BLAST Premier Fall Groups Preview

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BLAST Premier Fall Groups Preview


We have just finished with ESL Pro League and its already time for another CSGO tournament! This time around it’s time to head to BLAST servers, as the first step of the Fall circuit is ready to kick off.

Before it starts, however, let’s take this opportunity to review the tournament details, dates and format. Of course, we will also be discussing key storylines to give you some insight of the backgrounds of some teams coming to the event.

So, when it starts? How it will be played? Is it an online or offline event? That and more below!

Tournament Details

Twelve teams will be heading to BLAST’s servers in Europe this Thursday, the 16th, in order to compete for $150,000 and more. The top six teams of the events will also qualify to BLAST Premier Fall Finals, while the remaining squads will have to play the BLAST Premier Showdown in order to fight for the last spots in the Finals.

The tournament runs on a double-elimination format with three groups. Each group features four teams, and all matches will be online best-of-three series. The two top teams of each group are the ones advancing to the BLAST Premier Fall Finals, set to run later in the year.

As for times, the first match of the event will be starting this Thursday, 2:30 PM (GMT). From Thursday to Saturday, we will be seeing the group A teams playing. Starting on Monday (20th) until the 22nd, it’ll be time for group B. Then, from the 24th to the 26th, we will see the last four remaining teams playing.

Lastly, you will be able to follow all action through BLAST channels on Twitch and Youtube.

Groups

Below, you will be able to check the three groups in the event. You can also see the brackets through BLAST official website:

Now that we’re up to speed on the event details, it’s now time to take a closer look at five key teams heading to the tournament.

ASTRALIS – Xyp9x Returns

PLAYER ROLE (according to Liquipedia) HLTV RATING in 2021 MOST RECENT EVENT HLTV RATING
Bubzkji Rifler 0.96 0.91 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
dupreeh Rifler [entry fragger] 1.06 1.10 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
Lucky AWPer 1.12 1.00 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
Magisk Rifler 1.04 0.98 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
Xyp9x Rifler [support, lurker] 0.98 1.07 at IEM Cologne 2021

During Astralis most recent showing, the legendary Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, was absent from the team. The Dane had announced that he was ‘exploring’ options for the future of his career, and as Astralis welcomed Philip “Lucky” Ewald, it made sense to have him off the server for the time being.

However, Xyp9x will be back for what could be one of his last appearances as an Astralis player. As Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander has been granted paternity leave by Astralis, his spot will be filled by Xyp9x. It’s not clear who will be taking the in-game leader role as of now, but it’s expected that Emil ‘Magisk’ Reif will be doing it as he has experience replacing gla1ve.

Back with the Clutch Minister

Gla1ve will certainly be missed by Astralis in the BLAST Fall Groups. However, it still is very exciting to see the squad back with Xyp. After all, Xyp9x was a key factor for Astralis performance in IEM Cologne, where they reached 3-4th place and had one of their best performances of 2021.

This creates some expectations for this squad. Again, gla1ve will be missed, but Magisk has proved that he’s able to lead a team in the past. As long as we see Xyp delivering the same form he did in Cologne, making to the top of their group won’t be an impossible task for Astralis. Without a doubt, it’s going to be hard considering the current form of Liquid and Vitality, but it won’t be impossible.

Overall, even if Astralis can’t reach the top of the event, they will be an interesting squad to watch. After all, BLAST Premier Fall Groups could be one of the last times we see the Clutch Minister playing for team, marking the end of an era for him.

COMPLEXITY – An Unexpected Stand-In

PLAYER ROLE (according to Liquipedia) HLTV RATING in 2021 MOST RECENT EVENT HLTV RATING
blameF In-Game Leader 1.18 1.18 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
coldzera Rifler [lurker] 1.02 1.09 at Flashpoint 3
es3tag Rifler [support, entry fragger] 1.02 1.03 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
jks Rifler 1.02 1.02 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
poizon AWPer 1.05 1.08 at ESL Pro League Season XIV

During the last season of ESL Pro League, we saw a strong yet flawed Complexity as the team star, Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke, had to miss the tournament due to an injury. Back then, Niels Christian “NaToSaphiX” Sillassen replaced him.

Unfortunately, it became clear that k0nfig won’t be returning soon, so Complexity decided to bring another player to cover k0nfig’s spot in the team for the foreseeable him while he recovers. This stand-in is none other than the legendary Brazilian player Marcelo “coldzera” David.

BLAST Premier Fall Groups will be the first tournament that Complexity plays with coldzera. It’ll also be the first event that the Brazilian plays officially since Flashpoint 3, which ran back in May.

