Ahead of the Blast Premier Spring Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, Astralis may be the favorite Group A team, but Ninjas in Pajamas, OG, and BIG will also fight for a spot in the Blast Premier Spring Final. Going into the tournament, we wanted to take a look at the teams involved, and speculate on who might come out on top.
First off, let’s go over the tournament structure. The group’s top two teams will advance to the Blast Premier Spring Final, while the other two teams will fight in the Blast Premier Showdown to earn the last Spring Final spot. This all kicks off on Thursday, February 4, with the opening round for Group A. The upper final and lower bracket will take place the following day, and the consolidation and group finals will occur on Saturday.
For Astralis vs. NIP, the former goes in as favorite. When it comes to maps, Dust2, Train, and Inferno are the most likely for the best of three series. If Tim “nawwk” Jonasson overperforms, NIP might stand a chance to win Train, but Inferno and Dust2 have been two of Astralis’ best maps in recent months. In the Blast Premier Global Final 2020, Astralis looked dominant in their matches, so we expect similar levels of dominance in this tournament.
How many handball memes are too many when we play @NIPGaming on Thursday? 😏
— Astralis Counter-Strike (@AstralisCS) February 1, 2021
The following match on Friday is Team OG vs. Team BIG. Although BIG beat OG during day two of the Blast Premier Fall Final, that was mainly due to Nils “k1to” Gruhne stepping up on the Dust2 map with 24 impactful kills. With the loss of legendary coach tow Tobias “tow b” Herberhold, BIG looks severely disadvantaged. On HLTV Confirmed, Owen “smooya” Butterfield said tow b was the best coach he’d ever had. With such a legendary figure for BIG gone, OG should have a clear advantage in the series.
If the above predictions ring true, Astralis will take on OG in the upper final, while NIP will take on BIG. Astralis will still be favorites against OG, and could win 2-0 to send them to the lower bracket. While OG is a good team, they stand little chance against a dominant Astralis, especially if the map pool is the same. The last time Astralis played OG, the maps picked were Dust2, Overpass, and Inferno. Astralis has a solid win rate in the past three months on each of those maps. However, OG has a 36% win rate on Inferno, 50% on Overpass, and 60% on Dust2.
In the hypothetical lower bracket, BIG will look strong against NIP. NIP has been severely underperforming in recent tournaments too. For instance, at the cs_summit 7 tournament, NIP lost all of their matches, except against Dignitas, a team that has heavily changed its roster recently. Also, NIP recently benched their primary AWPer: Simon “twist” Eliasson. For this tournament, NIP is bringing in Erik “ztr” Gustafsson to fill that role. ztr is a player from their academy team with no tier-one experience and only a few days practicing with the team, so it is doubtful NIP will exceed expectations.
Over in the consolidation final, OG and BIG would rematch if these predictions turn out true. In that case, we predict OG to beat BIG in the opening match, where BIG could win in the semi-final. If BIG does indeed lose to OG, BIG will need to analyze their results and improve going forward. With the maps always remaining the same in this matchup, BIG has the advantage in the consolidation final.
However, in the Grand Final of Group A for Blast Premier Spring, we tip Astralis to win. Even though BIG Beat Astralis in the groups stages of the recent IEM Global Challenge, the series was still very close and since then, Emil “Magisk” Reif and Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth have both improved their performances. Astralis went on to win the IEM Global Challenge tournament too, even if they lost during the group stages. While Xy9x’s rating during the BIG match was 0.88, his overall tournament rating was 1.03, showing an uncharacteristically poor performance against BIG.
Having said all this, who do you think will win Blast Premier Spring Group A? Let us know down below in the comments, and stay tuned for more information about Blast Premier Spring as the tournament takes place.