So Group B of BLAST Premier London was an unexpected smash hit. With Astralis, Team Vitality, Natus Vincere and Complexity in attendance, the group seemed to be very cut and dry. However, what we were greeted to was some amazing Counter-Strike, history-making upsets and a return to form from the worlds best CS:GO player ”s1imple”!
Natus Vincere, Is This The Roster? (1st Place)
On the 24th of January 2020, Navi made the wise decision to bench Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács, replacing him with Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy from Syman Gaming. Since the arrival of the 20 year old Russian, Navi has finished 2nd at ICE London 2020 and now won their group of BLAST Premier London. Is this finally the roster that can become the number one team in the world and ultimately deliver a major for ”s1imple”?
Well, it’s too early to tell so far. However, the signs are positive; ”s1imple” is looking back to his best, ”electronic” delivered an MVP showcase at ICE London 2020, “Boombl4” is gaining more confidence as an in-game leader and newcomer ”Perfecto” seems to have slotted into the team perfectly!
In their opening matchup, Navi fell 2-0 to Team Vitality. Now, to be fair to Navi, they had just played a Bo5 against Mousesports less than 24 hours earlier, so I imagine they were very tired. However, the following day they had to play the Danish powerhouse Astralis. Things didn’t get off to the best of starts, having lost their map pick 16-6, it looked like Navi were down and out. However, they struck back on Nuke, the map pick of Astralis, taking a surprising 16-9 victory.
This meant we had the typical third map decider of Inferno. Now, this final map was 30 rounds of incredible Counter-Strike! ”s1imple” was in irresistible form, securing 30 kills, but it was ”electronic” who secured the 16-14 victory by taking down three members of Astralis whilst burning in a Molotov! I truly can’t do this series justice; you can check out highlights in the YouTube video below. Inferno, in particular, was a spectacular game of Counter-Strike!
Up next for Navi is IEM Katowice 2020, starting on February 24th. I hope they can use the momentum they currently have to at least finish in the Semifinals, although Navi will start Katowice with a tricky Bo3 against BLAST Group A winners FaZe Clan.
Complexity, Has The Juggernaut Arrived? Maybe… (2nd Place)
One of the biggest upsets in CS:GO history occurred when Complexity beat Astralis 2-0 in the second match of the opening day. Astralis is the number one team in the world and was predicted to beat Complexity with ease. Coming into the matchup, people were expecting a demolition, maybe even a 16-0! Astralis is the greatest CS:GO team of all time, while Complexity has been losing online games to Polish unknowns PACT! To put this victory into perspective, Astralis have only ever been 2:0’d in a Bo3 six times in the past two years! That really puts the accomplishment of Complexity into context. In addition, with this victory, Complexity became the first team ranked outside of the top 30 HLTV rankings to ever to beat Astralis in a Bo3!
During the Astralis series, I was actually in the building at the time, and I was lucky enough to get to sit next to Jason Lake, the Founder & CEO of Complexity. I must say his passion is absolutely incredible. It’s great to see an owner so involved with his teams. Check out the last picture below if you want to see what intensity and passion looks like!
After defeating the Danish powerhouse, ”BlameF” and his troops then went on to 2-0 Team Vitality before falling to Natus Vincere in the Grand Final. However, a 2nd place finish is enough to qualify them to the BLAST Spring 2020 Finals, starting June 19th!
With these conquests, Complexity has jumped from 44 to 28 in the HLTV rankings! One thing is for certain, Complexity is not a meme anymore. They are not a juggernaut yet, but they do have the potential to become one. We will next see Complexity at DreamHack Open Anaheim 2020 starting on February 21st 2020. If they can replicate the form they showed in London, they could definitely win the entire tournament!
Team Vitality, Well That Tells Us Nothing. (3rd Place)
The French superteam had an odd showing in London. They started off well, defeating Natus Vincere 2-0 on the opening day. Before losing their next two series, 2-0 both times. It was a rough showing for Vitality with even their hard carry ”ZywOo” failing to put up positive numbers. We will next see Vitality at IEM Katowice 2020, starting February 24th. Their opening match will be a Bo3 against Ninjas in Pyjamas. The French roster must improve from this limp performance if they stand any hope of making it far in Katowice.
Astralis, Ring Rust? Or The Start Of A Decline? (4th Place)
Group B of BLAST Premier London was regarded as the group of death and was supposed to be an easy weekend for Astralis. However, the four-time major winners had an extremely disappointing showing in London, getting 2-0’d by Complexity before falling to Natus Vincere to finish dead last! This is unknown territory for the Danish roster who, even at their worst, usually finish highly and never get beaten 2-0. I imagine these results were due to a mixture of overconfidence and ring rust from taking 60 days off from playing professional Counter-Strike.
I’m sure that Astralis will be back to their dominant best at IEM Katowice 2020. If not, might we be seeing the decline of the Danish powerhouse? Personally, I hope so, because I’m bored of Astralis being the number one team in the world. Astralis and Team Vitality will have another shot at making the BLAST Spring Finals via qualification from the BLAST Showdown, starting June 2nd 2020.
The final group of BLAST Premier London starts on February 14, 2020, with 100 Thieves, G2 Esports, OG and Evil Geniuses competing for the final two slots at the BLAST Moscow’s Finals!
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