Nick Johnson | Esports Writer

Nick Johnson | Esports Writer

Nick "Lesona" Johnson is an esports journalist with a focus on CS:GO and the OWL. His interest for esports started with CS:S and grew into a career as both an esports writer and an avid fan, giving him a unique perspective on both the casual and professional scenes. Twitter: @Lesona_

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Blast Pro Series Miami: Day 1 Preview, Vetoes, and Analysis

Blast Pro Series Miami
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Blast Pro Series Miami kicks off tomorrow with Rounds One and Two of the Group Stage. Earlier this morning, teams vetoed for their maps, and we’ve got a first-hand look at the first two rounds. With a little under 24 hours to go until the first match of Blast Pro Series Miami, let’s jump right in with the matchups, vetoes, and analysis.


Round One

Match One: MiBR vs Natus Vincere

Map: Nuke

Veto:

  1. MIBR removed Inferno
  2. Natus Vincere removed Dust2
  3. Natus Vincere removed Cache
  4. MIBR removed Train
  5. MIBR removed Mirage
  6. Natus Vincere removed Overpass
  7. Nuke was left over

Analysis

First off, let’s take a look at MiBR. Na’Vi painted them into a corner, removing Dust 2 and Overpass. The Brazilians have only played two matches on Nuke in the past three months with a 50%-win rate on the map. Most recently, MiBR dropped Nuke to an extremely underperforming FaZe Clan at Blast Pro Series Sao Paulo less than a month ago.

Na’Vi played the veto flawlessly, removing Dust 2, Overpass, and Cache, forcing MiBR to ban Na’Vi’s best maps, Inferno (75%-win rate) and Train (66.7%-win rate). Interestingly, Na’Vi chose Nuke by banning Overpass with the last ban, a map that they’ve only played four times in the past three months and only own a 25%-win rate on.

Despite Na’Vi’s poor performance recently on Nuke, S1mple and co. should have no problem coming out on top of a seriously underwhelming MiBR team. That said, Na’Vi start slow in almost every single tournament they’ve ever played. In fact, it happens so often they should put it on their jerseys. If MiBR have something to prove, this may be their best chance.

Prediction: Na’Vi 16-11


Match Two: Astralis vs. Cloud9

Map: Inferno

Veto:

  1. Astralis removed Cache
  2. Cloud9 removed Nuke
  3. Cloud9 removed Dust2
  4. Astralis removed Mirage
  5. Astralis removed Overpass
  6. Cloud9 removed Train
  7. Inferno was left over

Analysis

Look, this was matchup was never going to be easy for a Cloud9 team that barely had a cohesive roster until last week. Even with the addition of cajunb and the return of Golden, Cloud9 will be lucky to hit 8 rounds total. Since we haven’t seen Cloud9 play with even half of their current roster, any stats we pull are going to be pretty useless. Let’s take a look at Astralis instead, and here’s where things start to look even more bleak for the C9 squad.

Astralis has played Inferno eight times in the past three months. They have won all eight matches. They bested Team Liquid in Sao Paulo 16-8 and handed NiP a whopping 1-16 loss in the first week of ECS. Sure, ECS is online. But when you can dismantle a team so completely, it matters anywhere you do it. That said, Astralis has had a few close calls in their 8-0 run, including a 16-13 against AVANAGR. Regardless, this matchup is a tough draw for Cloud9 to kick off their tournament in Miami.

Prediction: Astralis 16-5


Match 3: Team Liquid vs. FaZe Clan

Map: Nuke

Veto:

  1. FaZe removed Overpass
  2. Liquid removed Train
  3. Liquid removed Mirage
  4. FaZe removed Dust2
  5. FaZe removed Cache
  6. Liquid removed Inferno
  7. Nuke was left over

FaZe up, ladies and gentlemen. Team Liquid must have been working on bringing Nuke into their map pool, choosing Nuke over Inferno for their first matchup. Neither team have been stellar on Nuke, and neither team have played it all that often over the past three months. FaZe has played the map three times, winning over MiBR 16-11 and losing to ENCE twice (10-16 and 9-16). On the other hand, Team Liquid hasn’t faired much better. They’ve only played the map once, and lost their only matchup on it 12-16 against Ghost Gaming all the way back in November.

