ESL have announced the full team list invited to take part in the IEM Katowice 2022 Play-In. The event will feature 16 teams all eager to earn one of the 8 places available at the main IEM Katowice event, the first large top tier event of the New Year in February.

The announced 16 teams are BIG, Renegades, Entropiq, ENCE, fnatic, FaZe, MOUZ, Extra Salt, MIBR, TYLOO, NIP, Astralis, GODSENT, Copenhagen Flames, OG & Wisla Krakow.

The Play-In takes place on the 15th & 16th February, then the qualified teams will jump straight into the main event the day after, from 17th to 27th February. Waiting for the new qualified teams will be Natus Vincere,, Liquid, Gambit, G2, Heroic, FURIA & Vitality who will all duke it out for a share of the $972,000 prize pool. The most recent 5 winners of IEM Katowice have been 2x Astralis (2017 & 2019), fnatic (2018), Natus Vincere (2020) with Gambit being the most recent winner earlier in 2021. 

Katowice will likely serve as an interesting baptism by fire for teams who picked up differing rosters over the off-period. Currently confirmed changes include Liquid dropping Grim, Stewie2K & FalleN, Vitality will have a new coach after XTQZZZ left, with the player shox also leaving. Meanwhile, likely thought changes include FaZe picking 'ropz' from MOUZ, which will be a huge blow to MOUZ's total firepower, whilst Renegades have parted ways with 'malta' and G2 have also parted ways with their coach 'maLeK'. However for fnatic, who acquired 'smooya' back in October have been reaching highs they'd previously not managed for some time, so will fnatic make an unexpected victory, having previously won in 2015, 2016 & 2018?

However, with COVID still ravaging the world with the new omicron variant, it is up in the air slightly if IEM Katowice will be able to host its usual audience of spectators, or if it will need to occur behind closed days, as has happened recently to many larger events.