Though cs_summit 6 is already upon us, let’s take a moment to consider who got the best and the worst out of BLAST’s biggest event of the year.

Winner: Jason Lake

Can anyone begrudge Jason Lake for the tears of joy? Not many made it through the meat grinder of esports for over fifteen years and he could have also simply taken a step back after the Dallas Cowboys acquisition, or at least subtly change his priorities. Instead, he’s still here, as involved as ever, genuinely elated and happy about his team’s surprise victory. We’ll keep the juggernaut memes around until the LAN circuit returns from its dormancy, but this was a more than well-deserved triumph for one of the most committed people in the scene.

Winner: BLAST

Turns out it only takes a couple of cracking tournaments with high-quality broadcasts to get back in the community’s good graces. Who would have thought? (See also: ESL, circa 2016.) Whether it’s due to shifts in personnel high up in the company, a necessity after the BLAST Pro model’s spectacular failure come Los Angeles, or a genuine change of heart, the quality of BLAST’s events has skyrocketed this year. From a revamped format and a wider pool of participants to a great content production team with lovely little touches like the branded backgrounds for the talents’ webcam in the middle of a pandemic, I found myself actually looking forward to their tournaments, which certainly wasn’t the case last year.

Winner: tarik

Congratulations to EG for winning the decidedly easier portion of the BLAST tournament: they were overdue for a strong showing. When you’ve got more rebrands than titles since your acquisition, the supposed 3 million dollar price tag can weigh very heavily on you. Though most focus on stanislaw’s Greek tragedy as an IGL, to me it’s the tale of tarik that could become the saddest of them all. Just a few months ago, it seemed like him and Stewie2K would be going head-to-head for world dominance under different banners, a sign that the controversial replacement of daps was a worthwhile move, and now he finds himself in the uncanny valley of CS players where intangible and external factors have to justify a poor fragging output. This could be his last chance to turn things around as part of this roster – I shudder to think where EG would have placed in the first half of the year mixed together with European teams in big events.

Loser: Thorin

It’s tough to spin “I got fired from a CS:GO tournament broadcast for a Twitter argument with a player” as a positive, and props to Thorin for trying his best. There’s no denying his literal talent as a broadcast talent, and you don’t have to look any further for evidence that BLAST had no problems using his ‘Mamba mentality’ segment in breaks even after he was gone. There’s also good reason to wonder whether the same thing would have happened had he tangled with a non-Astralis player, but this conversation was less of a holy war and more like a skirmish between elderly ladies at the grocery store for the last pineapple.

From BLAST’s side, this seems a clear-cut situation: no TO wants to be associated with something like this. As much as it’s Thorin’s right to dislike (or not work with) tournament organizers who want to “police” his social media presence, he does not have to sign a contract which allows a tournament organizer to do just that. If it doesn’t, and they did so anyway, surely we would have seen a second TSM-style holy war instead of yet another Twitter spree.

Loser: Astralis

Let’s not let dev1ce’s team off the hook either. Seeing Astralis miss a BLAST event may have been reassuring in 2019, but this time it’s a sign of their serious decline caused by the (hopefully truly temporary) roster changes. The Danes were much like Wily E. Coyote, flying through the air at high speed, only to suddenly realize there’s no ground below their feet, falling down in a comical manner and leaving a massive star-shaped hole in the floor. NiP, ENCE, OG all made it – they haven’t.

Then again, at least they’re still better than North, who are on the verge of falling out of the top 30.

Sore loser: MIBR

MIBR’s talent-to-caralho ratio has hugely shifted over the last few years for the worse, as evidenced by their spat with FURIA on social media over something as innocuous as a round restart. To me, FalleN’s recent Twitter complaint about having “barely no advantage” for going through the winner’s bracket was even more egregious. Back in my days, having to play one fewer series to get to the same point of the tournament was a big enough advantage of its own. Would you like to swap with the lower bracket team next time? No? Thought so.

Header image credit: BLAST