Everything you need to know about BLAST Premier's opening day
After a growing rift between teams, tournament organizers, and even the CSPPA exploded this week, BLAST Premier will finally give fans a chance to see some great games between the world's top teams, especially the first match between two teams that could decide their direction for 2020.
We'll get there in a second. BLAST Premier is the first real tournament of the season, and it has the pomp and circumstance to prove it. A switch to a best-of-three format with one game being played at a time is a welcome change to the hectic pace that BLAST Pro Series set over the past two years. Plus, fans probably won't have to hear about the drama over B Site and ESL, which will come as a relief to some.
Readers can find tournament information like times, format, and the date and location of the BLAST Premier Spring final at the end of the article.
Let 2020's Counter-Strike season commence.
Without f0rest, THREAT will lead NiP against NiKo's FaZe clan
BLAST Premier kicks off tomorrow with the Ninjas in Pyjamas versus FaZe clan. The Ninjas are serious wildcards after losing Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg to Dignitas. The team now lacks any sort of leadership inside the server besides head coach Björn "THREAT" Pers, and he can't even talk half of the time. We'll see what this team is really made of against a weakened FaZe.
Seeing any signs of life from NiP could be great. And believe it or not, the Ninjas have a decent shot at upsetting Faze here with the roster below:
- Fredrik “REZ” Sterner
- Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson
- Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora
- Simon “twist” Eliasson
- Tim “nawwk” Jonasson
- Björn “THREAT” Pers (coach)
There was one time where, given this lineup, or even 2,000 to one in FaZe's favor. But FaZe, dare we say it, are looking old.
Long past is the time when Nikola "NiKo" Kovač could take down five Ts from Cache's B site with just a Desert Eagle. Once the world's greatest player, NiKo is a legitimate shell of his former self.
But no one knows why.
It couldn't make any less sense. Fans see flashes of the player Niko used to be occasionally, but an international roster hasn't been this disappointing perhaps ever. The rest of the team, including Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer, looks just plain flat.
There are many possible reasons. Yanko "YnK" Pualovic may not be the man for the coaching role. His absence from the analyst desk is felt at every tournament, but there's often the feeling that FaZe would look the same with or without him.
Since coming to FaZe, YnK hasn't brought FaZe anything closer to a trophy than they were before him. Even after the addition of Marcelo "Coldzera" David, FaZe hasn't impressed anyone at all.
While the team does have growing star Helvijs "broky" Saukants, nothing he can do will pick up the slack left by his veteran teammates. For broky, the most difficult part of all of this must be that it's his teammates, not his own inexperience, holding him back.
FaZe Clan's current roster is as follows:
- Håvard "rain" Nygaard
- Nikola "NiKo" Kovač
- Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer Gustafsson
- Marcelo "coldzera" David
- Helvijs "broky" Saukants
- Janko "YNk" Paunović
Team Liquid and MIBR clash as TL warms up for 2020
After fans get to kick off the spring season with that warmup, BLAST Premier isn't waiting for its all-star matchups. Team Liquid and MIBR will go head to head on BLAST's first day, and it's bound to end one of two ways. Either TL wins handily in two maps, or TL wins more closely in three.
With Team Liquid caught in the middle of last weekend's tiff between ESL and B Site, it might be a little hard to concentrate for the North Americans. That said, since MIBR may be distracted too given their reported role in the upcoming B Site league.
Team Liquid is currently fielding the most successful roster in its history.
- Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella
- Jonathon "EliGE" Jablonowski
- Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken
- Keith "NAF" Markovic
- Jake "Stewie2k" yip
- Eric "adreN" Hoag
TL Head coach Eric "adreN" Hoag is no slouch, and sources say that he and TL have been hard at work over the break. What they've been practicing specifically we don't know, but there have been many hours spent in the server since the beginning of the year.
MIBR has been hard at work as well. Gabriel "FalleN" Toldeo is known to drive his teams hard, and they're second to Astralis with the reputation for never taking a breather. After last year, however, MIBR needed a break. When Epitaco "TACO" de Melo starts to look like Coldzera relative to the level of his teammates, you know there's an issue with MIBR's level of play.
- Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo
- Fernando "fer" Alvarenga
- Epitácio "TACO" de Melo
- Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe
- Ignacio "meyern" Meyer
- Wilton "zews" Prado (Coach)
BLAST Premier Schedule, prize pool, groups, and talent
A year of Counter-Strike doesn't really start until the four of the world favorites square off. Thankfully for CSGO fans, that day is tomorrow. Also of note is that it's unlikely that BLAST will play its first matches on CSGO's new patch that made major changes to the game's maps. The update opened the skybox Dust 2's B site and made several tweaks that will definitely affect gameplay on Mirage.
Blast Premier boasts a $300,000 prize pool split between the twelve teams attending BLAST Premier. After Group A ends, Group B and Group C will take the stage for more intense Counter-Strike Global Offensive.
Groups B and C of BLAST Premier consist of the following teams:
The show starts tomorrow, January 31, at 10:00 a.m. EST, followed by Team Liquid versus MIBR in the morning at 2:30 that afternoon.
Talent at BLAST Premier includes the following:
- Desk Host: Auguste Massonnat
- Analyst: Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill
- Analyst: Duncan "Thorin" Shields
- Interviewer: James Banks
- Observer: David "Prius" Kuntz
- Caster: Anders Blume
- Caster: Jason "moses" O'Toole
- Caster: Conner "Scrawny" Girvan
- Caster: Mohan "launders" Govindasamy
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