A look back at the action from BLAST Premier's latest qualifiers.
The CSGO scene has been simmering for a few days. It’s the calm before the storm, and the much-anticipated BLAST Premier: Fall Showdown mini-tournaments for Europe and America have recently come to an end. The winners of the events will fill up the last two slots of BLAST Fall Finals 2022, which is scheduled to begin on 23 November and will be one of the final events that propel players into the BLAST World Final 2022 in December.
Both Showdowns were held online, with eight teams competing in each, but one of the entrants in the European iteration was Asian challenger TYLOO. At the same time, the American tournament had Australian outfit VERTEX Esports Club. Both qualifying teams will no doubt create a splash at the Fall Finals, so let’s take a look at how they did in the tournament.
Apart from the aforementioned Chinese side TYLOO, the seven other teams in the European contest were embattled Danish giants Astralis, current world number 1 Team Vitality, Rising Danish outfit ECSTATIC, out-of-form German side BIG, mixed Euro squad Sangal Esports, Turkish team Eternal Fire, and Heroic, who are arguably the best team from Denmark right now.
In the first match, Vitality justified their top spot in the rankings with a clean 2-0 against TYLOO, with Emil “Magisk” Reif leading the charts on both Inferno and Dust 2 with some exemplary play as Vitality won 16-12 and 16-10 respectively.
Astralis vs Eternal Fire was much closer than the Danish side would have liked, but they have been losing against Tier 2 and 3 teams as of late, so they’ll take what they can get. They won Dust 2 by the barest of margins, with captain Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander stepping up for his side. Overpass was a complete İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş show, with the Turkish legend carrying his team with 32 kills as they won 16-11. Nuke was a slugfest with two Overtimes, with the Danish side winning 22-20 thanks to a Benjamin “blameF” Bremer carry.
BIG started off their clash with Sangal in style, winning Dust 2 16-11 courtesy of a masterclass from Florian ”syrsoN” Rische. However, Sangal’s Swedish talent Love “phzy” Smidebrant helped them overcome the odds for a comprehensive 16-9 win on Inferno, before syrsoN’s efforts were thwarted by a solid team performance from Sangal as they won Vertigo 19-16.
ECSTATIC gave Heroic a run for their money that went all 30 rounds on Vertigo, with René “TeSeS” Madsen barely managing to take the latter across. Inferno was a much simpler 16-9 triumph for Heroic, with Martin “stavn” Lund and Casper “cadiaN” Møller both in deadly touch.
Astralis shocked many a CSGO fan as they took out Vitality 2-1. At the start, Nuke was business as usual for Vitality as they took down the four-time Major champions 16-12 with Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut leading the way. Things quickly turned sour for the French outfit as the Danes crushed them 16-9 on Dust 2 and 16-8 on Inferno, with Asger “farlig” Jensen imperious in the first and blameF lethal in the second with a ridiculous HLTV rating of 2.11.
Heroic vs Sangal saw identical 16-11 wins for the Danish side, with cadiaN and TeSeS acing the stats on Vertigo and Inferno, respectively.
The Danish Derby began with Ancient, and the map was arguably the tournament's most exciting game. Heroic managed to win by a whisker in the second Overtime, with the exploits of TeSeS and cadiaN once again giving them the edge for a 22-20 triumph.
Nuke was much easier for Heroic as the same two players took charge of the game to propel their side to a comfortable 16-10 victory, and provide them with a comfortable passage into the Fall Finals.
The American Showdown consisted of usual suspects Complexity Gaming and Evil Geniuses, with Brazilian squads 00 Nation, Sharks Esports, Fluxo, MIBR and LOS + oNe representing South America and the aforementioned VERTEX being the only Oceania team involved.
Complexity’s apparent newfound form was debunked by Sharks Esports, who ruled over the American side 16-9 on Dust 2 before edging them out by the barest of margins on Nuke. Richard “chay” Yoshita owned the first match, but in the second, it was a strong overall performance from the Brazilians that allowed them to outdo the superior effort of Håkon ”hallzerk” Fjærli.
Matches between Brazilian sides are always entertaining, and MIBR’s 2-1 win over LOS + oNe was no different. Alencar “trk” Rossato helped his side to a 16-10 victory on Overpass, but MIBR’s Matheus “Tuurtle” Anhaia was the best on the server for their 16-13 Nuke win. Dust 2 saw Jhonatan “JOTA” Willian take over completely as he boosted his team to a 16-11 victory with an HLTV rating of 1.88.
Fluxo have been creating quite a buzz in the west, and they showed why with a 19-17 win over EG on Dust2 courtesy of Lucas “Lucaozy” Neves. EG came back to win Mirage 16-11 with a great run from Timothy “autimatic” Ta, but Fluxo took the series with a dominating 16-8 win on Nuke powered by Vinicius “vsm” Moreira.
VERTEX undoubtedly played well, but they fell short against the might of 00 Nation, who won 16-11 on Nuke and 16-12 on Mirage. Marcelo “coldzera” David rolled back the years in the first game, while Argentine talent Santino “try” Rigal top fragged on the latter.
Sharks were harpooned on Vertigo as Raphael “exit” Lacerda topped the charts in a 16-8 win for MIBR. The next map, Nuke, went to the same team 16-13 as JOTA rocked the charts.
Comfortable 16-11 and 16-10 wins on Ancient and Mirage were in order as Fluxo outmatched their regional rivals. Once again, it was vsm who was ahead of the curve in the first game, with João “felps” Vasconcellos outdoing the rest in the second.
Lucaozy and vsm were once again dominant as Fluxo took Dust 2 16-12 with relative ease. MIBR had a relatively weak CT half, and couldn’t make up for it on the flip side.
However, MIBR responded viciously with a 16-5 thumping on Vertigo, where Henrique “HEN1” Teles was nigh-untouchable. They showed what they’re capable of with a brilliant performance on the difficult T-side of the controversial map.
In the third map, Fluxo and Lucaozy showed great resolve to bounce back with a 16-13 win on Nuke to steal the series. MIBR had a decent turn on the CT side, but their T-side efforts were lackluster at best and couldn’t cover the deficit.
Analysis of Qualified Teams
Heroic looked rock-solid and didn’t drop a single map on their way to qualification, but the fact that Rasmus “sjuush” Beck isn’t performing as he usually does might become an issue down the line. To their credit, however, both cadiaN and TeSeS are in terrific touch. That being said, they will have to work on their T-side on Ancient and their CT-side on Vertigo.
Lucaozy is the shining beacon of Fluxo, with vsm and felps not far behind. The team will want to either improve on or avoid Vertigo, though, as they were absolutely awful there. The American Showdown was far from easy and they did drop two maps, but they’re still a relatively young team with only 76 official matches under their belt, so they have a lot of chemistry to build and strats to finalize.
Stay tuned to us for our predictions for the Rio Major.