IEM Katowice lived up to its reputation as one of the best tournaments of the year as Fnatic and FaZe take it to five maps in a best-of-five finals. Fnatic came in at massive underdogs, despite win against the same opponent in the group-stage. How did the Swedes manage it?
The series began on Cache, which turned out to be a stomp in favour of Faze. The final score was 16-5, and five rounds flatters fnatic which won first pistol. Individual plays from Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács obliterated the Swedish defense, and every clutch after the pistol round ended in the favour of FaZe.
On Inferno, FaZe picked up where they left off on Cache with a strong 8-2 lead on CT side. However, unlike the prior map Fnatic where able to claw back and salvage six rounds on their T side, keeping them in the game. In the second half, FaZe once again took the lead early, but heroics from Robin "flusha" Rönnquist on the B site gave the Swedish team an opening into the game. Afterwards, poor trading from the FaZe players gave Fnatic the edge on the defense, handing the underdog the lead for the first time in the series. At 15-13 Fnatic looked poised to close out the map, but critical shots missed by Jesper "JW" Wecksell in the 30th round gave FaZe an opportunity to force overtime. Overtime was back and forth, and as the pressure mounted both teams ramped up the aggression. In the end double-overtime was required, which Fnatic closed out on the back of a remarkable triple kill on the B site defence by Maikil "Golden" Selim.
Though FaZe were the strong favourite on this map, Overpass was all about Fnatic. Starting out strong, the momentum abruptly shifted when GuardiaN pulled off a 1v5 clutch. On the back of his heroics, FaZe reached a decent 7-8 half on the T side. Despite a comeback in the first half FaZe failed to get a single round in the second, with the Fnatic players stepping up with multi-kills in pivotal rounds, capped of by a quad-kill by Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson to reach match point. Though it was a closer affair than Cache, Fnatic struck back with a dominant win of their own on Overpass.
Despite the impressive performance on Overpass, Fnatic began Mirage with a flat offence. The team created opportunities in the early rounds, but FaZe were able to scrap by enough return kills to come out ahead using their utility in late round situations. Composed play earned the international squad a 8-1 start. A strong B-hit followed by a masterful 1v3 clutch gave Fnatic a chance to salvage the half, but it was stomped out by a full-eco from FaZe, which launched the latter toward an 11-4 half. After losing the second pistol round, things looked grim for Fnatic. Yet after a miraculous pistol win, this time in the Swedes' favour, Fnatic found a way to claw their way back into the game. Despite incredible plays by Lekr0, FaZe manage to close out the map 16-11.
The final map was madness. The map was back and forth as both teams steal rounds from each other. Two very even halves and two very impressives aces by flusha lead into a fitting overtime. In the end, fnatic and flusha proved too much for FaZe too handle, as the latter struggled to find openings in overtime. In the end, after seven hours, five maps and 149 rounds, fnatic did what no one expected, beating FaZe on the fifth map 19-17 to win the IEM Katowice World Championship.