Upsets rose here and there at the opening day of the Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII - Katowice Major 2019: New Challengers Stage. But one thing is remarkable – China is having a hell of a start in the Swiss group stage.
First big news rang when HLTV world rank 35 Vici Gaming stunned global 6th placer Fnatic in an emphatic 16-9 opener win at Overpass. WingHei "Freeman" Cheung and Zhuo "advent" Liang led the way for the Chinese squad who never let the Swedes get a taste of the lead whole match long. Although they fell short in their second round against NRG, the fact that they managed to stage an upset against a team like Fnatic brought electricity across Poland.
Tyloo meanwhile has been a silent force for quite some time. Fans haven’t heard much from the team since shuffling their roster by adding up ex-Flash Gaming members YuLun "Summer" Cai and YuanZhang "Attacker" Sheng.
The former and sole top 10 ranking team from Asia showed flashes of brilliance once again as they lead the New Challengers pack through a 2-0 record against Team Vitality and Cloud9 along with an impressive +21 round differential. The Indonesian and Chinese group are now one win away from the New Legends Stage along with NRG, ENCE Esports and Renegades.
While the Asian delegates are having a good time, woes start to come in for Fnatic.
The celebrated Swedes are now one loss away from elimination as they suffered 2 defeats against Vici and Winstrike. With a -12 round differential, Fnatic now has to rack up three consecutive wins if they wish to proceed at the next round of the Majors.
Meanwhile, Major mainstays G2, Cloud9, Winstrike and Ninjas in Pyjamas share a 1-1 record across the boards.
It is still a bit early to tell who will join the current legends and who will pack up early, but by the looks of it, it seems that fresh names will eventually manage to climb up the ladders at the Katowice Major.