You can’t just frag your way to victory in elite-level CS:GO, and you need to stay up-to-date with all the changes coming up. That’s why NAVI and G2 fell so far since Antwerp and how FaZe and Heroic rose to the top.
All four teams in the semis of the BLAST Premier Fall Finals can boast a strong supportive structure beyond the pristine head-clicking abilities they can array against the opposition. Heroic’s continued rise is greatly owed to cadiaN’s continued growth as a leader, FaZe have the evergreen karrigan to rely on, Aleksib is already showing at NiP what happens when he can implement a protocol-heavy stratbook and Liquid have an empowered daps in the coaching role to build strong foundations.
The teams that didn’t do so well? Well, it’s certainly not the firepower department they’re lacking in. In an eight-team event where only the dead-last teams are eliminated before the playoffs, even a quarterfinal finish has to go down as a disappointment.
NAVI have not been the same since the Boombl4 fiasco and the continued uncertainty about the Ukrainian org’s pending roster decisions. It’s clear that s1mple and sdy don’t mesh well, and the star AWPer himself has asked for clarity via the media, and the fact that he had to do it in this way suggests some issues behind the scene.
Then there was G2, and, oh boy. Their only win at the event was over Fluxo, and even then, Mirage was a worryingly close affair. At this point, it’s nothing less than a pipe dream to expect this roster to challenge for titles. HooXi got the keys to the kingdom, the firepower, the memes, the dreams, the time to put together a stratbook while everyone else wasted their time competing at a Major.
Instead, they played predictably, if Liquid’s YEKINDAR is to be believed, showing little in the way of adjustments or improvement since the RMR. At least NiKo gave us this new gem of an interview meme:
It feels like the worse is yet to come. With Anubis right around the corner, it will provide new opportunities for crafty in-game leaders to find an edge on the opposition – though the diminishment of the M4A1-S will also hurt the big-brain bad-shoot players. (Again, spare a thought for HooXi, the mid-brain bad-shoot leader of G2.)
Expect FaZe to reassert themselves even more and for NIP to go even further than they have so far in what should be a spectacular conclusion for the year in Abu Dhabi. Just a little more than two weeks to go.
Only take merchants need reminding of this, but we all know Europe also has its fair share of, erm, overly loyal crowds. We remember “LET'S GO ASTRALIS LET'S GO” as the solitary, droning, repetitive chant and the aggressively helpful callouts.
Though the crowd in the Royal Arena last night had its share of supporters of both teams, there were clearly moments in the grand final where they went too far.
As the game keeps growing, it is inevitable that we find a solution for this. Unlike traditional stadium sports, CS:GO matches are a game of limited information. This is still not okay, and there’s a reason why we had the whole discussion on soundproof booths in the past years. Pay attention before dunking on strawmen.
Without a doubt, this was the greatest CS:GO showmatch to date. God mode, noclip, low grav, literal smoke, SMGs and scouts, and, of course, Lord Bendtner lighting up the Royal Arena – what more could you ask for? It was also nice to see s1mple smile again, and it was clear that the players themselves had a great time.
It was also an excellent vehicle for BLAST to introduce their BLAST.tv product to the wider audience and to provide a level of added value FACEIT never managed to with their own such initiative via the voting options. Make no mistake, they’re going in big on this – there’s a reason why the Paris Major features it in the name instead of their usual branding.
It goes to show that a good showmatch is all about creativity and a bit of effort, and there’s a ton of unexplored options here. No need to go for the ubermensch rivalry angles like the FLASHPOINT folks planned: when done right, these games are super fun, so leaning into the fun aspect is the best thing to do.
Header image via twitch.tv/blastpremier