Stories to Watch at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals Playoffs
The BLAST Premier Spring Finals Playoffs for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive begin on June 17th. Six teams remain after the Group Stage, though only one will claim the $200,000 first place prize and a spot at the BLAST World Final in December. There were some big surprises in the Group Stage, leading to a very interesting playoff bracket overall.
OG Steal the Spotlight
Of the four teams coming into Group B, OG was by far the least likely to take first seed. Not only did they just replace two players at the end of May, they were also playing with a stand-in. OG’s longest standing player, Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski, missed the event for health reasons. Over half of the team wasn’t with OG three weeks ago. Even so, they still bested two of the three top ranked CS:GO teams in two days.
Counter-Strike seems to have a bias towards stand-in stories this year. First was FaZe Clan winning IEM Katowice with Justin “jks” Savage, then ENCE making Grand Finals at IEM Dallas with Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski. OG has already locked in a top four finish here at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, much higher than anyone could have expected.
Some might be quick to dismiss their win over Na’Vi as a result of the CIS squad playing with a new player and new in-game leader. However, Na’Vi going on to crush BIG the next day shows that the first match win did not come easy. On top of that, OG 2-0’d ENCE in the group finals despite ENCE having their full roster back. This was in part due to a fantastic performance by stand-in Abdul “degster” Gasanov of Team Spirit. The entire team did pull their weight, however.
OG will have a semifinals matchup against the winner of FaZe Clan versus Na’Vi. No matter who ends in that match, OG has yet another difficult test ahead of them. Ever since OG came into the CS:GO scene at the end of 2019, they have not won a single trophy. It would be quite the development if that first piece of hardware came here.
G2 in Prime Position
Meanwhile in Group A, the first two matches went exactly as expected. FaZe Clan and G2 Esports both came out victorious against paiN Gaming and Team Vitality respectively. The two teams met for just the second time in 2022 to decide which of them got the first-round bye in the playoffs. After losing map one, G2 came back to take Ancient 16-13 before demolishing FaZe on Dust2 16-5.
Now, G2 has a very good chance at claiming their first title in a very long time. Despite having countless second place finishes across top tier events since 2020, an actual trophy has evaded them for years across multiple iterations of this roster. Getting one on the board could help this potential-filled team gain some confidence and momentum going into the IEM Cologne championship next month.
Their side of the bracket contains ENCE and Team Vitality. Neither team will be a pushover, although G2 would very much prefer fighting Vitality, as they did beat them in the Group Stage 2-1. Even if they do get ENCE, G2’s form at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals has been better so far. With only a Grand Finals matchup after that, G2 are just two best-of-threes away from a title that has eluded them for so long. We’ll have to see if G2 are able to put it all together, or if their second-place curse continues.
The BLAST Premier Spring Finals Playoffs begin on June 17th at 10:30 AM ET with Grand Finals on June 19th at 12:30 PM ET. The initial matchups are:
FaZe Clan vs Natus Vincere
ENCE vs Team Vitality