FaZe, Astralis, Liquid and NiP will square off in this four-way for $500,000 in the Persian Gulf
FaZe, Astralis, Liquid and NiP will square off in this four-way for $500,000 in the Persian Gulf. Read on as we break down all you need to know about the competition.
After seven tournament circuit stops throughout 2019, four teams have qualified for the Global Final in Riffa, Bahrain.
The standings at the end of the season were as follows:
FaZe clinched the number one spot in the standings with their win at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, which means that they will be going up against NiP in the first-round matchup. Astralis will be taking on their long-time rivals Team Liquid in the second opening match.
The format is double-elimination, and all of the matches are best-of-three. The tournament kicks off December 12 and runs through December 14.
The last time these two sides met was in the finals of BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen where FaZe came out victorious after wins on Dust2 and Nuke. FaZe also won against NiP in the group stage of that tournament in a dominant 16–3 win on Dust2. As such, it is hard to argue against FaZe being favorites here. However, 2.31 isn’t a bad number on a NiP side that has looked a bit better with Plopski and twist. NiP’s perma-ban in the map veto is Vertigo, and it has really hurt them against FaZe as they have ended up on Dust2 in both of their recent matches. If they decide to float Vertigo in the map veto they could easily end up on a more favorable set of maps, as FaZe does not generally play this map either.
Astralis takes on Team Liquid in this classic matchup. The last time these two teams met was at the EPL finals which ended with a 2–1 victory in favor of Astralis. That time, I recommended taking Liquid at +1.5 or Over 2.5 maps as this series has gone to three maps on five out of six occasions (now seven) and this would be my recommendation once more.
All stats are on LAN (2019)
BLAST has been good to FaZe, with wins at both BLAST Pro Series Miami and Copenhagen. Their strength on Dust2 particularly benefitted them at these two tournaments, with dominant wins against the exact three teams that they will be facing up against at the global finals; Astralis, Liquid and NiP. The fact they will be going up against NiP in the first round definitely favors them here, and I actually think that the likes of Astralis and Liquid will give them Dust2 in the map veto if they wish to take it.
Liquid are coming off a 5th-6th finish at the EPL finals after losses to fnatic and Astralis. However, it is worth noting that they were the only team to beat the eventual winners; mousesports. Their match against Astralis was very close, and they will get an immediate rematch over in Bahrain. No matter how you slice it, Liquid will have to beat the Danes if they wish to win this one, unlike FaZe and NiP that could theoretically win the tournament without ever facing off against Astralis.
Astralis are coming off a devastating loss to mousesports in the grand final of ESL Pro League Season 10. The Danes appeared to have the tournament in the bag after getting to 14 rounds on Dust2. However, mousesports made a miraculous comeback from 14–8 down to win the match 16–14. Despite this, they are coming in as big favorites to win this one at odds of 1.80. I think they definitely still deserve to be favorites, but it begs to question how well they will be able to bounce back from a loss like that.
The big underdog of this tournament is the Swedish team NiP. There are rumors that f0rest might be leaving the team in favor of Dignitas, which is a bit of a worrying sign. However, this did not appear to negatively affect the veteran at the ECS finals where he put up big performances. This tournament doesn’t set up great for NiP as they are more of a BO1 team, but they have been fortunate in the sense that they go up against FaZe in the first round. We have seen NiP more than three times this number at previous BLAST tournaments where the format suits them a lot better — so I don’t love them at odds of 8.60. However, they definitely have a decent shot at making finals here because of the draw.
This is a bit of a weird one, as it is a double-elimination bracket with only four teams. I agree with the oddsmakers’ assessment that this is Astralis’ tournament to lose and I would rather bet them here at this number than at 2.2, which is what we saw last week at the ESL Pro League Finals. However, I would not feel great about it since they are coming off a pretty rough loss to mousesports at the EPL Finals.
Even though this is a tournament with only four teams, I think there are better spots to bet underdogs — such as last week where you could take NaVi to win Group A at odds of 9.10 against TYLOO, MIBR and EG, which is a far weaker group of teams than what NiP will have to face here at odds of 8.60.