Blast Premier’s ‘Group of Death’ wrapped up last weekend, and it was brutal.
The Group of Death
Without a doubt, Group 2 of the Blast Premier Spring Series was stacked with quality talent. Complexity fans rejoiced as the fledgling roster contended with the likes of NaVi, Vitality and Astralis through the weekend. With such a high density of quality teams in the group, the stage was virtually guaranteed to produce some excellent viewing. So, with that in mind let’s take a look at the most compelling storylines heading out of the event.
A revitalised NaVi
Three weeks ago, NaVi announced that legendary awper Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovacs would be stepping down from the active roster. His recplacement was the young rifler Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy from Syman Gaming. Pundits had suggested for a while that GuardiaN’s recent period of poor form meant he'd become an unnecessary burden for the team to carry in-game. The decision to bench a player of Guardian’s tenure must have been a difficult one — but the NaVi management made the tough choice and went all-in on a younger roster.
Now, with an average age of just over 21, the NaVi side appears to be revitalising. The CIS side made it to the finals of the ICE Challenge this week, but were defeated in a competitive series against the rising stars of Mousesports. Amazingly, Aleksander "s1mple" Kostyliev wasn’t the best player on the roster. Teammate Dennis "electronic" Sharipov showed insane form to earn himself a career first MVP award.
YOUR GROUP 2 CHAMPIONS! @natusvincere ?
— BLAST Premier (@BLASTPremier) February 9, 2020
NaVi’s victory in the stage this weekend represents huge potential for them heading into the rest of the year. However, we’ve seen that the field of talent is absolutely stacked this year. So winning tournaments will be all the more difficult.
Clash of the Titans
Throughout 2019 the competition to be the world’s best counter strike player was firmly between two CS:GO prodigy’s — Aleksander "s1mple" Kostyliev and Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut. All in all, it was a tight competition but Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbauts ability to sustain an unfathomable level of form allowed him to clinch the title. Until yesterday, the world was certain that a battle of Aleksander "s1mple" Kostyliev vs Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut would be the highlight of the opening series’. However, it would be unlikely performances from Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov and Cedric “RpK” Guipouy that dominated the week’s inaugural series’.
In week 1 of the Blast Spring Series, we saw the duo of Nikola "NiKo" Kovac and Marcelo "Coldzera" David finally perform well at the same time. This was a prospect that FaZe fans everywhere had been excited for. And it led to their victory in the stage. Week 1 had 1 duo take off, and weeks 2 gives us the potential for 2 duos to dominate the scene. Both sides have a potentially lethal amount of firepower. With NaVi having the potential for both Aleksander "s1mple" Kostyliev and Dennis "electronic" Sharipov to excel simultaneously. On the other hand, Vitality have access to the combination of Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut (Currently the best player in CS:GO) and Richard “Shox” Papillion (one of the most legendary star players the world had ever seen).
A poor outing from the usually dominant Danes
Not only did this stage contain some of the best players in CS:GO — it also contained the game’s greatest team of all time: Astralis.
2020 is shaping up to be an incredibly competitive year of counter strike. And Astralis have never been a side to take competition lightly. Without a doubt, Astralis were aiming for nothing less than absolute victory in both the stage and the finals later this year. These goals weren’t unjustified. Astralis brings an unparalleled level of discipline and preparation to every tournament and this weekend shall be no different. With Mousesports on the rise, Astralis should have reminded the world that despite the loss to their old captain Finn "Karrigan" Andersen in the EPL finals last December; they are still currently the most dominant force in CS:GO. Instead, a poor performance in this stage could be an ill-fated omen for their competitive aspirations this year.
A big outing for Complexity
The new look Complexity roster, led by young but promising In-Game-Leader Benjamin "blameF" Bremer, had their first LAN outing this weekend. The side boasts a litany of potential talent. Including the young and promising Owen "oBo" Schlatter fighting alongside notorious danish star Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke. The roster certainly has potential. But BlameF’s ability to actualise that potential was put to a tough test in the group of death.
Complexity’s online results seem to indicated that they will struggle to achieve much in the group. They’ve already taken losses to sides such as BiG and Cloud9. If the side can’t beat opposition like that online, a Best Of 3 series against Astralis on LAN was going to be a brutal first series for the squad. Nonetheless, Complexity came out swinging this weekend with incredible 2-0 upsets against Astralis and Vitality alike. Ultimately, they weren’t able to beat NaVi in the final. But a 2nd place finish makes Complexity a team to watch for the rest of the year.
Images via Blast Premier