The first tier 1 event of 2020 is here. Firstly with Group A made up of Liquid, NiP, FaZe and MiBR
RFRSH listened to your criticisms about BLAST Pro Series, and have come up with a best-of-three format for the BLAST Premier Spring Series to fulfil our Counter-Strike needs. Twelve teams make up three groups played over three weekends, with the top two from each group of four making it through to the Spring Finals, and the bottom two going to the Spring Showdown - giving them another chance at qualifying against the teams who make it through the open qualifiers.
There’s $300,000 on offer for the top six for this event, and $750,000 for the Spring Finals, making this one of the biggest circuits in CSGO. Seeding for the groups was decided by the teams’ themselves, who were each asked to rank how good they thought the teams are - but there are no wasted spots. Complexity are the lowest ranked team, but their new line-up is one that excites many, and is, as of yet, untested.
We have a dedicated hub where you can see the full schedule, results and exclusive interviews from the event here.
FaZe, Liquid, MiBR and NiP - which seems to have a stand-out winner, in the NA side, Liquid. Though the Americans have made a habit out of finishing second in tournaments, this group is a different story. FaZe have been underwhelming despite the roster change involving GuardiaN, MiBR have been underwhelming since their inception and NiP are a new roster - and their last one wasn’t anything special either.
FaZe have something to prove, and they certainly have the talent. NiKo and coldzera is enough firepower to win any game, but not with consistency. NiKo’s in game leading has been questionable at times, but on their day they can beat anyone. Nobody in this group is infallible, and FaZe are always in a weird limbo of rarely being a favourite, but perennially a dangerous underdog. One can argue they’re the second favourite in this group, but NiP are a contender.
The Swedes will be bringing nawwk along with them for his first tournament in pyjamas. He’s replacing the legendary f0rest, which will make NiP extremely interesting to watch, as it’s the first time for years they won’t have the ancient bearded man carrying them. The young roster is a dark horse to actually take this group - nawwk is supremely talented, and twist, REZ, Lekro and Plopski is more than enough firepower. If they can come together in a reasonable way, they’ll be an extremely good team.
Whilst we said Complexity are the lowest ranked team but are exciting, they have next to no chance in Group B. They’ll have to get past a NaVi side with s1mple back on the sniper, Astralis and Vitality. The top three players of 2020 according to HLTV will be fighting for two spots in the BLAST Premier Spring Final, making Group B the group of death.
NaVi will be using Perfecto, after the young Russian transferred from Syman Gaming, and replaced the outbound GuardiaN. Few people are actively excited about the player himself, and more what it means for NaVi. s1mple moving back to the primary AWP role is huge, and Perfecto should at least add a more stable backbone rather than five fraggers.
s1mple will have to be back to his normal self to have a chance against device and ZywOo. The latter took his number one spot from the previous year with a ridiculous year, but the Ukrainian will look to take his revenge. He should have the better team - Vitality, famously, have a weak team around the youngster - but ZywOo was able to put his heavier team on his back last year.
The final group for week three consists of 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses, G2 and OG. On paper, this group is the most clear-cut, but we’ve not seen anywhere near enough of OG to be sure of their level. It’s likely worse than EG and 100T, though, who are both top 10 teams at this moment in time.
G2 sneak in at 10th on the HLTV rankings, but they never seem to quite be able to cut it at the top level. If there is a group they can upset the applecart in, though, it’s this one, as the two best teams in it have consistency issues. 100T have always struggled to maintain a top 5-10 ranking, and have a 2nd and a 7th-8th finish so far under their newest org, while EG go from winning a tournament to not making it out of groups in the next.
The combination of huNter-, AmaNEk and JaCKz gives kennys the much needed frontline of rifling firepower for the famed AWPer to go wild. It could be argued that it’s that AWP power that could give G2 an edge, as kennys is probably better than Gratisfaction, and on his day, he can match CeRq.
OG are a much hyped team whose tactical prowess will have to help them outwit EG and G2, as they likely will not be able to just power through them. The brains of NBK, valde and most importantly Aleksib are key here, as with that much brain power, anybody could be overwhelmed. OG would have to pull off some huge upsets to get out of this group, but it will be interesting to see where they are after a decent length of time together now.
BLAST Premier starts this Friday, with FaZe vs NiP and Liquid vs MiBR in two consecutive best of threes, and we could not be more excited for some top tier Counter-Strike again.
Images via Blast.