BLAST Premier Fall Crowns Vitality Winners After Going Undefeated
Team Vitality’s streak of Counter-Strike success continues. The French squad has taken the BLAST Premier Fall trophy and the $225,000 first place prize after going undefeated with only two dropped maps in their run.
A Flawless Start
Back in early November, Vitality earned a top seed by finishing atop group B at the BLAST Premier Fall Regular Season. The opening match of the Fall Playoffs saw them face off against mousesports who had recently qualified from the Showdown. Mousesports had recently been on the rise with their second-place finish at DreamHack Winter. Vitality swept them aside regardless.
Inferno was the first map courtesy of mouz. The home team had an optimal T side start before falling away towards the end of the half. Cedric “RpK” Guipouy showed up early to help Vitality win seven of the last eight rounds. The rest of the team arrived in the second half to back him up. Mousesports only got one point on their defense as Vitality sprinted to a 16-7 map one victory.
Dust2 was just as much as a stomp. This time, Vitality put their foot on the gas from the start. An explosive T side campaign led to an 11-4 lead at half time. One more comfortable close-out later saw Vitality advance to the next round with a 16-8 final score.
Their next matchup was against a dangerous Na’Vi team. Despite the match being a 2-0, this was the only time Vitality were really challenged at BLAST Fall. Na’Vi’s Nuke was up first. The score was incredibly tight the entire way through. The game was tied eight different times as the teams fought their way to overtime. In the end, Vitality were better at the team game. They earned a 19-15 win despite Na’Vi having four of the five top performing players with Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev’s 33 frags leading the way.
Dust2 was also a very close map on paper, but the scoring paradigm shifted. Na’Vi opened up their CT side with eight straight rounds before Vitality brought the score to 7-8 at the half. The same exact thing happened on Vitality’s defense when they took the score to 14-9 before falling to overtime. Egor “flamie” Vasilyev had already clutched once in OT, but couldn’t manage to save Na’Vi a second time.
After the very narrow 2-0 victory, Vitality had earned a spot in the upper bracket finals.
Dominating at the Right Time
Their opponents would be BIG, the team that Vitality took down in the group B finals. BIG opened up with a Vertigo pick. The first half was close, although BIG found a narrow lead while being on the slightly less favored T side. The difference in preparation showed in the second half when BIG shut down Vitality’s offense. The only way that they could get anything done was with near 1v5’s out of Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, but even that wasn’t enough.
BIG took their map pick 16-9, but that was fine in Vitality’s book. They would go on to completely crush BIG in the next two. Inferno was the pick of the French side. Vitality started on the T side and never stopped. An oppressive half full of offensive brilliance was only marred by one round in the middle. Other than that, it was a perfect performance to give Vitality a 14-1 lead. Two rounds later, Vitality closed out a 16-1 to take the most one-sided map in the tournament. Four of their players earned an HLTV rating of 1.44 or above.
The decider map was Dust2 and was just more of the same dominance. This time, Vitality were on the CT side first. BIG were given the courtesy of having a second round. They happily took their two round half while Vitality continued to beat them down. ZywOo nearly broke a 2.00 rating with a 24-8 K-D and 117.9 ADR. A 16-2 result put Vitality through to the grand finals as everyone just forgot about map one.
Everyone except their next opponents that is. Astralis needed a map to pick against Vitality in the finals. They went with the same Vertigo that caused Vitality’s only map loss of the tournament so far. Unfortunately for Astralis, the French side planned for this.
Vitality had reviewed their mistakes and planned ahead, turning their weakest showing at BLAST Fall into a strong opener. The first eight rounds all went to Vitality’s CT side. The rest were traded nearly evenly, but still resulted in a brutal 12-3 beating. A near perfect T half later and Vitality had stolen their opponents map pick 16-4 in no time flat. Kevin “misutaaa” Rabier went from a 0.84 rating on the map to a whopping 2.12.
Astralis did manage to avoid humiliation on Dust2. Their CT side start featured four bomb defuses in the first eight rounds. The Danish squad earned 11 rounds in the first half, giving them a good chance to bring the series to a third. Still, Vitality was not about to give up. Dan “apEX” Madesclaire put up an impressive 2.19 rating half to help bring Vitality back from the brink. It was just short of enough however, as Astralis won the final three rounds of regulation to secure the tight 16-14 victory.
Everything would be decided on Inferno. Astralis got the opening pistol round on their T side. It was the only lead they ever had on the map. Vitality then proceeded to win 12 of the next 14 rounds through solid defensive play from everyone. The small advantages that Astralis did find got snuffed out without fail.
Vitality would end Astralis’ suffering quickly after winning the second pistol round. With all five players at a 1.20 rating or higher, Vitality completed the 16-5 to be crowned champions of BLAST Premier Fall.
With this BLAST Premier win, Vitality has now won two top tier events in a row. They have been ranked as one of, if not the best CS:GO team for a while, but they now finally have the hardware to back it up. Vitality will be looking to complete their end-of-the-year trifecta at the IEM Global Challenge beginning on December 15th.