The 2019 Katowice Major is off to a surprising start.
In the opening game of the event, Chinese underdog Vici Gaming stunned Fnatic with a decisive victory on Overpass. The massive upset saw the bottom seed of the Challengers Stage hand a loss to one of the clear favorites.
It was obvious early on that Fnatic was not playing to its peak potential.
Vici turned a successful pistol round into an early 4-0 lead. Though Fnatic got on the scoreboard in the fifth round, it dropped the sixth and found its economy ruined as a result. This opened the door for Vici to press on and amass an 8-1 lead.
Fnatic rallied near the end of the first half by breaking off five straight wins and managed to switch sides at a manageable 9-6 deficit. But another successful pistol round for Vici put Fnatic on its back foot once again and moved the Chinese squad within striking distance of the victory.
Fnatic managed to prolong the game further by winning two rounds, but Vici fired back and closed out the game 16-9.
This is a tough blow for the Swedish team. Entering the event after tendering three-year contract extensions with Jesper "JW" Wecksell and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson, Fnatic seemed poised to start this latest stretch off in style by cruising through the Challengers Stage of the Katowice Major. Taking a clean loss from an unheralded squad like Vici, however, does not bode well for the team’s prospects at this tournament.
That said, the Challengers Stage is far from over. Despite the 0-1 start, Fnatic has ample opportunity to regain its bearings, break off a few wins, and advance to Legends Stage. Meanwhile, Vici Gaming still needs to score two more victories in order to advance to the next phase.