If you’re looking only at the stats, you could probably call this match the closest of Round 1. Unfortunately for Faze, however, we’re going to look at the complete team performance for the past three months. Let’s be honest here, there’s something wrong with FaZe Clan. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t even think they know what it is. Olof has been invisible, Guardian has been hit or miss, and NiKo is so stubborn he won’t use (or let his team use, seemingly) the best CT weapon in the game: the AUG. If FaZe continues to refuse to adapt to the new meta, this is an easy win for a Team Liquid squad on a map that features long sightlines outside and encourages explosive play.

Prediction: Team Liquid 16-13


Round 2

Match 1: Cloud9 vs Team Liquid

Map: Overpass

Veto:

  1. Liquid removed Train
  2. Cloud9 removed Nuke
  3. Cloud9 removed Dust2
  4. Liquid removed Mirage
  5. Liquid removed Inferno
  6. Cloud9 removed Cache
  7. Overpass was left over

Analysis

Overpass is basically Team Liquid’s home map. While they only have a 57%-win rate on it, their team makeup, with Stewie and Twistzz on B-site and Nitr0 providing A-site overwatch, makes executing on either one a serious pain for whoever they’re playing against. That said, several teams banned Overpass away from Cloud9 in the rest of the vetos, so maybe they know something we don’t. This matchup is a trap game for Team Liquid and is probably Cloud9’s best chance to steal away a map in this tournament. I’m not saying this is a lock for Cloud9, but if you’re looking for an upset game, this is it.

Prediction: Cloud9 16-14 (spicy, I know.)


Match 2: FaZe Clan vs. MiBR

Map: Mirage

Veto:

  1. FaZe removed Train
  2. MIBR removed Dust2
  3. MIBR removed Nuke
  4. FaZe removed Overpass
  5. FaZe removed Cache
  6. MIBR removed Inferno
  7. Mirage was left over

Analysis

In what actually might be the most interesting matchup of Day One, FaZe Clan and MiBR will square off on Mirage. Stats-wise, MiBR has the clear edge, posting a 50%-win rate on the map. That said, their wins come against some underpowered teams: Panda Gaming and compLexity.

FaZe hasn’t fared as well on Mirage, losing five out of seven times in the past three months, and it’s not like they’ve been playing tough competition either. Losses to NiP (7-16), AVANGAR (13-16), and dropping two to Cloud9 (3-16 and 16-19) spells some serious trouble for the international “super team.” While MiBR look lost, they don’t look nearly as confused as FaZe. This does, however, have the potential to be one of the closest matches of Day One as both teams struggle to find their way.

Prediction: MiBR 16-13


Match 3: Astralis vs. Natus Vincere

Map: Inferno

Veto:

  1. Astralis removed Overpass
  2. Natus Vincere removed Nuke
  3. Natus Vincere removed Dust2
  4. Astralis removed Mirage
  5. Astralis removed Train
  6. Natus Vincere removed Cache
  7. Inferno was left over

Analysis

If MiBR vs. FaZe is the most interesting match of the day, then Astralis vs Natus Vincere will be the most explosive. Two of the top three ranked teams in the world face off against each other on each other’s best map. We’ve already talked about Astralis’ 8-0 run on the map in the past three months, but Na’Vi isn’t far behind. The CIS powerhouse is sitting at 6-2 on Inferno for that same period. Both of these teams know how to play the map, but Astralis has a clear advantage on that while Na’Vi has lost to teams outside the HLTV Top 10 on Inferno, the Danes never have.

Depending on how S1mple and electronic perform, Na’Vi could certainly give Astralis a run for their money. On the other hand, Astralis is, well, Astralis. Inferno is basically their home base, so look for them to take it over Na’Vi.

Prediction: Astralis 16-11


Images VIA: Cloud9, Astralis, FaZe Clan, MiBR, Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, Valve, Blast Pro Series

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