Stories to Watch at the BLAST Premier Spring Final
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is going into its last tournament before the mid-year player break. With potential roster shake-ups and Counter Strike 2 on the horizon, teams are rushing to claim any accolades possible. Eight teams will be battling it out in Washington D.C. for the BLAST Spring Finals trophy, a $200,000 first place prize, and a guaranteed spot at the BLAST World Final.
|BLAST Premier Spring Finals Participants|
|Team Vitality||FaZe Clan|
Vitality on Top of the World
When this Team Vitality roster first came together at the start of 2022, the organization stated that while it could take time for the team to gel, it would ultimately lead to championships. About a year and a half later, Vitality won CS:GO’s last Major, cementing their place at the top of the game. Now, they’re looking to close out CS:GO on top as well.
Vitality is playing their best game since the team came together. The fragging power of Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and Lotan “Spinx” Giladi is enough to overwhelm any opponent. Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen and Emil “Magisk” Reif are constants that the team can count on, both for anchoring and playmaking. Their current form has led to back-to-back tournament wins at IEM Rio and the BLAST Paris Major.
While Vitality is the number one ranked team, they are by no means invincible. This roster has had the firepower ever since they picked up Spinx in late 2022. Their form just seems to fluctuate, as does the consistency of their calling. Just two months prior to their Major win, Vitality were coming off back-to-back tournament exits prior to top four. Those losses came to ENCE and Team Liquid. Granted, the former just won IEM Dallas, but at the time these losses were notable upsets.
If Vitality show up to the BLAST Spring Finals in the same form as their previous two tournaments, they should go far. That said, post-Major blues are as real as a superstition can get, with teams frequently falling off once that Major trophy is secured.
Heroic Try Again
Counter-Strike’s bridesmaids have had a crushing year so far. The pain of losing the Rio Major in the Grand Finals last November was slightly alleviated by their first trophy in over a year at the BLAST Fall Finals. With hope in their hearts that more titles were coming, Heroic have faced only tragic ends to their tournament runs since.
Second at IEM Katowice, Second at IEM Rio, top four at IEM Dallas, and top four at the BLAST Paris Major. That last one was extremely disappointing for Heroic, as they came in as a huge favorite to make a repeat Grand Finals appearance. Instead, their upset loss to GamerLegion will go down in history as one of the biggest in a Major playoff.
Team leader Casper “cadiaN” Møller is usually a stoic and optimistic guy. However, in a recent post-match loss interview, he took on a more pessimistic tone. A statement that this Heroic was “clearly not a championship winning team” might have simply been a spur of the moment thing, but one must wonder if this team will be making changes in the off-season.
The skill and game planning are clearly there, otherwise they wouldn’t be making top four at every big tournament. Heroic seems to just have a mental issue when it comes to closing our tournament wins. The second that they look to be outplayed, they’ll almost never recover. If the BLAST Spring Finals end in a similar fashion, this roster could very well see a shuffle.
Astralis on the Rise
One of the bigger success stories of the first half of 2023 has been Astralis. The Danish legacy team has been rebuilding for an extended period, trying to find the right combination of players to return them to championship contending form. With the return of GOAT AWPer candidate Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, that dream is closer than ever.
Dev1ce absolutely crushed it at IEM Dallas last week. His 1.42 HLTV rating beat out tournament MVP and winner Alvaro “SunPayus” Garcia of ENCE by 0.15. Despite this hard carry performance, Astralis fell in the first round of the playoffs after a nail-biting double overtime loss on Inferno doomed them to an 0-2 result.
Astralis is still trying to bring their young talent up to the level required to be a consistent contender. Their newest additions, Christian “Buzz” Andersen and Alexander “Altekz” Givskov, have been mediocre at best. The team’s ceiling will continue to be limited until every player is able to pull their own weight in big matches. Even so, Astralis games are well worth watching if only for dev1ce’s AWP highlights.
Cloud9 Need Results
The story of this Cloud9 team has been one of short-lived highs with more common lows. The former Gambit Esports roster showed insanely high potential during their early rise to the top of the CS:GO scene. Once they were acquired by the North American organization, they’ve won a single S-Tier tournament, IEM Dallas 2022.
Their recent results haven’t been all bad. A Grand Finals appearance at ESL Pro League S17 and top four finish at IEM Rio shows that this roster can still show up and play top level CS. However, failing to qualify for the final CS:GO Major was definitely a big blow to the perception of the CIS squad.
With the esports market in a limbo period and NA orgs taking notable hits to their funding, this Cloud9 roster is no doubt under scrutiny. It’s very possible that the organization is looking to rebuild a native roster for the launch of CS2 next year. As for now, Cloud9 will be looking to raise their stock by adding some silverware to their cabinet.
The BLAST Premier Spring Finals will take place from June 7th to 11th
The initial matchups are:
Team Vitality vs Imperial Esports
G2 Esports vs Cloud9
Heroic vs Complexity Gaming
FaZe Clan vs Astralis