The end of the year is rapidly approaching and we’re running out of big-ticket CS:GO tournaments to enjoy. This means that the meme machines and stumbling squads also need to make use of this last opportunity to end the season on a high. G2 fans won’t enjoy looking back at the highlights of 2022, but there’s still one last chance of redemption.

Bad results. Bad results everywhere

G2’s set of results in 2022 make for grim reading for an org of its stature. No title wins and just a single grand final appearance – back in the end of February in Katowice, where this time it was FaZe and not NAVI who 3-0’d them – and disappointment after disappointment since then. ESL Pro League Season 15, the Antwerp Major, Dallas, Cologne, hell, add Rio to the list by way of their absence: for such a star-studded squad with so much firepower, this year has been shockingly poor for G2.

Worse still, the two decent results (3-4th finishes at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals and ESL Pro League Season 16) came close to each other, the first at the tail end of Aleksib’s tenure and the second shortly after HooXi’s addition, who then went on to lead the team to a disastrous RMR. Coach XQTZZZ is gone, and who knows how long the new IGL will survive: lucky for them, Fluxo seem like a lock-in for the last-place finish in Group B, leaving NAVI and Liquid as their opponents for the better playoff seeding.

There’s also the spicy storyline of their former in-game leader on the other side of the bracket: NIP are looking to get out from Group A at the expense of either FaZe, Heroic or – oh la la – OG. The new-look Ninjas followed up a great RMR with a poor Major, and this would be a great time to showcase something great now that Aleksib had the time to implement his protocol-heavy stratbook.

Looking for a pick-me-up?

Not that others are coming into the event in a strong state: FaZe also have a lot of questions to answer. Say what you will about how the brackets shook out in Rio (and there are certainly valid reasons to criticize the format), karrigan was the architect of his own downfall against BNE with a questionable veto pick and some volatile mid-round calls in crucial moments on Mirage.

The team has not been anywhere near its pristine pre-break form since the players returned to active duty, and though they already have their spot secured for the World Final thanks to their victory in Antwerp, they are way too far off the pace currently. Father Time will not stop bearing down on karrigan and this is as good a setup as he can dream of to maintain his place on top of the leaderboards.

And what about NAVI? What’s next for the roster and what went wrong for s1mple in Rio? How long will sdy last on the team (not long, if OverDrive is to be believed) and what’s up with the IGL situation? So many questions – no good answers in sight. Every passing event will give us a better idea of the next steps of the org.

There are further wrinkles in this tale. Besides the direct invitation to the World Finals bestowed to the winner, there are also three spots on offer based on the global leaderboard. This, plus the fact that FaZe, NAVI and Vitality already secured their spots based on big event wins elsewhere in the circuit, means that not all teams have something to play for.

Heroic, OG and G2 all seem to be in a great position to qualify via one of the three spots, but Team Liquid and NIP can still shake up the proceedings. With 4000 points up for grabs for the winners, upset outcomes are still quite possible.

BLAST Premier Fall Final: schedule and format

All CS:GO matches are best-of-three in the tournament in the BLAST Premier Fall Final. Two 4-team double-elimination groups seed the teams into the playoffs (winners go to the semifinals, the runners-up and third-place finishers go to the quarterfinals while the teams on the bottom get eliminated. The winner of the playoff bracket directly qualifies for the World Finals while the rest of the teams earn points for the leaderboards.

The group stage runs on November 23 and 24, and the playoffs play out between the 25th and the 27th. A prize pool of $425 000 is up for grabs in Copenhagen’s Royal Arena, with the eventual winner getting half of the spoils.

The event feeds into the World Final, which will take place between December 14 and 18. NAVI, FaZe Clan, Team Vitality and Outsiders are already confirmed for the year-ending bonanza of CS. There, the teams will battle it out for their share of a cool million dollars.

Photo credit: HLTV / theMAKKU