The Blast Pro Series brings the first ever major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Portugal from December 14-15 at the Altice Arena. Blast Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 features six of the best teams in the world competing for a $250,000 prize pool.
There will be an increase in esports betting surrounding the Blast Pro Series: Lisbon as it features Astralis, Cloud9, FaZe Clan, Made in Brazil (MIBR), Natus Vincere (Na’vi), and Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP). Astralis, Na’vi, MIBR, and Faze Clan all rank in the top five of the latest HLTV rankings that came out on December 10. Ninjas in Pyjamas is slotted in at the seventh-best team in CS:GO, while Cloud9 ranks at 26.
All matches are streamed live on Twitch.
Group Stage and Grand Final
The format for Blast Pro Series: Lisbon is broken up into two parts, the group stage, and the grand finals. The group stage is a single round-robin group featuring the six teams competing. Every team will play each other once. All matches during the group stage are best-of-one — the top two teams from the group advance to the grand final. The grand final match is a best-of-three.
BLAST Pro Standoff
The event is also running a side tournament called ‘BLAST Pro Standoff.’ The showdown is a prize bonus show match, with five one-versus-one aim duels. The team finishing in third place chooses their opponent from the remaining two teams who finished below them. The winner of the standoff takes home a $20,000 prize bonus. Every match-up is played with a different weapon. The first player to have seven kills wins their match-up.
Looking at the Teams
Astralis is the heavy favorite entering the tournament, and rightfully so. The Danes became the first team in CS:GO history to complete the Intel Grand Slam and win $1 million. Astralis won four tournaments in a window of 10 to complete the grand slam. The team of Nicoli “dev1ce” Reedtz, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, and Emil “Magisk” Reif won DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018, ESL Pro League Season 7, IEM 13 Chicago, and ESL Pro League Season 8. On top of that, Astralis has finished outside of the top three in only three of its 21 events held in 2018.
Astralis is arguably the best team ever to compete in CS:GO. If the team can win in Lisbon, it will only cement their place in history.
The North American team is going through a rough patch and can’t figure out how to get out of it. Cloud9 started 2018 strong with an ELEAGUE Major win in Boston over FaZe Clan. However, it has been their only tournament win of 2018, and to make it even worse, Cloud9 has only ended in the top three at three other events.
Cloud9’s current roster has also suffered since the Boston Major. One of its best players, Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, decided to retire from competitive play in October. While C9’s captain and in-game leader, Maikil “Golden” Selim, is inactive due to an illness.
Cloud9 has the potential to shock a few teams in Lisbon because of the format. Best-of-one matches tend to have a lot more upsets, so don’t be surprised if c9 stuns some groups.
FaZe Clan is one of the two teams that is a significant threat to Astralis from winning Blast Pro Series: Lisbon. FaZe is one of the original CS:GO super teams that are comprised of five players from five different European nations. They’re a real contender for the No. 1 spot in the world and always considered a favorite when entering a tournament.
The team of Håvard “rain” Nygaard, Finn “karrigan” Andersen, Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács, and Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer have picked up three premier wins in 2018. FaZe won its first tournament at Intel Extreme Masters XIII – Sydney over Astralis. They later defeated Mousesports at ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018 and Natus Vincere at EPICENTER 2018. However, FaZe has struggled of late with an 11th place finish at ESL Pro League Season 8 and followed up by a fifth-place finish at the European Esports Championship Series Season 6.
MIBR has had its ups and downs in 2018. The Brazilian team earned a first-place finish at ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018 with a 3-0 win over Team Kinguin. MIBR later finished first in the group stage at the ESL Pro League Season 8 North American qualifiers. Despite finishing first in the group stage, MIBR only finished in the third-fourth place slot at the finals.
Made in Brazil is set to have a substantial American presence in Lisbon as three of their five players are from the United States. Braxton “swag” Pierce from Swole Patrol joins Jacky “Stewie2k” Yip and Tarik “tarik” Celik as a stand-in for Fernando “fer” Alvarenga at the event.
There are rumors that Stewie2k is going to be traded to Team Liquid in exchange for Brazilian Epitácio “TACO” de Melo and coach Wilton “zews” Prado. Once the trade is completed, MIBR will be one step closer to returning to a full Brazilian roster.
Natus Vincere is the second team that is a significant threat to Astralis from winning it all in Lisbon. Na’vi is the reigning BLAST Pro Series champion having won in Copenhagen in November. The team of Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev, Egor “flamie” Vasilyev, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko, and Denis “electronic” Sharipov defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas to take home $125,000. Na’vi completed BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen with a 4-0-1 record with its only loss coming against FaZe Clan in the group stage.
The Ukrainian team has found plenty of success in 2018 with major wins at StarSeries Season 5, Asia Championship and ESL One: Cologne. However, they’ve struggled of late with a disappointing 13th-16th finish at IEM 13 Chicago and a fifth-sixth place finish at ESL Pro League Season 8 finals.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
Ninjas in Pyjamas is made up of an all Swedish roster and is one of the oldest and well-renowned CS:GO teams in the world. NiP has picked one its lone win of 2018 at the Europe Minor Championship in London with a 2-0 victory over OpTic Gaming. The Swedish team has performed stronger of late with a second-place finish at BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen and a third-fourth place finish at the Esports Championship Series Season 6 finals.
NiP is considered a middle-of-the-road type team in this tournament so don’t be surprised if they can pull off a few upsets over Na’vi and Astralis and make the grand finals.
BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon has everything you could ask for in a CS:GO tournament. It has six of the best teams competing against each other with the opportunities of fantastic gameplay. There will be upsets due to the best-of-one format, which will make the event even more exciting.
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