It’s been just over a month since we were graced with one of the greatest finals in CS:GO history at IEM Cologne. Now, the two teams that battled it out, FaZe Clan and Natus Vincere, are back to fight for a spot in the BLAST Premier Fall Finals 2022.
CS:GO fans have been eagerly awaiting the end of the player break. BLAST are kicking of the new season with BLAST Premier Fall Groups, providing us with four of HLTV’s top five teams. Joining the aforementioned top dogs are the likes of Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas. The other eight teams attending have almost all made changes to their rosters during the player break. This could certainly lead to some interesting results.
BLAST have always challenged the format that more traditional tournament organisers, such as ESL and PGL, take on for their S-tier events. This is instantly noticeable with the entire first weekend consisting of solely best-of-one matches. This isn’t unusual for BLAST, who in the past have run entire tournaments around the Bo1 format. Luckily, the second weekend returns to a more familiar format for Counter-Strike fans with 12 best-of-three matches.
In this preview we will be covering how to strategically navigate BLAST Premier’s betting markets via a look at Pinnacle’s CS:GO odds. We will be breaking this piece down into the three groups to discuss the potential of each of the attending teams.
Group A is looking to be the most well-rounded group of the tournament. It features Team Vitality, OG, NiP, and Astralis. This places HLTV’s fourth, fifth, and seventh-ranked teams into a single group. It’s an extremely tough call to say who will top this group, especially with each game being a Bo1.
Before we discuss the opening fixtures, it should be noted that Vitality and OG have upgraded their firepower over the player break. Vitality were able to add ENCE’s star player, Lotan “Spinx” Giladi, whilst OG have made a transition in the AWP role with Abdul “degster” Gasanov coming in to the team. Both players are considerable upgrades that could help push these two teams, who have been struggling to find their footing in recent months.
The opening games for Group A are Vitality vs. OG and NiP vs. Astralis. OG and Astralis are two of the many teams currently fighting their way through the RMR Qualifiers. Astralis, being ranked number four in the world, should have had an easy run; however, they were knocked out by Aurora, a team many won’t have heard of. NiP are priced at 1.833* to win their opening fixture against Astralis, which could be a good bet based on the results of the RMR Qualifier.
OG have also looked a bit worse for wear at the RMR Qualifier, having not yet qualified. Vitality and OG will both field a new player in their matchup, which makes it slightly unnerving, given the Bo1 format. However, Vitality are definitely the favoured team here, boasting an impressive three major winners in their roster.
When you take into account that one of those three major winners isn’t their star AWP Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, this team could pose a threat to some of the top teams. Vitality are priced at 1.684* for this matchup and it seems to be for good reason.
Group A is extremely tough and any of these four teams could take first place in the Bo1 format.
Group B comes with a lot of questions. Is one change for Complexity enough? Will NAVI be playing without Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev? Will G2 be able to beat the top teams? Are Team Liquid going to show the same level of competition they showed at IEM Cologne? Let’s begin answering these by discussing the first matchup.
NAVI vs. Complexity kicks off Group B and initially looks very one-sided, with the HLTV community favouring NAVI by 81.4%. This is a fair assessment with Complexity having a 27.3% win rate in the last three months. When you compare that with the 76.9% win rate that NAVI hold, not to mention the difference in the calibre of teams, this could be one of the safer bets to take.
However, this could change if the best player in the world, “s1mple”, doesn’t play. There has been much speculation that he wants to take a break and if he does, Complexity’s current price of 3.700* might look more enticing.
G2 and Liquid are both teams with new rosters and actually Liquid are yet to officially complete their line-up. Currently, Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis is standing in for the fifth spot as a deal is yet to be agreed upon with his former team Virtus Pro. He has played one tournament with the North American roster and significantly improved their results, compared to what they had been getting, helping them gain a 5-6th place finish at IEM Cologne.
G2 were unable to make it to the playoffs at IEM Cologne. As a result, the team benched two of their players to make way for former Copenhagen Flames IGL Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen and CS:GO’s most successful stand-in Justin “jks” Savage. G2 have been through many In-game Leaders and will be hoping “HooXi” is what they require to win trophies. Pinnacle prices G2 at 1.735* and Liquid at 2.120* for their matchup. This is a game that could go either way with two very exciting teams.
FaZe come into Group C as the clear favourites, coming off the back of their win at IEM Cologne. Evil Geniuses, Heroic, and BIG make up the remainder of Group C. It has to be said that EG, who are now playing with a stand-in, aren’t looking very promising. They are priced at 6.040* in their opening fixture which doesn’t come as a shock given the 216-place difference in world rankings between them and their opponents FaZe.
FaZe vs. EG is a game that we can consider to be a write-off for EG. It wasn’t too long ago that they acquired Party Astronauts and Carpe Diem to create a 15-man roster, a project that is yet to field any real results. They have used this to try and bolster their main roster, recently promoting Jadan “HexT” Postma from the EG.CD roster. However, much like their recent results, the signings they’ve made have been extremely underwhelming. FaZe are clear favourites in this matchup, currently priced at 1.139*.
BIG ended the competitive season with a few good results, giving us a glimpse into what German CS:GO could be capable of. However, both BIG and their opponents Heroic struggle when it comes to LAN events. There has been much speculation around BIG’s AWP Florian “syrsoN” Rische, who has been said to play and practice from his own bedroom, rather than with the rest of the team at their facility.
BIG vs. Heroic is a tough game to call and could depend on how well Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard has been able to fit into the Danish side. Heroic are favoured in this matchup, being priced at 1.769* compared to BIG at 2.080*.
BLAST Premier Fall Groups will be an interesting event, spanning two weekends in September, with some of the best teams in Counter-Strike. Best of luck with your action this week!
*Odds are subject to change.