BLAST Premier Spring Series is set to get underway in London, England.
BLAST Premier Spring Series is about to get underway in London, England. In this article, we will be breaking down the format, the schedule, and the odds for the first match week of this new tournament series.
The BLAST Premier Spring Series is a newly formed tournament series hosted by RFRSH Entertainment. Twelve teams have been invited to take part in the regular season in London, England. All of the BLAST regulars have been invited, but we will also see some new faces make their debut as teams like Vitality and Complexity are among the invited teams.
Unlike many BLAST tournaments in the past, all of the matches will be best-of-three this time around. There will be three double-elimination groups (GSL) and the top two teams from each group will advance to the Spring Finals, a separate tournament set to take place in Moscow, Russia, in June. The bottom two teams will get a second chance of sorts, as they will advance to a tournament called the Spring Showdown where two additional spots will be up for grabs.
The schedule for the BLAST Premier Spring Series is as follows:
Group A (Match Week 1) January 31 - February 2
Group B (Match Week 2) February 7 - February 9
Group C (Match Week 3) February 14 - February 16
Team Liquid are coming in as the favorites to win Group A and for good reason. The North American side had an excellent year in 2019, winning the coveted Intel Grand Slam after wins at IEM Sydney, DreamHack Masters Dallas, ESL Pro League Finals, and the prestigious ESL One Cologne. The addition of Stewie2k brought some much-needed fire to a team that has previously struggled mentally in big moments. In addition, EliGE was a complete revelation for Liquid and he was easily the best pure rifler of the year in my opinion. Liquid dropped off after the player break in August and have not won a big tournament since then, falling at the hands of Astralis at the BLAST Global Final and the ECS Season 8 Finals.
FaZe had a bit of an odd year in 2019, with several players being brought in to replace karrigan who was kicked from the team in December of 2018. Their results in big tournaments were disappointing, to say the least, but they did have a lot of success at BLAST events - winning BLAST Pro Series Miami and Copenhagen. The final against Liquid in Miami was particularly memorable, where rain had a mindboggling start to the map with a scoreline of 21–1–0 after just eight rounds. However, it needs to be said that they benefitted greatly from the BO1 format at these tournaments. Regardless, the skill on this team is matched by few, and the recent addition of coldzera is a good one. They still lack a pure AWPer and in-game leader, which is the big weakness of this team.
Much like FaZe, MIBR went through several different iterations throughout 2019. However, the difference between the two is that MIBR failed to win a single title. After coldzera left the team, MIBR had the impossible task of replacing one of the world’s top players. With many of the Brazilian talents stuck with big buy-outs, they eventually settled for kNgV- ― a player who is wrapped in controversy after threatening to kill the Canadian player FNS, in addition to using homophobic slurs on Twitter after failing to show up to a final in time. Despite his antics, kNgV- has proven to be one of the best players in the region and it was likely someone that MIBR had been eyeing for a while. However, the results continued to be absent which forced MIBR to make yet another roster move. Their latest addition is the Argentinian wonder-kid, meyern ― someone who I have been raving about in my articles for a long time now. This is a player with excellent mechanical ability who has shown great promise playing for Isurus and Sharks in the South American region. meyern will be a nice pick in fantasy, but in terms of betting, I am still skeptical when it comes to MIBR.
The last year has been a roller-coaster ride for NiP. We have seen the organization accused of questionable business practices from big names within the community, and we have said goodbye to legends like GeT_RiGhT and f0rest who had been with the organization since the very start. The team is now made up of what I would describe as unpolished diamonds, a group of players that have been touted as big talents in the past but have yet to fulfill their true potential. Their newest addition, nawwk, is the latest big talent to come out of Sweden. This will be his first tournament with the team, and he is expected to be the secondary AWPer for the team ― a role that he did not have on GamerLegion and x6tence. This move has been widely questioned by pundits and fans alike, but I don’t see it as a major issue since both nawwk and twist are proficient riflers and can easily switch if things don’t work out. A move that has gone under the radar somewhat is that threat has returned to the coaching team, and this will definitely benefit them moving forward. The question is how they will cope without f0rest. He has been the best player on NiP for the last few years in my mind and his absence will be a big hit to the team.
The interesting thing about this is that the top two teams advance directly to the Spring Finals. This means that the main objective for the teams in the group final has been reached even before the match has been played. For that reason, I would not rule out an upset as the teams might not be fully motivated to win the group. However, you would still favor Liquid to get things done here at odds of 2.10 considering the BO3, double-elimination format.
The truth is that Liquid have had these teams in an iron grip for most of 2019. FaZe are the only ones to have beaten Liquid in a BO3 on LAN out of these teams, which was in the final of BLAST Miami. NiP were the last team to beat them, in a BO1 at BLAST Copenhagen. MIBR didn’t beat Liquid a single time on LAN, but they were able to topple them twice in BO3s online.