BLAST Spring Showdown 2021 - Preview
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BLAST Spring Showdown 2021 - Preview

We break down the form of the teams heading into the BLAST Spring Showdown

Valle
Freelance Esports Writer
12th Apr, 21·☕️ 7 min read
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We break down the form of the teams heading into the BLAST Spring Showdown

Competition Information

BLAST Spring Showdown is a last chance qualifier of sorts for the Spring Finals starting June 15. Sixteen teams will feature at this event. Three have received direct invites, six have qualified through the Spring Group Stage event and the rest have qualified through different regional events. The skill disparity at this event is substantial with teams like NASR and 9z being massive underdogs, making the lower side of the bracket a lot weaker.

The format for this event is very simple. The teams will play through a best-of-three, single-elimination bracket. The top two teams will qualify for the spring finals.

Upper side of the bracket

  • Astralis (1.29) vs. OG (3.50)
  • G2 (1.24) vs. Endpoint (3.95)
  • Spirit (1.13) vs. Extra Salt (5.40)
  • Liquid (1.29) vs. Dignitas (3.50)

Lower side of the bracket

  • Vitality (1.02) vs. 9z (12.00)
  • Heroic (1.16) vs. SAW (4.80)
  • FURIA (1.23) vs. MIBR (3.85)
  • Gambit (1.02) vs. NASR (12.00)

BLAST Spring Showdown starts April 13th and runs through April 18th.

The Current Season

Gambit

Gambit
Record: 55 / 0 / 22
Most Played Map: Inferno (62.5%)
Best Map: Vertigo (92.3%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (58.3%)

Gambit will look to get back on track after falling to Heroic in the grand finals of ESL Pro League, a match which took eight (!) hours to finish. Gambit lost in perhaps the most humiliating way possible, losing a 1on4 to cadiaN on a partial eco round, with cadiaN knifing sh1ro, stealing his AWP and clutching out the round with three AWP kills. A tough pill to swallow for the CIS side, but they have luckily received a favourable draw at this event. In the opener, they will take on NASR, who are the weakest team at the event alongside 9z. FURIA or MIBR await in the following round, two teams that they defeated in the ESL Pro League. Assuming that they win that match, either Vitality or Heroic likely await in the last match. Vitality haven’t looked too hot recently, so it is likely that we see a runback from ESL Pro League with Heroic vs. Gambit to decide who moves on to the Spring Finals. 

FURIA

FURIA
Record: 17 / 0 / 12
Most Played Map: Mirage (50.0%)
Best Map: Inferno (100.0%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (0.0%)

FURIA have a few tournaments under their belt with Junior now and I think they have done pretty well for themselves, all things considered. Junior isn’t posting good numbers at all on the AWP, but they have still pulled off some crazy wins, including a 2–0 stomp against Astralis. With that said, I just don’t see how it’s sustainable to have your main AWPer be the worst performer in the current meta. For them to qualify from this bracket, Junior and his team will probably have to overcome some of the hottest AWPers in the game right now, namely sh1ro, ZywOo and/or cadiaN, who will be feeling pretty good about himself after pulling off one of the best plays of all time in the grand final of ESL Pro League. 

G2

G2
Record: 10 / 0 / 7
Most Played Map: Mirage (60.0%)
Best Map: Inferno (100.0%)
Worst Map: Train (0.0%)

I am still not sure how to feel about this team. So far, the ‘NiKo on the AWP experiment’ hasn’t quite worked out for G2, but we haven’t seen enough of him to judge how this will work out long-term. It is promising that his cousin huNter- has been having some excellent performances recently, but they are going to need better production from the likes of nexa if they want to make it through. They take on Endpoint in the opening match, a team that pulled off some upsets in ESL Pro League. These lower-ranked European sides like Endpoint and SAW are far better than the South American and Middle Eastern teams in this competition, so G2 should not take them lightly.

Heroic

Heroic
Record: 21 / 0 / 5
Most Played Map: Mirage (80.0%)
Best Map: Nuke (100.0%)
Worst Map: Train (60.0%)

Heroic will be supremely confident after winning ESL Pro League in style. Confidence is key in CS:GO, but it has to be pretty difficult to reset and focus on the task at hand just days after winning such a tournament. Luckily they have received a pretty favourable matchup against SAW in the opening match. The Portuguese team isn’t exactly a pushover, but this is certainly an opponent that they will be expected to beat. As mentioned in the Gambit section, there is definitely a world where we could see a repeat from ESL Pro League with Heroic taking on Gambit in the last match of the bracket. 

Team Liquid

Team Liquid
Record: 29 / 0 / 19
Most Played Map: Nuke (50.0%)
Best Map: Mirage (80.0%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (37.5%)

Liquid, like G2, are in a pretty weird spot right now. They have certainly shown the ability to beat some of the best teams in the world since acquiring FalleN, but they haven’t delivered in latter stages of tournaments. EliGE and NAF are putting in convincing performances as usual, and it seems like FalleN has had pretty solid impact as the IGL and AWPer of the team despite posting average numbers overall. Personally, I feel like they need to get either Grim or Stewie2k involved more to make up for the gap left by Twistzz. Grim was an absolute monster for Triumph even against top tier opposition, so I think there is certainly potential for him to do more on this team. If they can unlock him, I think we could see Liquid do great things, but that is a big if. They need to battle through a very tough side of the bracket which includes teams like Astralis, OG, G2 and Spirit if they want to make it through.

Astralis

Astralis
Record: 23 / 0 / 19
Most Played Map: Inferno (50.0%)
Best Map: Nuke (50.0%)
Worst Map: Overpass (33.0%)

Astralis may be ranked #2 in the world at the moment, but we have certainly seen these guys struggle recently. They are still making playoffs in typical Astralis fashion, but teams like FURIA and Gambit have absolutely smashed them recently. This has sparked rumours that a roster move could be in the works for Astralis, but I think they will stay true to the original five for a bit longer. They have actually received quite a tough opening match against an OG side that just made a roster change and could be in a bit of a honeymoon period. While Astralis are the epitome of consistency, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were upset at some point considering their current form and the competition in their side of the bracket. 

Spirit

Spirit
Record: 26 / 0 / 9
Most Played Map: Dust2 (100.0%)
Best Map: Dust2 (100.0%)
Worst Map: Mirage (50.0%)

Spirit have been flying under the radar recently and have been largely overshadowed by their successful CIS counterparts Gambit and Virtus.pro. However, this roster has a ton of potential. mir and degster are a duo that can go up against any team in the world and deliver, chopper and magixx have the raw aim to open up bombsites and sdy is a player who thrives in late game scenarios. This team has the individuals required to do well, but we haven’t seen it materialize yet and I suspect it is in the tactical aspect where they are lacking. They take on Extra Salt in the opener, which will be one of the more interesting opening matches of the tournament since the NA side has shown some good potential of their own.

Betting Tips

The upper bracket is quite competitive, with the weaker teams being from lower tiers in Europe and NA. Extra Salt, Endpoint and SAW are good enough to at least compete with some of these top teams making the handicap lines worth looking at. The same cannot be said for NASR, who should get steam rolled by Gambit. For more betting tips, check our coverage section.