The BLAST Premier Fall Final begins in late November and offers teams their last chance to qualify for the BLAST Premier World Final that will take place in mid-December. The Fall Final event offers a $425,000 prize pool and the winners will automatically qualify for the World Final.
Currently, only Team Vitality, FaZe Clan, Outsiders, and NAVI have been able to qualify for the World Final. The winners of the BLAST Premier Fall Final will also qualify and the final three teams will be decided based on the BLAST Premier rankings; this currently places G2 Esports, OG Esports, and ENCE as the remaining teams.
Group A at the BLAST Premier Fall Final event consists of FaZe Clan, OG Esports, Heroic, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. This group offers no immediate favourite when comparing the IEM Rio Major 2022 results to the HLTV World Rankings. Many of these teams are still untested or struggling in the latter half of 2022.
One team who are struggling is FaZe Clan. The team, who are only one win away from earning the Intel Grand Slam, bombed out at the Legends stage of the IEM Rio Major with a 0-3 score. This was a shock to everyone, with In-Game Leader Finn "karrigan" Andersen saying “the responsibility is on me”.
FaZe face OG Esports in the first round of the Fall Final and last time they met at a BLAST event, OG Esports took the series 2-0. A good result at BLAST is needed to avoid any further concern around this FaZe roster. However, Pinnacle places FaZe to beat OG at odds of 1.492*.
Ninjas in Pyjamas were another team that exited the Rio Major in the Legends stage with a score of 0-3. This was another shock as they had qualified through the Regional Major Rankings event 3-0, taking down Cloud9. The roster has undergone a major rework over the last few months, with the signing of Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen. This caused confusion around the team as it didn’t resolve the earlier departure of Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz which left the team without an AWPer.
Many of the individuals on this team have a lot to prove. Hampus "hampus" Poser now finds himself as the star Rifler and Fredrik "REZ" Sterner has transitioned into being the main AWPer. If NiP can’t win this event, it becomes unlikely that they will make it to the World Final due to their position on the World Final Leaderboard. It’s a question of time for this roster.
Heroic will face NiP in the first round. This may be a favoured matchup for Heroic; however, there might be some hesitance as NiP have only played 13 maps together in official events, meaning there isn’t a lot of information on the squad. Even with Heroic placing second at IEM Rio Major 2022, the Danish side will have a tough time preparing for this matchup against a new NiP line-up. The old Ninjas in Pyjamas line-up won on both occasions when these two teams met previously at IEM Cologne 2022 and BLAST Premier Fall Groups 2022. However, Pinnacle favours Heroic at odds of 1.427* against Ninjas in Pyjamas. Can the Ninjas continue their winning streak against Heroic?
Group B consists of NAVI, Fluxo, Team Liquid, and G2 Esports. Fluxo are the obvious standout in this group. The Brazilian team qualified through Fall Showdown North America and features names that have played for MIBR and Luminosity Gaming. Realistically, they should finish last in this group, but with two of the biggest chokers in Counter-Strike also in the group, I wouldn’t be surprised if they finished in third place.
Unfortunately for them, NAVI are the first to take them on in the bracket and it would be a major upset if the CIS side lost this match. Pinnacle has Fluxo valued at 6.820* against NAVI and we wouldn’t recommend gambling on Fluxo, especially in a best-of-three match.
The bottom side of the bracket features Team Liquid vs. G2 Esports. This should be a very close and exciting game. Both teams had a good run at ESL Pro League Season 16 and then failed to meet expectations at IEM Rio Major 2022. Team Liquid have officially signed Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis and will be looking for their first trophy with the squad here in Denmark.
G2 Esports were one of the teams surprised to not make it out of the RMR. This is a roster stacked full of talent, currently featuring Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač, Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov, Justin "jks" Savage, and Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen. G2 build teams to lift trophies, and this will be their final chance to do so in 2022.
If either team doesn’t find success here, they’ll be setting their eyes on the 2023 calendar to prove they can win tournaments. This matchup can go either way. Pinnacle values G2 as the favourites at 1.819* and Liquid at 1.925* to win.
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We will only touch on NAVI briefly. Their opening match against Fluxo should be a guaranteed win, especially considering it’s BO3 format. Not only that, but Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev has just been awarded the Player of the Decade Award. If that doesn’t inspire him to end the year with some outrageous plays and out-of-this-world ratings, I don’t know what will.
This line-up isn’t their strongest but they are still capable of beating the top teams due to their solid structure. They should have no problem making it out of the group. However, don’t expect a game against Team Liquid or G2 Esports to be an easy ride for NAVI.
*Odds are subject to change.