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IEM Katowice 2024: Team Spirit and BASILISK’s Joona “Serral” Sotala BASILISK’s Joona “Serral” Sotala crowned champions

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The Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice 2024 Grand Finals have concluded, with BASILISK’s Joona “Serral” Sotala named the new StarCraft® II Champion and Team Spirit being crowned the Counter-Strike 2 Champions. While BASILISK’s Joona “Serral” Sotala returns for a second time, Team Spirit joins the legendary Hall of Heroes for the first time in history.

Team Spirit’s dominance in the Counter-Strike 2 Grand Finals saw an epic display of the young team of prodigies as they took down the veterans and one of the favorites to win the competition, FaZe Clan. Ranked #19 in the ESL World Ranking, Team Spirit beat the #1 ranked FaZe Clan in a decisive 3-0 victory. Making his tier 1 competition debut, teen superstar Danil “donk” Kryshkovets took fans’ breath away in what many are calling the best individual performance in history.

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.

The return of the IEM Expo gave esports and gaming enthusiasts from Poland and beyond the opportunity to test the latest Intel® powered gaming hardware, get involved in partner activations, try out the newest games, marvel at cosplay costumes, and much more.

Counter-Strike 2

Play-In Stage & Group Stage

The tournament commenced on January 31 with the Play-In Stage, during which 16 teams battled it out for eight of the 16 spots available in the Group Stage. Local heroes ENCE proceeded to the second stage of the tournament, amongst others.

The Group Stage ran from February 3 – 6 and saw teams divided into two groups of eight, where the top two teams from the upper bracket and the top team from the lower bracket advanced to the Playoffs. Group A saw Team Spirit dominate the upper bracket, with FaZe Clan coming in second and Team Falcons emerging victorious in the lower bracket.

In Group B, G2 Esports beat out HEROIC in the lower bracket final to claim their spot in the Playoffs. In the upper bracket, MOUZ and ENCE secured the final two spots, meaning that IEM Katowice 2024 marks the first time in eight years that a majority Polish team has reached the Playoffs.

Playoffs

The final stage of the competition kicked off on Friday, February 9, with a quarterfinal clash between IEM Katowice 2023 Champions, G2 Esports, and IEM Katowice 2022 Champions, FaZe Clan. After many close rounds, the determination and teamwork of FaZe Clan proved to be stronger, leading to a 2-0 win and a spot in the semifinals.

The second quarterfinal was also an emotional rollercoaster for the Polish fans as ENCE faced off against Team Falcons. Despite having the full backing of the arena, it was ultimately Team Falcons who claimed the victory with a narrow win on map 3 and a final score of 2-1.

Saturday, February 10, saw the semifinals take place, with the top two teams from the Group Stage up against the quarterfinal winners. FaZe Clan proved themselves against MOUZ as they secured their spot in the Grand Final with a flawless 2-0 score, and Team Spirit dominated Team Falcons 2-0 to secure the other spot.

Grand Final

Following impressive performances in the Playoffs where neither team dropped a map, FaZe Clan and Team Spirit geared up on Sunday and took the stage for the Grand Final.

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 Clan, in large part thanks to Danil “donk” Kryshkovets’ incredible performance.

The second game was closer, with FaZe Clan 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. Team Spirit were an unstoppable force, claiming the title of Champion with an impressive 3-0 final score in the best-of-5 Grand Final.

“I’m very happy. ” said Dmitriy “sh1ro” Sokolov of Team Spirit. “We beat FaZe Clan 3-0. For me, it’s a really, really big achievement.”

With their win, Team Spirit will take home $400,000 of the $1,000,000 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.

One of the best professional Counter-Strike debuts of all time, Danil “donk” Kryshkovets received a lot of praise from his teammates as well as from the wider esports community. Furthermore, for his achievements, the young Rifler has been awarded the ESL Pro Tour DHL MVP.

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.

For more information and the latest updates about ESL’s Counter-Strike esports ecosystem, head to the official ESL Pro Tour website, and follow ESL CS on X, Instagram, and Facebook.

StarCraft® II

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.

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.

“It feels amazing to play in front of the Polish crowd,” said Joona “Serral” Sotala of BASILISK. “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.”

With his victory, Serral takes home $150,000 of the $500,000 total prize pool, on top of an additional $2,500 awarded to him for map wins in the Group Stage. For their top placementsMaru, 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.

George Miller (Gyorgy Molnar) started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Ancient mysteries await in 3 Oaks Gaming’s 3 Egypt Chests: Hold and Win

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Distributor’s newest release exhibits powerful Progress symbols

3 Oaks Gaming, an established distributor of iGaming content, has gone live with 3 Egypt Chests: Hold and Win, an action-packed adventure showcasing a trio of colourful Progress symbols alongside unique Boosters, paving the way to dig for hidden treasures.

