Wrapping up the first couple of Playoff matches at the BLAST Premier World Final.
If you were expecting a run-of-the-mill tournament going into BLAST Premier World Final, you were in for a surprise. We’re up to the Semifinals at this point in time, and only one of the original favorites to win the thing is still in. Granted, this makes them even heavier favorites in a way, but it’ll be far from easy because the other teams look to be in scintillating form.
Despite being called “Quarterfinals,” there were only two matches in that stage of the tournament. If you missed out on the Quarterfinals, here’s your chance to catch up.
Team Vitality vs G2 Esports
Before the tournament, most people would have rooted for Vitality in this matchup, but G2 made a case for themselves when they beat Outsiders and took a map off of FaZe. At the same time, though, Vitality managed to defeat the mighty Natus Vincere, who had long been their bane. With elimination on one side and an additional $60,000 guaranteed on the other, things would ultimately really just come down to who handled the pressure better between these evenly-matched teams.
Map 1 – Nuke
G2 seem to have worked up a real feel for Nuke, because that’s the map they chose and absolutely owned Vitality on. Starting on the T-side, they went up 3-0 and equalled immediately afterwards, but they proceeded to go on a ridiculous 13-round streak that just nailed Vitality to the floor. Fans of the French outfit could hardly bear to watch as their beloved team was massacred time and again.
Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov was nothing short of a god for G2 as he put up a performance rated at a crazy 2.06. All everyone else had to do was just their part, but it was nice to see decent stats out of Nemanja “HooXi” Kovač.
Map 2 – Vertigo
When Vitality were up 9-6 on the T-side on their map pick, they must have been feeling pretty good about themselves. However, after a 7-round burst from G2, they were 13-9 down and staring elimination in the face. It took some truly special play to get them back into the game, and somehow they managed to take the game into Overtime. Thankfully, Overtime was all theirs, and they won 19-15.
For Vitality, Lotan “Spinx” Giladi was in his element as he put up important numbers to pull Vitality up and across the finish line, with some much-needed help from Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut.
Map 3 – Anubis
Anubis doesn’t quite have a set meta yet, but things are starting to look pretty balanced in there. G2 had a tough CT side as they only managed 7 rounds, but following the switch, it quickly became evident that they were much better as attackers. They barely gave their fellow French organization a chance as they rampaged through to get to 9 rounds on the attack to the defenders’ 3.
They say a hero is whoever steps up when he’s needed most, and if this is true, Rasmus “huNter-” Nielsen is a bonafide protagonist. He was absolutely instrumental in Vitality’s hard-earned 16-11 triumph on the newest map. That being said, the rest of the team were pretty solid too.
Team Liquid vs Natus Vincere
There have been many occasions on which these two teams have met — with both more and less on the line — but rarely have they met with their teams as evenly balanced as now. Na’ Vi are going through some transitional doldrums, while Liquid have one of their best rosters ever, and almost all of them are in great form. These two sides have produced some classics over the years, and while this wasn’t close enough to be called that, it had plenty of action.
Map 1 – Overpass
Na’ Vi have generally been solid on Overpass for a while, but Liquid have improved tremendously on the map this year. After a decent start for the Ukrainians, the Americans struck back fiercely with eight straight T-side rounds. After a 9-6 half, they proceeded to prevent Na’ Vi from chaining rounds together on the attack, and closed the game comfortably at 16-10.
As one would expect, such a victory came by way of excellent turns by Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev was excellent for his side, but he was sadly — and not for the first time — let down by his teammates.
Map 2 – Ancient
Choking and throwing is part and parcel of CSGO, and that is undoubtedly what happened to Liquid on Ancient. After picking up a whopping 11 rounds on the T-side of the decidedly CT-sided map, they went up 13-4 and just seemed to lose the plot. Na’ Vi took round after round after round, but all the Americans could do was watch and save whatever weapons they could muster. Na’ Vi ultimately took 12 of the last 13 rounds to win the game by the smallest margin possible in regulation and even the series.
One would naturally expect s1mple’s name to be here, but it was actually the stepping up of Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi, Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy and Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev that won the former Major champions the match. YEKINDAR was once again terrific for Liquid, but it just wasn’t enough.
Map 3 – Mirage
When there’s a big battle at hand, it is generally advisable that you prepare to the best of your abilities and take your best people with you. It seems that Na’ Vi didn’t get the memo on that because they tried playing their stand-in rookie Andrii “npl” Kukharskyi on the deciding third map of a Quarterfinals on a map in which he hadn’t played an official match with them before. Unfortunately, he choked badly — picking up only 5 rounds in the entire game. The match began with a dominant 10-5 defensive half from Liquid, and ended with them winning 16-9.
To be fair, Liquid would most likely have won anyway (unless sdy pulled off a god-tier performance). This is because Joshua “oSee” Ohm was in fiery form, and YEKINDAR and Nick “nitr0” Cannella weren’t far behind. A commanding performance from an in-form team to put them through to the semis.
Next up, G2 will move forward to face FaZe Clan, while OG and Liquid will have a reckoning to decide which beloved underdog will make it to the final. You can be sure that we’ll be covering the matches, so join us for the recap.