Stories to Watch at the BLAST World Final 2022 Playoffs
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s last tournament of 2022 has reached its final stage, the BLAST World Final Playoffs. Only six teams remain in the race for the $1,000,000 prize pool. In this tournament of the best teams from throughout the year, who will get the last laugh of the 2022 season?
BLAST World Final 2022 Playoff Teams
Post-Major Blues are Real
The two teams that were eliminated in the BLAST World Final Group Stage were Outsiders and Heroic. That’s right, both IEM Rio Major finalists from about a month ago failed to win a match here at BLAST. After exerting so much effort and going through the most important games of their lives, its no wonder that teams can come off of it looking sluggish.
Outsiders won’t be too upset, seeing as they did win the biggest title in Counter-Strike. Heroic will be feeling the sting much more, as they end their 2022 campaign with only the BLAST Fall Finals trophy added to their cabinet. Regardless, the show must go on. Of the remaining six teams here at the World Finals, three have not taken home any silverware yet this year. OG, G2 Esports, and Team Liquid will join titans like FaZe Clan and NAVI in hopes of picking some up.
OG Come Out Swinging
When you see the likes of Natus Vincere, Team Vitality, and Heroic in a group, OG might go overlooked at first glance. They’ve once again reaffirmed that you should not ignore them, going 2-0 in Group B and securing a semifinals berth. After besting Heroic in a tight three map series that came down to double overtime on the new map Anubis, OG swept Vitality to claim first seed.
OG’s year has been a forgettable one overall. Their best performance came at the BLAST Spring Finals where they made top four and took a map off of the eventual champions NAVI in semifinals. Interestingly, OG did get top marks at both the BLAST Spring and Fall Group Stages, so maybe they’re just really good at BLAST groups.
That aside, OG has already matched that top four at Spring with a top four here, the question is if they can go any further. Their roster, which was revamped in the middle of the year, has shown high highs and low lows. They certainly have the potential to beat top teams on their day, but they’ve yet to show the ability to win big games. And with names like NAVI and FaZe Clan standing in their way of a title, OG will need to bring their best.
G2’s Uneventful Year
It’s no secret that G2 Esports want to win trophies, but has been struggling in that department for a while. G2 came into the year with a massive signing in Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov, a young talent from the CIS region. They also brought in an experienced in-game leader in Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen to help them reach for titles that have evaded the org for so many years.
After G2 went through the first half of the year without picking one up, they pulled the trigger on two more player changes. Replacing Aleksib was respected but undecorated IGL Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen. IEM Katowice winner (as a sub) Justin “jks” Savage was also brought in, replacing their most tenured played in Audric “JACKZ” Jug.
Despite a decent initial showing, G2 have yet to upgrade their placements. A top four at ESL Pro League S16 is the best this core has to show. We know how quickly things can change in the CS:GO landscape, and G2 are no strangers to switching things up. They are desperate for their first trophy in years after all. If they don’t manage to at least make a Grand Finals run here at the BLAST World Final, there is no guarantee that we see these five players together come 2023.
FaZe Clan Set Up for Success
Despite 2022 being a great year for FaZe Clan overall, recent failings throughout the back half of the year have put a bit of a scar on one of the best campaigns in CS:GO history. Most teams could only dream of winning a Major, IEM Katowice, and IEM Cologne in the same year. However, FaZe wanted more. They wanted a second Major, an Intel Grand Slam, and whatever else presented itself.
While the Major sweep dream is dead, FaZe still lead Intel Grand Slam race by a wide margin. If they want to attain that goal in 2023, getting some momentum going is imperative. Winning the biggest BLAST event of the year would definitely fall under that category. FaZe will likely keep this team the exact same going into the next year, so raising their confidence and morale could do wonders for them.
Both of FaZe’s Group Stage wins were 2-1 victories over Playoff teams G2 and Liquid. Perhaps the most important part of those wins was showing that they were comfortable playing both Ancient and Anubis, giving them a big lead in the map arms race. They wait in the semifinals for the winner of Team Vitality vs G2. All that stands in their way of capping off a great year in style is two more best-of-threes.
The BLAST World Final Playoffs begin on December 16th at 6:30 AM ET. The initial matchups are:
Team Liquid vs Natus Vincere
Team Vitality vs G2 Esports