Many of the top CS:GO teams arrive to the BLAST Premier Spring 2020 Showdown with a point to prove, especially after a string of disappointing online results. Can they turn the tide or is this the point were the pretenders take over for good?
Fnatic and mousesports both seemed like strong contenders going into this chaotic period of Counter-Strike, with strong and consistent results matched by quality in-game leaders and good team chemistry. In fact, there's a good argument to be made that the two teams are very similar in nature in terms of their current lineups. They also followed a similar trajectory once the LAN circuit fell apart amidst the pandemic, though not in the way most observers expected them to go: both sides posted highly disappointing results and performances at ESL One: Road to Rio and also failed to impress at DreamHack Masters Spring 2020. This tournament serves as yet another opportunity for them to turn things around (notably for Fnatic who were rightly incensed at their lack of an invitation to the main event earlier this year), and if they once again fail to deliver, it's inevitable that questions will be asked about their respective setups and their inability to adapt to the post-Krieg meta.
Of course, there's also Astralis to consider, the juggernaut rapidly shedding its armor and weaponry amid swirling rumours of financial difficulties and multiple top players temporarily replaced by Danish has-beens. It's the quirk of the calendar that both Fnatic and Astralis are still in the running at DreamHack Masters Spring 2020, though their playoff matches won't take place until this event has concluded. They both start from the lower bracket this time around: yet another sign of their current concerns.
It may seem like a lifetime ago now but the tail end of 2019 promised a true intercontinental tussle in CS, with two strong NA teams finally emerging as strong and stable contenders to their European counterparts. First, it was Team Liquid who stormed the world, winning the second season of Intel Grand Slam in lightning fashion, and though they fell off during the player break before the Berlin Major, it seemed like NRG-turned-EG will be more than able to carry the torch, demolishing Astralis soon thereafter in New York. Now, both sides are struggling to keep up even with their domestic rivals, in a way which makes even the most seasoned analysts scratch their head. The players are good, the teams are alright, what is wrong and how to fix it? No one knows at this moment: the only thing that seems to be clear is the rapid rise of other American sides, with daps' Gen.G and even the new-look Cloud9 bringing their guns to bear amid a string of impressive performances.
Meanwhile, MIBR continues to chop and change their lineup, and it's a sign of how far they've fallen that FURIA's players never really entertained the thought of jumping ship. The results certainly proved them right: FalleN's men are struggling to stay in the top 20 at this point while FURIA currently sit in eighth place, sandwiched between FaZe and EG on the HLTV rankings.
Gen.G and FURIA to win the North American Showdown
Vitality and MAD Lions to win the European Showdown