This year’s IEM Katowice will be almost unpredictable. Some of the top teams in the world are not attending and many are doubting the ability of those that are. Teams such as SKTelecom T1, Team SoloMid, Qiao Gu Reapers and Fnatic have been showing questionable form. Counter Logic Gaming and Royal Never Give Up have been looking dominant in recent weeks. ESC Ever and Origen have not looked the same ever since their mid laners, Athena and xPeke left.
Despite the roller coaster of events for the 2016 season many of these teams attending will be looking to prove that they are one of the best teams in the world.
- S Tier:
- A Tier: SKTelecom T1 (5-4), Royal Never Give Up (6-2)
- B Tier: Counter Logic Gaming (10-4), Qiao Gu Repears (7-1)
- C Tier: Team SoloMid (8-6), ESC Ever (5-3-1)
- D Tier: Fnatic (8-6), Origen (7-7)
S Tier: Not Available
Unless one of the teams attending this tournament play on a completely different level to how they have performed so far, no teams will be in the S Tier. The only team I consider to be S Tier at the moment is ROX Tigers.
A Tier: SKTelecom T1 | Royal Never Give Up
Despite SK Telecom’s poor form they are still the returning world champions with 4/5 of their roster. They have some of the best players in the world in the form of Faker, Duke, Bengi, Bang and Wolf. This is a team that should always be feared when it comes to international competition, and the SKT T1 that you all know and love will show up to play.
Royal Never Give Up are my personal favourites to win this tournament. After China’s poor showing in the 2015 World Championship, many of these players are looking to prove their doubters that they are a region that should be feared. This is a team head by the 2014 World Championship MVP, Mata and they are looking scary. This is an aggressive team that will put constant pressure on all opposing teams.
B Tier: Counter Logic Gaming | Qiao Gu Reapers
Counter Logic Gaming will be heading into this tournament in hot form after proving that even Immortals can fall. Although I consider CLG to be a B Tier team they are my dark horses of the tournament as they have the potential to upset everyone else. Their only pitfall is Huhi’s and Stixxay’s inexperience in international tournaments and the need for the whole team to be playing at the top of their game
Qiao Gu Reapers like Royal Never Give Up are looking to prove that China is not a region that should be taken lightly. This team looked like they were the strongest in the LPL, however, after their loss to RNG their weaknesses looked to be exploitable. This is a team that relies on their team fighting ability to win games and often falls behind early, despite this they almost always seem to make a comeback. If opposing teams execute the early game correctly and punish their mistakes, Qiao Gu Reapers will not make it far into this tournament.
C Tier: Team SoloMid | ESC Ever
Team SoloMid with their new star-studded roster were meant to be the powerhouses of North America, but it appears that Immortals have taken that spot. Despite having star players in every role they have looked extremely inconsistent this season. As fun as it may be to bash on individual players for their faults, TSM’s problems are not with any individual. The problems TSM face are the same as years past, their cohesion and a lack of identity. If TSM somehow get all their players to mesh, they may have a good run in this tournament.
ESC Ever was a team that everyone was excited for after their KeSPA Cup and IEM Cologne wins. However, since Athena left they have not been the same. They have been somewhat inconsistent in the Korean Challenger scene winning five, drawing three and losing one. This is a team that has not found their ground and is a big wildcard coming into this tournament. Expect the unexpected.
D Tier: Fnatic | Origen
After the depature of Huni and Reignover, as well as YellowStar, Fnatic have been in a season of transition and rebuilding. They have replaced their former players with Gamsu, Spirit and Klaj –none of these players have brought the former magic of their predecessors. This is a team that appears to have no real threat or anything special that differentiates them from their competition.
Origen is in a strange place currently, they have swapped out xPeke for PowerofEvil; in the process, losing a head. The whole team still has great players in every position, they just seem to lack direction. For the time being, do not expect Origen to make it past the group stage, this is a team that are learning how to play without xPeke.