How we see the last big CSGO event of the year unfolding at BLAST Premier World Final.
With the year almost at a close, there’s only one big CSGO event left to be played — the BLAST Premier World Final. Thankfully, though, it’s a big one. After a year’s worth of build-up, the 2022 iteration of the tournament will finally begin at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on 14 December, and end on the 18th. With a million-dollar prize pool, this will be no less exciting than the playoffs of a Major.
The participants have been decided over the course of the past year, and every team attending has either performed admirably or won big-money tournaments in that time. There are a couple of underdogs in the mix, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that all of them are, both essentially and effectively, contenders for the title. Here are the eight teams that have made it to the event, followed by how we think they’ll finish.
- Natus Vincere
- FaZe Clan
- Team Vitality
- G2 Esports
- Team Liquid
7-8. G2 Esports
As much as we love Nemanja “HooXi” Kovač, his inclusion in this G2 team just doesn’t seem to be having the kind of impact the organization may have hoped for. Despite having a good brain for CS, he is extremely inconsistent as far as actual in-game performance goes — often bottom-fragging miles behind everyone else. On top of that, Rasmus “huNter-” Nielsen has also been underperforming for a long time now.
The French side are by no means a bad team, but they are certainly guilty of choking at the wrong time. After a string of bad tournaments, it just doesn’t feel like this event will be the dawn of their renaissance — especially not when they’re grouped up with Liquid, FaZe, and Major champions Outsiders. If they do shine, though, you can bet that Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov will be in the thick of it.
Strong showings in BLAST’s Spring and Fall Groups as well as a decent Spring Final has put OG in a position they would most likely not be able to reach right now given their recent form. The team has plenty of raw talent, but that’s pretty much where the buck stops because there’s a long way for them to go as far as becoming a CSGO powerhouse is concerned. They still lack the experience as well as the strengthened mentality and team chemistry that comes with it.
Add to that the fact that they’re in a group with Team Vitality, Natus Vincere, and Heroic, and you’d naturally expect them to be the punching bag of the bunch. That being said, if we do see something special out of them that ousts one of the other teams from the tournament (we’re looking at you, Vitality), it’ll most likely come from Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov and/or Maciej “F1KU” Miklas.
5-6. Team Vitality
It’s hard to believe Vitality won ESL Pro League 16 just a few months ago, because since then they’ve had one bad result after another. It might have been just a dip in form and they might come back strong at this tournament to prove us wrong, but it just feels like whatever energy was pumped into the team with the addition of Lotan “Spinx” Giladi has since sapped away, and they are left with a dysfunctional squad.
After losing out to Astralis in the European edition of BLAST Premier Fall Showdown, Vitality then had a poor showing at the Intel Extreme Masters Rio Major as they crashed out 1-3 in the Legends Stage after scraping their way through the previous round. It wasn’t the fact that they got knocked out, but the fashion in which they did that spurs us on to make this prediction. Nevertheless, if Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and Emil “Magisk” Reif step up, anything’s possible.
5-6. Natus Vincere
It would be fair to say that Na’ Vi are currently in a transition phase. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev isn’t as imperious as he was between late 2021 and early 2022, replacing their former in-game leader and Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev didn’t work out, and Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi isn’t performing at the same level as he initially was.
They still pack quite a punch and can take on any team on their best day, but that’s the thing — their best days haven’t come around in a while. A revamp and refresh is in order, but it definitely won’t happen before the start of the next year. If they do end up going deep into this tournament, it will likely happen by way of s1mple and Denis “electroNic” Sharipov.
See our CSGO betting tips
3-4. FaZe Clan
After a horror Major, FaZe came mighty close to winning the BLAST Premier Fall Final only to be shut out by Heroic. They still have the most high-profile squad on paper, and there’s certainly the kind of individual skill that can carry them through matches with a pop-off or two. This was proven by their run to the Grand Final in the aforementioned Fall Final, where they were the favorites to win until Heroic caused an upset.
However, they will be up against Outsiders in the Group Stage and will be facing Na’ Vi or Heroic at some point, and unless they can produce something extraordinary, they will probably fall against one or more of those teams. If they do go further, though, you can blame Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken and Helvijs “broky” Saukants for our incorrect prediction.
3-4. Team Liquid
The strongest North American team by far performed admirably at the Fall Final, but we just don’t see them surmounting the challenge of one of the very top teams at this point in time. Liquid have been going through a bit of a revival after a poor patch, but we feel like there’s still a lot of work to be done, and the recent dip in Joshua “oSee” Ohm’s form isn’t helping their case.
Their performance in the Major was a cause for concern, and although they weren't exactly bad in the Fall Final, the fact remains that they lost to Heroic in the Semifinal and the teams at this tournament are somewhat stronger than those in the last. Should Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis either lack or find good form, though, you can kiss this prediction goodbye.
After a dominating performance at the Major, the CIS guys will have everyone’s eyes on them. However, although they are still a force to be reckoned with, they are no longer underdogs, and their strats will have been studied and broken down to death. Despite having a highly skilled team, we don’t see them winning back-to-back big-ticket titles, although we do see them coming mighty close.
Dzhami “Jame” Ali’s leadership and performance will both be key in getting the team to this stage, though, and Evgeniy “FL1T” Lebedev and Pyotr “fame” Bolyshev will have to repeat their feats from Brazil. While we don’t see them winning the tournament, a return to form for Aleksei “Qikert” Golubev might change that.
Love them or hate them, you can’t ignore the fact that they have finally proven that they are, in fact, the real deal. Long called onliners, they conquered their inner demons and finally managed to win a title, and we think this is just the start. The chemistry and brotherhood in the team is unlike no other, and if they can play like they’ve been playing as of late, we believe they have what it takes to lift the trophy while also getting revenge on Outsiders for Rio.
It’s hard to single out individual players in such a talented squad, but Casper “cadiaN” Møller’s spirit and leadership, Rasmus “sjuush” Beck and Martin “stavn” Lund’s consistency, and René “TeSeS” Madsen and Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard’s clutch plays are all integral parts of the Heroic machine. After the heartfelt, emotional scenes we saw in Copenhagen, we’re ready to shed more wholesome tears alongside the Danish destroyers.
Join us when the games begin because we’ll have plenty to write about them, including daily recaps of all the matches.