Keeping expectations in check

It’s hard to know what to expect from this Complexity. Coldzera certainly is a legendary player, but after months without playing, it’s hard to guess how he will play. Considering that he won’t necessarily fill the same roles as k0nfig, it makes even harder to predict how this team will perform.

Still, Complexity is looking good. During EPL, when they were playing with NaToSaphiX, we saw a strong, capable team. Valentin “poizon” Vasilev, especially, played much better than he did in the past months. Patrick “es3tag” Hansen, Complexity’s newest roster member also started his journey in this team with the right foot. Now they can start adjusting to coldzera as the Brazilian will be staying with the team for a while. Having a complete roster will definitely help Complexity’s chances.

But then again, how coldzera will play, and how he will impact this time is completely unknown. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how Benjamin ‘blameF’ Bremer and the team’s coach, Luis ‘peacemaker’ Tadeu will use the Brazilian, and which results they will get from it. So, keep an eye on Complexity. While there’s many unknowns surround the team, the potential is there.

FAZE CLAN – Another Chance

PLAYER ROLE (according to Liquipedia) HLTV RATING in 2021 MOST RECENT EVENT HLTV RATING
broky AWPer 1.08 1.03 at Pinnacle Fall Series
karrigan In-Game Leader 0.91 0.96 at Pinnacle Fall Series
olofmeister Rifler [support, lurker] 0.96 0.89 at Pinnacle Fall Series
rain Rifler [entry fragger] 0.99 0.95 at Pinnacle Fall Series
Twistzz Rifler 1.12 1.02 at Pinnacle Fall Series

After IEM Cologne, much was expected from this FaZe squad led by Finn “karrigan” Andersen. However, the squad couldn’t advance to the playoffs in EPL Season XIV, and many were disappointed by it.

Still, when you consider that FaZe played in the group of death of the aforementioned event, and managed to win three games out of five, it isn’t as bad as it might look at first. FaZe still hasn’t lost their momentum from Cologne.

Nonetheless, a few eyebrows were raised by FaZe’s performance in Pinnacle Fall Series. There, FaZe won against Dignitas but were defeated and eliminated by Virtus.Pro. Perhaps they simply didn’t care about this particular event as it isn’t a premier tournament, but it still points to negative signs.

However, it’s important that Karrigan and his team don’t let themselves down this time around. FaZe has been playing well, but they still are trying to convince that they are a team that can compete with the best.

The only easy group was the last one

Much like EPL, FaZe is again facing a difficult group as they head to BLAST Fall Groups. Besides Complexity which is a potentially dangerous team, they will also have to face Natus Vincere, the best team in the world and OG, another dangerous squad.

However, FaZe won’t prove themselves by facing weaker opposition. This is the ideal group that FaZe should try their best to reach the top. Furthermore, while Na’Vi might be a bit too much for Karrigan, Complexity and OG aren’t impossible to beat.

When a team is in the same spot as FaZe, groups of death become common. However, they also work as proving grounds as every team there will be giving everything they have. Every match will be a challenge, every round will count, and if FaZe wants to be considered a real contender, they will have to survive this.

G2 – Don’t Count Them Out from BLAST

PLAYER ROLE (according to Liquipedia) HLTV RATING in 2021 MOST RECENT EVENT HLTV RATING
AmaNEk AWPer 0.98 0.91 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
huNter- Rifler 1.10 0.95 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
JaCkz Rifler [entry fragger] 0.94 0.79 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
nexa In-Game Leader 0.98 0.88 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
NiKo Rifler 1.16 1.19 at ESL Pro League Season XIV

G2 bombed from Pro League, and they had their worst performance of 2021 there. With that negative result on top of their list of performances, it’s easy to forget what G2 accomplished in the rest of the year.

This G2 is the team that finished in 2nd place at IEM Cologne, 3rd in BLAST Spring Final and Flashpoint 3, and 3 – 4th place in IEM Summer and DreamHack Masters Spring. Fans built expectations for this team and they disappointed, but it’s definitely not the end of the world for this squad.

Now, G2 is coming to BLAST Premier Fall Groups with hopes to prove that their latest performance was nothing but a one-off.

They’d be the favorites

While it’s not smart to simply write G2 off yet, their run in EPL raised some red flags. For that reason, while they’d be the favorites of group B, considering what happened, it’s better to lower expectations.

Still, it’s a great opportunity for G2 to show that they are still worth of their place in the world rankings. Their first game will be against MiBR, and the Brazilians shouldn’t be a threat for Nemanja “nexa” Isaković and his team.