Across 10 paylines, the slot’s biggest prizes lay within the fabled 3 Pots mechanic, with the Progress symbols the key to unlocking the riches on offer in this title.

Once the Hold and Win bonus round is activated, a red, blue or green Progress symbol uncovers one of the three modifiers – Multi Feature, Extra Feature and Double Feature.

Filling the Treasure Chest Meter with red Progress symbols begins the Multi Feature, where random multipliers boost the Bonus symbols, turbocharging the way for enhanced wins, while Blue Progress symbols grant access to the Extra Feature, increasing respins and prolonging the gametime.

The Double Bonus game transports users to an additional board, doubling the prize amount including two Grand Jackpots, worth 10,000x a player’s bet.

Additionally, when a Progress symbol appears alongside a Boost symbol, it collects all visible monetary values, bolstering a player’s winning prize pool.

Yuriy Muratov, Chief Commercial Officer at 3 Oaks Gaming, said: “3 Egypt Chests: Hold and Win is a pulsating journey into ancient Egypt where pharaohs roam and guard the ancient treasure.

“The return of our 3 Pots Mechanic will undoubtedly prove popular once again with users as the trio of captivating Boosters elevates the gameplay and the overall player experience.”

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Stakelogic Live Signs Partnership with betFIRST in Belgium

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Popular Betsson Group brand becomes the latest Belgium operator to host Stakelogic Live’s full suite of games

betFIRST, a leading online casino and sport betting brand in Belgium owned by the Betsson Group, has put pen to paper on a deal with in-demand live casino content provider Stakelogic Live.

Stakelogic Live already has a strong presence in the Belgium market, working with several leading operators. It will now add the hugely popular betfirstcasino.be website to its roster of partners, with the site gaining complete access to its live casino content.

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Stakelogic Live’s catalogue of games includes immersive takes on popular classics such as American Blackjack, Speed Baccarat, and Auto Roulette, as well as a plethora of game-show-style titles, all of which can now be enjoyed in betFIRST s live casino lobby.

There is also the opportunity for players at betfirst.be to experience the exciting Super Wheel prize feature. This innovative prize, when triggered, gives players the chance to spin a giant money wheel, with instant-win prizes and a selection of action-packed up for grabs. 

Neil Tanti, Senior Sales Manager at Stakelogic, said:” betFIRST is an operator with a tremendous reputation and is an excellent partner to work alongside as we continue to cement our position as the leading live-casino content provider in the Belgium market.

As a studio, we go to great lengths to ensure our products are head and shoulders above the competition, priding ourselves on the highly engaging and immersive experiences we are able to offer players. Partnering with us enables betFIRST to stand out in what is a very competitive market. “

Julien Roux, CPO at betFIRST, said: At betFIRST, “We pride ourselves on knowing exactly what our customers want and providing them with it. This is why we have chosen to work with a leading provider like Stakelogic Live.

Live casino is an extremely important vertical for us, and by partnering with Stakelogic Live, we can now add one of the best providers in the business to our lobby, ensuring the best possible experience for our fans. “

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Playson goes on an Arabian adventure with 3 Magic Lamps: Hold and Win

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Hold and Win round enhanced by special lamp modifiers in mystical game

Playson, the fast-growing digital entertainment supplier, is uncovering spellbinding prizes with 3 Magic Lamps: Hold and Win, a slot stacked with unique features including a trio of powerful Bonus rounds.

Set within a world of Arabian luxury and grandeur, this title is elevated by the appearance of three distinctive features that are unlocked by the presence of green, red and blue coins within either the main game or Free Spins round.

The green coin awards the Double Feature, with a prize of up to x50, thanks to a selection of multipliers, whilst the Mystery Feature is granted when red coins are visible, rewarding players with a win of up to x150. If a blue version lands, this uncovers the Collect Feature, gathering the values of all the symbols on show and adding them to the total win.

During the Hold and Win feature, the appearance of Major, Mini or Minor coins the corresponding jackpots of x15, x50 or x150. The Grand Jackpot worth x5,000 is awarded should all 15 cells be filled with symbols.

3 Magic Lamps: Hold and Win’s Free Spins mode is triggered when three Scatter icons grant eight turns, with that number doubled if a trio of Scatters reappear during the round. A Wild symbol can double a win if it appears on a specific payline.

This latest release, with highly-detailed graphics, an upbeat soundtrack and alluring characters follows the success of Playson’s two 3 Pots Riches releases, which have proven the studio’s power to take a well-loved mechanic and add exciting new twists.

Tamas Kusztos, CCO at Playson, said:3 Magic Lamps: Hold and Win is a captivating addition to our portfolio, giving players the chance to meet the Genie and hope he propels them to extravagant riches.

“The creative enhancements to the Bonus round truly boost the overall player experience and we believe that this slot will be a huge success for us, offering differentiation to the market.”

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