Will ENCE or MIBR bring home the bacon with their newly formed rosters or will Zeus ride into the sunset as a winner in his last tournament with NaVi?
After a long and grueling major, six teams will head to Russia for the fifth BLAST Pro Series tournament of the year. Will ENCE or MIBR bring home the bacon with their newly formed rosters or will Zeus ride into the sunset as a winner in his last tournament with NaVi?
BLAST Pro Series is organized by RFRSH Entertainment and this will be the fifth tournament of the year. What’s new for 2019 is the introduction of the Global Final. The seven partnered teams in the competition will get points based on where they place in the standings and the top four teams at the end of the season will advance to the Global Final.
The following teams will be attending BLAST Pro Series Moscow:
The current standings are as follows:
This will be an important tournament for NiP, MIBR and NaVi in particular as they are in dire need of points. Silly Season is currently in full effect as teams are eager to make roster changes after the major. Both MIBR and ENCE will be attending with their new acquisitions, as kNg (MIBR) and suNny (ENCE) are set to debut for their respective teams.
The most recent BLAST Pro Series event was in Los Angeles, where Team Liquid came out victorious against FaZe in the final. Both Liquid and FaZe have been successful at BLAST events during 2019, but neither of these teams will be in attendance this time around.
BLAST has surprisingly opted to go back to the old format after having introduced a BO3 playoff bracket in addition to the BO1 round-robin group stage. The top two teams at the end of the round-robin group stage will now advance directly to the final instead of having to go through a BO3 semi-final.
As always, there will be a show match of sorts known as “The Standoff” where players will take turns to play each other on an aim map. At the last tournament, this show match was between the two teams that were eliminated in group play. However, with BLAST reverting back to the old format it is more likely that the team that finishes in third place will get to choose their opponent this time around.
BLAST Pro Series Moscow kicks off September 13 with the first six BO1 matches. The remainder of the matches, including the final, will be played the following day, September 14.
Skrilla will be hosting fantasy contests that run for the entirety of the event, from start to finish. Since the entire group stage is made up of BO1s with no overtime, the strategy appears to be simple — you’re gonna want as many players from the two finalists as possible. However, there are sometimes exceptions to this rule as some players that go out in groups still manage to outscore players that make the final. At BLAST Pro Series Madrid, where Astralis went up against ENCE in the final, autimatic of Cloud9 and s1mple of NaVi managed to finish in the Top 10 in fantasy scoring despite not making the final.
With this in mind, there are more ways to approach lineup construction than you might initially think, as it is very possible that the optimal lineup will include a player or two that don’t make the final. However, the safe strategy will (if possible) be to stack the two teams that you think have the best chance of facing off against each other in the final. Here are my thoughts on the top players from each range:
s1mple (NaVi) $23,98
s1mple wasn’t able to carry his team to victory at the Berlin Major as he had a bit of a lukewarm tournament by his incredibly high standard. However, I expect the order to be restored at this tournament. The skill distribution on Na´Vi is very top-heavy, with s1mple and electronic doing most of the damage for the team. So if you think that NaVi will make the final, I would recommend stacking s1mple with electronic who is in incredible form right now. This will leave you short on salary, but it is entirely possible to make a strong roster with the both of them.
suNny (ENCE) $19,040
suNny is the newest addition to ENCE’s roster. The former mousesports player hasn’t been in action since December of last year, which makes him a risky pick, to say the least. We just don’t know how he will perform after this long of a break from competitive play. However, if he is able to return to the form that he showed during his time on mousesports, there is no doubt that he will be a top tier pick in fantasy alongside sergej. If you want to play it safe, sergej is the better option. However, I would personally recommend stacking both of them for this tournament, as they clearly have the highest upside on ENCE. That is if you believe that ENCE have what it takes to go all the way.
kNg (MIBR) $17,640
I tipped kNg in my major preview, and he did not disappoint despite INTZ dropping out of the tournament with zero wins. He was completely dominant for his team, with a K/D ratio of 1.21 and 0.86 kills/round. It is still unclear what role kNg will have on MIBR, but I expect him to play the 2nd AWP role as he did on Immortals. This might hurt is K/D ratio somewhat, however, he will make up for this with higher headshot totals.
f0rest (NiP) $17,300
This might just be one of the riskier picks on the slate, as f0rest is coming off one of the worst performances in his entire career at the Berlin Major. However, if you’re willing to take the risk, f0rest provides great potential upside in this price range. NiP are unlikely to make the final despite the fact that they have been a historically strong team in BO1s, so f0rest makes for a far better pick in the group stage slates.
FalleN (MIBR) $15,280
FalleN may not be one of the best AWPers in the world anymore, in fact, he might not even be the best AWPer on the team now when kNg has joined. However, there is still value at this price. If you cannot afford FalleN, both LUCAS1 and TACO can be had for cheaper and both are great options. FalleN has slightly edged them both out in fantasy scoring since LUCAS1 joined the roster. However, if picking TACO or LUCAS1 allows you to build a stronger overall roster, they are the better option since the difference between the three is marginal.
The BLAST Pro Series format traditionally sets up well for upsets due to the BO1 group stage. The fact that several of the teams will be playing with new rosters further adds to the volatility. I personally think that MIBR and NiP are somewhat disrespected in the betting market. MIBR will be far stronger with kNg and I expect them to at least cover the spread in many of these matches. NiP have been a dangerous team in BO1s historically and much like MIBR, NiP will be getting a reinforcement as Plopski will be making his way back into the roster — a definite upgrade in firepower over Golden who played with them at the major.
I personally think that NaVi are deserved favorites to win this event, however, they are historically slow starters, so I will give MIBR a good chance at covering the spread at +5.5 handicap at odds of 1.87.
Since Vitality withdrew from the tournament, the organizers have chosen to skip the wildcard qualifier, allowing both forZe and AVANGAR to participate. forZe definitely has enough skill to potentially do some damage and if the oddsmakers choose to disrespect them, there will definitely be some value to be had since they have plenty of upset potential in these BO1 matches. Probably even more so than NiP since they will be going into this tournament with higher spirits than the Swedes.