We take a look at how the teams stack up heading into the Global Final of BLAST Premier
We take a look at how the teams stack up heading into the Global Final of BLAST Premier.
Eight of the world’s best teams have qualified for the Global Final through the BLAST circuit of events. In total, $1 million will be up for grabs this week, with the winner taking home $600,000 of the pool.
The tournament will feature a very straight forward format, with a best-of-three, double-elimination bracket. The teams have been seeded based on how they placed at BLAST circuit events over the last season, with Astralis and Vitality getting the top seeds.
The teams and outright odds are as follows:
The first-round matchups are as follows:
BLAST Premier Global Final 2020 kicks off January 19th and runs through January 24th.
Astralis are unsurprisingly coming in as the favourite to win the tournament. The Danes ended 2020 on a high note by winning a stacked IEM Global Challenge, beating Team Liquid with ease in the BO5 final. The likes of Xyp9x and gla1ve are back in the starting lineup, giving us the original five that have been dominant over the last few years. Bubzkji still plays occasionally, stepping in for Xyp9x on Nuke, but other than that there are no surprises. Astralis are set to take on EG in the opening match. This is a matchup that they should win more often than not, but Evil Geniuses will likely be hungry to get their EU journey off to a good start, so an upset isn’t entirely out of the question. If Astralis were to win that match, they will take on the winner of FURIA and G2 - and when you consider that FURIA are playing this event with a stand-in, you would expect to see G2 make it through more often than not. This is an opponent that Astralis have had the upper-hand against historically, but G2 have shown that they are capable of beating them as they did in the group finals of the BLAST Premier Fall Series. While Astralis are deserved favourites to win this event, tournaments just after the break tend to be very unpredictable, and the online factor only further adds to this, making them a less appealing bet at close to even money.
Vitality established themselves as the most consistent team of 2020 with several top placings in the best tournaments that the circuit has to offer. They were the first team to start swapping out players mid-game depending on the map that is being played, with Nivera playing instead of shox and misutaaa on Dust2 and Inferno, respectively. This proved to be incredibly impactful, with Vitality posting a record of 9-1 on Dust2 and 8-2 on Inferno since they started utilizing this strategy. Vitality have been handed a bit of a gift in the opening match, as they take on a Complexity side who are forced to play with a JUGi as a stand-in as poizon is out. If they win that match, they take on the winner between Liquid and NaVi. Interestingly, they have actually beaten NaVi in their last three meetings, so this is clearly an opponent that they match up favourably against. Liquid are a team that they used to struggle a bit against in the past, but it has been a long time since we saw them play Liquid due to the pandemic and a lot of roster moves have happened in that time-span. All in all, Vitality are in a good spot to make another deep run at this event.
For those who did not follow CS closely towards the end of 2020, NaVi have promoted B1T from their academy team and he is being utilized as a sixth player in the same fashion as Nivera on Vitality. Their experiment has not been as fruitful, with a combined record of 3-3 with b1t so far. Although it needs to be said that all three of their losses came against Astralis, which isn’t really something to be ashamed of. As always, NaVi are the type of team that could easily get a good stride of form and power themselves through to a win, but there are some potential landmines for them here. Vitality are a team that they have found it difficult to overcome recently, so in that sense, I would actually have preferred if from a betting stand-point if they were on Astralis’ side of the bracket, as this is an opponent that they have done well against historically.
FURIA have definitely established themselves as one of the world’s best teams over the last year or so, but they face a tough hurdle in this tournament as they will have to play without their latest signing of junior. Instead, they will utilize their sixth player, honda, who has no experience at this sort of level. We have seen crazy things happen in the world of online CS, but I just cannot see FURIA going far here with honda. They take on a very skilled G2 side in the opener, and even if they were to find the upset in that match, Astralis could potentially await in the following match. A lower bracket run seems unlikely, as well. While there is another wounded animal at the event, namely Complexity, they have more decorated and experienced stand-in to work with in the form of JUGi. Even if they would get a dream scenario and beat G2 in the opener and be handed a gift by an EG upset vs. Astralis, the North Americans from EG have actually been a very difficult opponent for FURIA historically, making it impossible for me to ever consider FURIA here.
Complexity haven’t really been able to catch a break over the past few months, with oBo putting the team in a terrible spot by bailing and going back to the US just before the ESL Pro League playoffs and then poizon having to sit out due to surgery. They will be forced to play this event with a stand-in, with Danish AWPer JUGi coming in to replace poizon. JUGi is at least an experienced player at this level, but he has failed to live up to expectations since he broke through onto the scene. Complexity are a team that always come well prepared, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they get a win or two on the board at this event, but Vitality will likely be too tough of an opponent to in the opener.
Team Liquid are set to make their debut with FalleN, who comes in to replace Twistzz, finally giving the team an actual full-time AWPer. FalleN may not be the type of AWPer he once was, but all-in-all, this is a decent move for Liquid. If they ever felt that Stewie2k would be surplus to requirement as the IGL, FalleN is more than capable of filling this role, as well. I could see Liquid doing some damage at this event and they definitely have enough quality to upset some of the better teams in the tournament. However, it is likely too early for them to go all the way.
G2 are probably the most interesting team at this event outside of Astralis and Vitality. They have been handed a bit of a gift with FURIA having to play this event with honda instead of junior, which gives them a great shot at winning the opening match. G2 will definitely have some Vietnam-style flashbacks of losing to teams with stand-ins in the past, but they should get things done against FURIA. This G2 team has looked quite promising with NiKo, and while they have yet to win any silverware, this could be the type of tournament where they make a run. For that reason, I quite like them here at odds of 14.00 to win or 6.00 to make finals.
Evil Geniuses had a rough end to 2020 with many disappointing showings. With that said, the summer period was quite nice for them, winning three top-tier North American tournaments. However, European competition is a completely different ball game, and it is gonna take a lot for them to win a tournament of this calibre. Their roster has remained intact with no changes, unlike some of the other teams who have chosen to shake things up for 2021, so at least we know what we’re gonna get with this team. They are a solid team with a good foundation to work with, and they definitely have more upset potential than a team like FURIA whos odds are actually shorter.
Considering that this is the first big tournament of the year makes upsets quite likely, especially in the opening matches. A team outside of Astralis and Vitality could definitely surprise and do well here, and the team that I like the most is G2.