The BLAST Premier’s Global Finals concluded with two of the world’s top teams in a showdown to determine the first Counter-Strike champion to be crowned in 2021.
Astralis and Natus Vincere were set for an epic showdown, but that’s not really what ended up happening. Although the matchup looked like it would be competitive, Na`Vi took an early lead on Nuke and denied Astralis an Inferno comeback to grab the tournament win in just two maps.
The vetoes brought the two teams to Nuke to start things off. Despite a reputation for being a CT-sided map, Na`Vi found immediate success against Astralis’ defense as Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and his teammates continued their recent success on the map. While Na`Vi has been inconsistent on many of the maps in CSGO’s competitive pool, the team owns a 14-4 record on Nuke in the past three months. Nuke’s first half ended 9-6 in Na`Vi’s favor, and although Astralis did make up some ground on their own T side, s1mple’s aggressive AWPing combined with an unlikely jumping Desert Eagle kill on Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander ended Nuke 16-12.
s1mple lead the server as he posted solid numbers across both halves to end Nuke with 29 kills and a 106.9 average damage-per-round. It wasn’t just s1mple who performed well on Nuke, though. Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev also had ADRs above 100 after underperforming in the first half of the tournament.
Inferno was Astralis’ chance to even the series, and that seemed likely given Na`Vi’s underwhelming winrate on the map. Astralis lost the opening pistol round but managed a plant and four kills in the following round, setting up a solid buy in the third round that put Astralis in a good position.
That would be about as far as Astralis would get in the first half, however. Na`Vi largely took control from there and finished with a surprising 10-5 half as it shut down Astralis’ T-side efforts.
The second-half pistol round came down to a one-versus-one between Perfecto and gla1ve but ultimately went Na`Vi’s way, seriously limiting Astralis’ chances at a comeback. Though there was a number of close rounds, none of them wound up breaking in favor of Astralis. s1mple and company denied Astralis the tournament win, defeating the Danish team 16-5 to take home the BLAST Global Finals $400,000 grand prize with a 2-0 score.
The match was interesting apart from Na`Vi’s surprising win, as both teams featured substitutes at one point during the series’ two maps. Astralis’ Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen came in for Astralis on Nuke while Valeriy “B1T” Vakhovskiy played Inferno for Na`Vi. While neither player had a large impact on the match’s outcome, they showed that the six-man roster and mid-game substitutions are now the new normal in competitive CSGO.
Na`Vi and Astralis will cross paths once again in just a few weeks during BLAST’s upcoming spring groups, which start on February 4.