After that, things get less certain for G2. The team will face either NiP or BIG, or both. These two teams can definitely be dangerous, and there’s no doubts that one of them could be the squad that sends G2 home. It’s up to G2 to avoid that.

TEAM LIQUID – It’s a New Day in BLAST

PLAYER ROLE (according to Liquipedia) HLTV RATING in 2021 MOST RECENT EVENT HLTV RATING
EliGE Rifler 1.15 1.14 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
FalleN In-Game Leader, AWPer 1.01 1.02 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
Grim Rifler 1.01 1.10 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
NAF Rifler [lurker], AWPer 1.13 1.17 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
Stewie2K Rifler [entry fragger], AWPer 1.01 0.99 at ESL Pro League Season XIV

While Team Liquid left EPL Season 14 with their heads down after what happened in their final series there, it’s important to remember that the Americans had a solid campaign until that point. EPL Season 14 was definitely one of Liquid’s best performances across the year, and their fans won’t accept anything but at the very least the same level from them in BLAST.

There’s no reason to believe that Liquid won’t deliver good performances again, either. If anything, expecting a better Liquid to show up is nothing absurd. After all, EPL was Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo return to leadership, and from now onwards he should get more used to the role.

Unfortunately, there’s also a possibility that Liquid’s latest defeat caught up with them. After all, choking has been a persistent issue with this roster. It’s must be increasingly frustrating for the team to have to deal with chokes at this point. This time around, it just held them from having their best performance of the year. Hopefully, Liquid players have moved on from the disappointment, but what if they haven’t?

Bouncing back

Liquid is set to play on the first group of BLAST Premier Fall Groups. This means that while they will be facing the reinvigorated-looking Vitality, they will also be facing Astralis without their IGL and Evil Geniuses. Vitality certainly will be a difficult opponent, but Astralis and Evil Geniuses are teams that Liquid has to beat at this point to build the much momentum they built on EPL.

This means that Liquid finishing anywhere but in the top of their group will already be a disappointing result. While their match against Heroic in EPL was heartbreaking, failing to get to the top in a group where you are favorites isn’t any better.

Hopefully, Liquid won’t disappoint – or choke – in BLAST Fall Groups. Their group has two favorites, and they are one of them. It’s time for FalleN and his teammates show that there’s a reason for them being one of the favorites.

VITALITY – Keep the Fire Burning

PLAYER ROLE (according to Liquipedia) HLTV RATING in 2021 MOST RECENT EVENT HLTV RATING
apEX In-Game Leader 0.97 0.99 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
Kyojin Rifler [support, lurker] 0.96 0.97 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
misutaaa Rifler [entry fragger] 1.03 1.07 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
shox Rifler [lurker] 1.01 1.03 at ESL Pro League Season XIV
ZywOo AWPer 1.28 1.31 at ESL Pro League Season XIV

After a season of mixed results in the first half of 2021, Vitality returned from the player break looking much better. The French squad just had their best tournament result of the year, and individually, we’re seeing stronger players too – even Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut.

However, while EPL was great, it’s important that Vitality keeps on pushing with the same force they shown in Pro League. Fortunately for the squad, they are on a group where they are the clear favorites. Now, it’s up to them to prove that they deserved to be considered as such.

BLAST is an important tournament for Vitality

Much like Natus Vincere, Vitality is currently ongoing a very important momentum. As the Major approaches, it’s important that this team keeps putting strong performances every time they enter the server. For Vitality, BLAST Premier Fall Groups is another step in the road to the Major. However, this otherwise simple step to take could turn into a pit.

So, it’s key that they end this tournament in the place they are expected to: on top of their group. Team Liquid, their first opponent of the event, should be the most dangerous team they will face, so that match will clearly set the tone for Vitality for the rest of their group.

Still, there’s no reason to expect anything but a great performance from ZywOo and his team. With Dan “apEX” Madesclaire and Richard “shox” Papillon recovering their form, this Vitality certainly could be of the best teams in CSGO at the moment.

The BLAST Fall Groups start this Thursday

This Thursday, CSGO fans will be tuning into BLAST streams as soon as the first game goes live. Of course, we will be doing the same.

In order to make sure you keep up with the ongoing events and latest news, follow us here!

The author

My name is Marcos, I have been following the CSGO pro scene since 2015 but really got into in following games and pro teams in 2016. Used to bet a lot, stopped a bit but never stopped following the esports scene. I’m a student right now so I got a lot of time to keep with it and discover new things.

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