A big competitive Counter-Strike year had just started in London – the spring season of BLAST Premier begun. BLAST Premier replaced the BLAST Pro Series and covers an entire calendar year, including two seasons of multiple stages.
The first, Spring season, consists of 12 invited teams and 2 stages, and we are looking forward to seeing what the professionals will show us in the new year on the updated maps (we are talking about Train, Dust2, and Mirage).
Let’s take a look at groups B and C and, relying on HLTV statistics and the results of past tournaments, we will identify the favorite and outsider in each of them.
What doubts can there be about who is group B’s favorite? The best team in the world had come to BLAST Premier not to start their year with defeats. A strong team game, a good tactical base and beautiful work in pairs and rotations – Astralis just like a machine.
In the first match, Complexity may surprise Astralis, but it’s best of 3, not best of 1, which reduces the chances of the Americans winning the match to almost zero.
Of course, Astralis sometimes shows weakness and comes less motivated to the tournament, but the spring season of BLAST Premier is not the case.
Outsider: Natus Vincere
“But what about Complexity?!” – that’s what would you ask firstly. It’s simple: this is the first tournaments (including ICE Challenge) for Natus Vincere in the renewed roster. Na`Vi don’t tend to adapt quickly to changes (and the last update touched three maps that Natus Vincere consistently play). In addition, B1ad3’s players are probably gonna change ingame positions – Perfecto came as a rifler, and s1mple returns to the role of a sniper.
Also, in matches against Vitality, s1mple usually performs poorly. In General, in the lower bracket, we can safely expect a match between Na’Vi and Complexity, and the American powerhouse is not as weak as it seems. The mix grasps changes as fast as possible, relying on the individual game and also they have a strong ingame leader. No one will easily pass those guys.
Favorite: Evil Geniuses
Group C is the most equalized of all. It’s hard to single out favorites and outsiders, but we will choose Evil Geniuses as first. The guys are definitely good. After EG gained stability and adjusted to the meta on the main maps, they gained a foothold on the tier-1 level.
EG is not only successful as a team but also works well in pairs. Aggressive lurkers’ playstyle who easily catch rotations only adds value to the team.
The first match of the Evil Geniuses will be against fresh OG, but we will talk about them below.
Yes, OG is an outsider of group C. Yes, the line-up consisting stars. Yes, the guys know how to shoot, they have good aim and ingame feel of the round.
But as a team, OG is still very young. Europeans have a great potential, but it takes time to discover it.
In addition, OG only recently started playing with the coach and a couple of first tournaments for them (The Summit should not be taken seriously), rather, a test of strength.