Team Spirit put a Donk on it to win IEM Katowice 2024, answer our questions in the press conference

Team Spirit and Donk win IEM Katowice 2024

IEM Katowice 2024 coverage powered by Predator Gaming

Team Spirit smashed Faze Clan 3-0 in the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice 2024 Counter-Strike grand final this weekend, with Danil ‘Donk’ Kryshkovets emerging as a new rising star.

Their 17-year-old Russian rifler made a real name for himself in the tournament, and shone in the Spodek Arena.

As the old song by The Blackout Crew goes, Team Spirit well and truly ‘Put a Donk on it’. Just look at his stats:

Team Spirit’s dominance in the CS2 grand finals saw an epic display of the young team of prodigies as they took down the veterans and one of the favourites to win the competition, Faze Clan.

Ranked #19 in the ESL World Ranking, Team Spirit beat the #1 ranked FaZe Clan in a decisive victory. Making his tier 1 competition debut, teen superstar Donk took fans’ breath away with a stunning individual performance, earning himself the ESL Pro Tour DHL MVP.

Donk played alongside Chopper, Magixx, Zont1x and Sh1ro, while Faze consisted of Broky, Karrigan, Ropz, Frozen and Faze Rain, who spoke to us about his win over G2 and the latest CS2 update.

GGBET MPU blast gif - June July 2024

The first game of the day saw an even 6-6 score at half-time before Team Spirit managed to pull ahead and secure a 13-9 victory over Faze.

The second game was closer, with Faze narrowly missing out on a win and the game ending in a 13-11 victory for Team Spirit.

The third and final game, however, saw Team Spirit dominate, winning round after round and concluding the match with a 13-3 score.

With their win, Team Spirit will take home $400,000 of the $1m total prize pool, while also securing their spot in the IEM Cologne 2024 Group Stage and entering the race to secure the Intel Grand Slam V.

The grand final followed impressive performances in the playoffs, where neither Faze nor Spirit dropped a map.

The ESL Pro Tour (EPT) for Counter-Strike continues with ESL Challenger League Season 47 commencing online on February 13 and IEM Chengdu 2024 taking place on April 8-14, with the final three days being played out live in Chengdu, China.

The fastest-selling IEM Katowice tournament in history, the event saw a peak viewership of over 972,000 for Counter-Strike 2 and more than 77,000 for StarCraft II. The sold-out Spodek Arena and MCK Auditorium welcomed over 65,000 fans across four days of live StarCraft II competition, and three days of Counter-Strike action, complemented by IEM Expo, where Esports News UK interviewed R8G Esports.

Donk tells Esports News UK on IEM Katowice 2024 win: ‘Tonight I will rest. Tomorrow I will celebrate’

Reece Barrett caught up with Donk for Esports News UK in the post-match press conference.

“I’m very happy,” Donk added in a press release. “We beat Faze Clan 3-0. For me, it’s a really, really big achievement.”

Reece: This question is for Chopper [In-game leader]. You now have two players and a coach on your team who were promoted from the Spirit Academy up to the main Spirit team. Back when your career started, it was very rare for a CS team to have an academy team. How important do you think it is for teams to be able to promote from within and have these academy infrastructures?

Chopper: “There always has to be a system and a hierarchy within a team. I’m very impressed by the organisation and the structure, and hiring the correct people like Overdrive to scout the players that you see right now. I’m also very blessed to work with the best coach in the CIS scene.”

Reece Barrett said of the press conference: “It was horrific from most questions, 95% were directed at Donk who is a shy 17-year-old who doesn’t speak English. There was a translator, but not sure what these guys thought they’d get out of a 17 year old doing a conference for the first time in his life.

“It’s snobby from me to say it, but just a really silly conference, you’re not gonna get a paragraph long answer from a child who hasn’t got a clue what you’re saying. And the translator is never going to get every word right.

“The translator – who wasn’t a translator by the way, he was the team manager – got corrected by the players on a few occasions. Not his fault at all, just how it is when you’re not a qualified translator!”

Donk of course spoke on the stage after the win:

UK CS fans celebrate at IEM Katowice 2024 watch party

While Team Spirit were celebrating in Poland, UK CS and esports fans gathered at Platform gaming bar in Canary Wharf, London, to witness a watch party organised by Esports News UK and Predator Gaming.

Around 80 guests showed up to watch the grand final on the new Faceit Watch streaming platform, check out the latest Predator Gaming PCs and hardware, and grab some drinks and pizzas.

Guests included Ne0kai, James Bardolph, zipeL, oTYL3R, Westie, Stodeh, Trav, Tactical Brit, Jack Freeman, Nathan Edmonds, Jordan Bedford, Michael Moriarty, Laura Tomlin, Fozzii and many more.

We’ll be back with a full photo gallery and video from the night, courtesy of Liam Kew, soon.

Serral wins StarCraft II final at IEM Katowice 2024

Basilisk’s Joona ‘Serral’ Sotala has been crowned champion of the StarCraft II tournament at IEM Katowice 2024, winning $150,000 of the $500,000 total prize pool and an additional $2,500 from Group Stage map wins, ahead of his appearance in the Esports World Cup later this year.

Group stage

The Group Stage ran from February 8 – 10 and saw 24 players split into four groups of six to compete in a Round-Robin format live in front of their fans at the MCK Auditorium.

After two and a half days of fierce battles, HeRoMaRinE (Group A), SHIN (Group B), Serral (Group C), and Dark (Group D) topped their respective groups and secured themselves a direct spot in the quarterfinals.

Surprisingly, reigning World Champion Oliveira and Gamers8 Champion Reynor fell short in the Group Stage and it was Solar, GuMiho (both Group A), Cure, Clem (both Group B), ByuN, SKillous (both Group C), Dark and herO (both Group D) who advanced to the Playoffs, following some close battles that kept the community on the edge of their seat.

Playoffs

With the Group Stage concluded, the second- and third-placed teams of each group continued their fight for victory in the Round of 12, with Clem, Dark, ByuN and Cure coming out on top.

In the quarterfinals, Serral continued his reign without dropping a single map by beating Clem 3-0, while Dark and Maru beat their countrymen SHIN and Byun 3-1 and 3-2 respectively. In the fourth quarterfinal, Cure proved to be dominant over HeRoMaRinE, who, until then, had not yet lost a map in the competition.

The first semifinal was a clash between Zergs as Serral and Dark entered the final part of the competition with Serral taking out Dark 3-1. During the second semifinal it was Maru and Cure’s turn to show who was the strongest Terran, with Maru eventually claiming a 3-0 victory.

“It feels amazing to play in front of the Polish crowd. I think I gave this one my everything, and I didn’t really leave anything in myself. This was my full performance, I don’t think I can do much better.”

Serral

The long-longed-for Grand Final between Maru and Serral promised some spectacular action, yet already early on Maru’s dedication and diligence showed to be no match for Serral’s unparalleled level of gameplay, leading to a 4-0 win on Serral’s behalf.

For their top placements, Maru, Dark, and Cure received a direct invite to the Esports World Cup – the 2023/2024 ESL Pro Tour season’s Championship event – later this year, joining Serral and Clem who secured his spot by winning ESL SC2 Masters 2023 Summer and Winter respectively.

Next up in the ESL Pro Tour for StarCraft II is the ESL SC2 Masters: Spring season concluding with live Finals at DreamHack Dallas in Dallas, Texas, USA, on May 31-June 2.

Further reading: Check out this great blog post by our reporter Reece Barrett – Donk steals headlines and hearts as savage Spirit smash Faze to win IEM Katowice 2024

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