The IEM Katowice Major hype train just shifted to a higher gear as the first day of the European and CIS Minor Championships just ended.
Regional favorites Team Spirit and Winstrike conveniently grabbed the first 2 outright semifinal seats at the CIS Minor while Team Vitality and ENCE esports impressed over more notable teams at the European bracket.
The CIS Minor is already shaping up with both Spirit and Winstrike leading the 8 team groups. Spirit went all the way with 2 overtime victories over Nemiga and Syman to claim the first semis spot while Winstrike took a challenge of their own with a 2-1 win over AVANGAR after dismantling Runtime in their opener.
Former Major champions Gambit Esports also found a rough opening as they fell 12:16 against Syman.
Europe meanwhile saw bigger organizations losing their opening matches namely mouseports and Team North who both bowed down to Valience and Windigo respectively. Take note that both teams ended up with unsatisfactory results at the FACEIT Major London last year where mous went home winless at the New Legends Stage while North fell victim to a 2-3 record at the New Challengers Stage.
Instead, the upsets suffered by both mous and North paved way for French squad Team Vitality and Aleksi "allu" Jalli’s ENCE esports to nab top spots for the European Minor.
Only six out of the eight teams for each Minor will advance to their respective playoffs, and with only four spots remaining, expect to see more tense matches across the LAN.
The IEM Katowice CIS and European Minors continue tomorrow in Poland with Elimination Matches between Gambit Esports and Nemiga as well as pro100 versus Runtime for CIS. Europe will be more ecstatic as mouseports and Optic Gaming is set to face for elimination while former Major mainstays North and Space Soldiers have to fight for survival.