With the conclusion of BLAST Premier Group B, it’s time to take a look at the teams from this past weekend’s action.
Na’Vi dominate with Perfecto
After dropping former awper Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs, Na’vi allowed superstar Ukrainian Aleksandr ‘Simple’ Kostyliev to take the reins as the main awper of the CIS squad once more. The team brought in Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy from Syman Gaming to bring in some much-needed firepower that was lacking with Guardian underperforming during his short second stint on the team.
Na’Vi had been expected to perform well in the tournament but in a group with arguably the two best teams of last year in it, Vitality and four-time major winners Astralis, and a revitalized Complexity roster who all looked to have something to prove at BLAST Premier, it was, however, Na’Vi who dominated, losing only their opening series against Vitality before going on to win their next three and finishing top of their group.
In their opening match, Na’Vi would be beaten 2-0 by French org Team Vitality, but would then beat current world number one Astralis and then get their revenge in a rematch, beating Vitality 2-0 in a reverse of their previous series. Na’Vi then beat Complexity cleanly in another 2-0 series, meaning they qualified in first place for the BLAST Premier Spring Finals in June.
— BLAST Premier 💥 (@BLASTPremier) February 9, 2020
Complexity surprise everyone with a return to form
The North American organization had been the subject of mockery due to owner Jason Lake’s comments about ‘Building a Juggernaut,’ however all those memes have been placed to the side after beating Astralis in the teams first-ever match together on LAN with the new roster.
Complexity had recently rebuilt their roster, switching to a European core while keeping only 16-year-old Owen “oBo” Schlatter from the previous team who had failed to perform in previous months. Under the leadership of Danish IGL Benjamin “blameF” Bremer and with the firepower of Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke and Valentin “Poizon” Vasilev backed by former major winner Will “RUSH” Wierzba, the team looked strong in the LAN environment with both great teamwork and strong individual skill being put on show.
Col took on Astralis in their first game of the group, beating the Danish superpower 2-0 in a shock result that showed the team had prepared incredibly well, counter stratting and outplaying the world’s best team. Following that, the NA/EU mix took on Vitality and took them out by the same scoreline, with another increasingly impressive performance. Finally, in the group stage final, Complexity would come against Na’Vi, who had looked powerful, winning two series in a row following their opening game loss. But this was a step too far for Complexity, who fell 2-0 in a spirited effort that could have gone the other way if a few small things had just gone their way. All in all, this group stage showed real promise for the relatively new team who will now be looking forward to minor qualifiers as well as the June Spring Final.
Astralis not there yet
The four-time major champions and world number one, Astralis had taken an extended break following their final victory in BLAST Global Finals in December and this break looked to hit them a bit more than anticipated, finishing bottom of group B during the Spring group stage.
Coming up against a fiery Complexity side, the Danish powerhouse had struggled to get going despite starting the first map 5-0, the next 17 rounds went 15-2 to complexity who shortly after would close the map out with a score of 16-11. A surprise result with Astralis previously 16-0ing MIBR on Dust2, however, the second map was Vertigo, a map that the Danes had grown very fond of in the past. On Vertigo, it looked very good for Astralis, who took a three round lead into their terrorist side. It was at this point at the halfway mark where Complexity made their stand though, winning ten rounds to Astralis’ three in the second half to take the map and the series 2-0, giving Col the upset of the tournament so far. A similar story followed in the Danes second game, losing 2-1 to Na’Vi in order to finish bottom of the group.
So what went wrong in these games for the team, well it came down to preparation and who could hit their shots first and in this series it was more often than not the Complexity players. Namely, Poizon, who won 11 out of 11 duels with the awp against Nicolai “device” Reedtz across the two maps. Former Optic Gaming man Emil “Magisk” Reif, was the only player for Astralis to finish with a positive rating of +4, whilst the rest of the team finished with a negative rating. Their next challenge comes at IEM Katowice in a few weeks against Cloud9, who similar to Complexity have a lot to prove going into the minor qualifiers in the future.
Vitality struggle for form
French superteam Vitality had a similar break to Astralis since winning Epicenter back in December of last year and this seems to have had a similar effect on the team despite a good start in the group stages.
The team started off well beating eventual group winners Na’Vi 2-1 however this is where the good fortune ended for Vitality. The Frenchman would proceed to lose the next four maps in a row across two series, dropping games to Complexity and losing to Na’vi in a rematch of the opening game of their group. This left them third in the group table and forces them into the Spring Showdown in order to qualify for the finals in June.
Going forward Vitality will also be traveling to Poland for IEM Katowice where they will play Ninjas in Pyjamas and will be hoping to regain their form from the end of 2019, where they looked red hot.