A star-studded field of teams are set to fight it out at the BLAST Spring Finals in Lisbon, Portugal
A grand total of $425,000 and a spot at the World Final will be up for grabs at the coveted BLAST Spring Finals in Lisbon, Portugal.
The field includes major winners FaZe, who will look to bounce back after a lackluster showing at IEM Dallas, as well as several other heavy hitters. Most notably, G2, Natus Vincere, Vitality, and the always-entertaining ENCE are among the star-studded rosters that will showcase their skills at the BLAST Spring Finals this week.
Let’s have a quick look at the format.
The format at this event is pretty straight-forward. Long gone are the days where we saw BO1s at BLAST, with the tournament now featuring BO3s from start to finish.
The teams have been split into two groups and will play through a double-elimination (GSL style) bracket. The final standings will determine the seeding for the playoffs, with the group winners having the advantage of advancing straight to the semi-finals.
The BLAST Premier Spring Finals will be played in Lisbon, Portugal and kicks off June 15th. The event runs through June 19th.
FaZe didn’t have a great time at IEM Dallas following their major win, losing out to both ENCE and Cloud9 to finish the tournament 5th-6th place. Regardless, FaZe have been in stellar form all throughout the year, with wins at IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League on top of their major trophy, so they will still be odds-on favourites to bounce-back at this event.
It is worth noting, however, that there are plenty of landmines for karrigan’s crew. ENCE have been a thorn in their side for most of the year and BIG has made life difficult for them on more than one occasion.
G2 haven’t had the best results after their 2nd place at IEM Katowice in February. Their performance at the major was particularly disappointing, having fallen to FURIA in the final round of the swiss group stage. But it is worth reminding oneself that they have a very young AWPer in m0nesy who will need time.
It is promising that they beat Vitality convincingly in Dallas earlier this month, an opponent that they will face off against once more at this event. They also came awfully close to beating FaZe at IEM Katowice in February, so they definitely have what it takes to deal damage in Group A.
This Vitality team certainly hasn’t been impressive and after a couple of losses in big events, they now risk falling outside the Top 10. As such, one should expect them to come in hungry to prove themselves and gain some all important ranking points. However, both FaZe and G2 have bested them recently, so they will really have to be on their game if they want to make it out of Group A.
The big underdog of this group will be the Brazilians from paiN. We haven’t seen these guys compete in Europe yet and they could get a shock to the system real fast as they take on FaZe in the opener.
Advancing from a group such as this one seems like too tall of an order for paiN, but there could be some betting opportunities on some of the prop markets along the way. Beating FURIA and Liquid to advance to this event is certainly a respectable feat, so we know that they can put up a fight against strong opposition. It is just very questionable if they can beat teams of this caliber in BO3s.
ENCE are coming off a 2nd place finish at IEM Dallas, a tournament that they played with Snax as a stand-in after their star rifler Spinx was ruled out due to Visa issues. Snappi and his men will, of course, be disappointed to have walked away without the W, but they can be very proud of their performance considering the circumstances.
ENCE are getting a lot of love right now, but this is a difficult group for them. They have yet to show that they can beat Natus Vincere, and it’s not like a loss against BIG or OG would be outside of the realms of possibility.
BIG are coming off a 3rd place finish at Pinnacle Cup in Lund, Sweden. They opened strong with wins against MIBR and fnatic, but then fell to two Danish powerhouses in Astralis and Heroic.
However, it needs to be said that they had to play with k1to as a stand-in for those two matches after Krimbo was ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19. Considering that k1to had to fly in on short notice, it is hard to falter them for this performance.
The truth is that they looked pretty decent and faveN has started to put up some solid numbers despite some shaky moments on the AWP on maps like Mirage. A deep run at this event seems unlikely for BIG, but they are an interesting team to keep an eye on in the betting market. On a map like Dust2, they have solid upset potential.
The key thing to note right of the bat with NaVi is that they will be playing this event with somedieyoung instead of Boombl4, who has departed the lineup. This is a player with a very different profile to Boombl4. Throughout his time with Spirit, he was generally a more passive player than Boombl4 has been on NaVi. It also means that electronic will have to call the shots as the IGL of the team for this event.
Interestingly, we did see Natus Vincere with a similar setup at ESL Pro League earlier in the year, where their academy player headtr1ck came in as a stand-in for Boombl4. A similar player profile to sdy. They did not drop a map with that set-up, so there is some proof that they could make it work.
This will be the second tournament for this new OG roster, after adding NEOFRAG and F1KU. They have also been forced to use a stand-in for this event with degster coming in to replace mantuu, who has fallen ill. A very capable stand-in, but this is certainly not optimal for OG.
The firepower on this roster is promising, but it feels like it is too early for them to make a run at this event. Their debut at performance Global Esports Tour in Dubai was not very convincing, and it is hard to expect much from them here with a stand-in. They could make things difficult for teams on maps like Mirage or Dust2 where they could rely on their individuals, but they will struggle on maps that require more synergy and preperation.