does not represent “a major barrier to the safety of our talent, players and staff”, according to ESL.
The $1 million tournament would mark the first major international LAN since its predecessor in 2020, when the majority of tournaments moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The complete team list for the IEM Katowice 2021 Play-In looks as follows: