A mere two weeks after Natus Vincere was crowned the first BLAST Premier Champions with an outstanding performance against Astralis, we have the 2021 BLAST season already coming our way.
BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2021 will be the first event of the upcoming season and will feature some of the very best teams the CS:GO scene has to offer.
The action will start on February 4th, and it goes on until February 14th with a generous $150,000 prize pool ($50,000 for each group).
Format and Teams
With the same format as the previous one, BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2021 is divided into 3 groups with 4 teams each.
Every match is BO3 (best of 3), and it’s played in a double-elimination bracket to determine the winner of each group. Each of the respective group’s top two teams will advance to the Spring Finals while the bottom two will have to fight their way through the Spring Showdown.
Breaking down the teams and groups we will have:
Group A (4th-6th February)
● Ninjas in Pyjamas (NIP)
Group B (8th-10th February)
● Evil Geniuses
Group C (12th-14th February)
● Natus Vincere (Na’Vi)
At first glance, Astralis is looking poised to advance to the finals without much effort, while Groups B and C are any team’s game.
Compared to the $1 million prize pool of the BLAST Premier Global Finals 2020, although $150,000 can sound low, remember that it’s just the start of the season. Prize pools will increase in further stages.
Each group has $50,000 to split and compete for the biggest slice:
1st place – $25,000
2nd place – $12,500
3rd place – $7,500
4th place – $5,000
First Matches Predictions
Breaking down match by match, we’ll give you our thoughts on who’s the favorites are heading into the first round of matches.
Astralis vs NIP
Heading into this match-up, one might get fooled into thinking Astralis has an easy task at hand. Although the Danes are the best team in the world currently, NiP should not be written off just yet, even though both the individual and team skills are on Astralis’ side.
However, in the last year, these two teams have battled 6 times, with NiP winning 4 of the 6 matches. It should be noted that Astralis was facing roster issues for the biggest part of those head to heads, so expect the Danes to be on the top of their game.
Astralis and NiP both have solid cores that have played together for a long time. NiP will be looking at their chances through Nuke, a map in which they have emerged as one of the top teams in the world. Picks like Inferno, Vertigo, or Dust 2 are expected to go Astralis’ way.
Overall, Astralis should have everything under control and are looking poised to sweep the Ninjas.
Pick: Astralis to win
Betting Site: gg.bet
OG vs BIG
Focusing on the second match of group A, we have a more equal matchup. Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen’s IGL skills will be put to the test against a BIG side that just got usurped as the German top dog.
The last time these two teams fought ended up with a 2-0 win for the BIG side, putting their record to 4-2 in 2020 against OG.
The map pool between these two teams is fairly similar. Both teams have strong gameplay on Dust 2 and Mirage, so we expect at least one of these maps to be played. Map picks as Vertigo, Overpass, or Train should almost certainly go BIG’s way.
Pick: BIG to win
Betting Site: Luckbox
Vitality vs Complexity
Moving into group B, all eyes are set on arguably the best player in the world, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut.
Without putting Complexity out of the equation, we can’t deny Vitality’s higher individual and team play skills. The French are coming into this match with 4 wins in a row over Complexity, and we don’t expect anything less than the continuation of that winning streak.
Complexity could throw a wrench in Vitality’s machinery via Mirage pick, but the map will most likely be banned since it’s where Complexity has the more significant win rate. Besides that, an easy win should be in order for Vitality.
Pick: Vitality to win
Betting Site: Unikrn
Evil Geniuses vs G2 Esports
After a weak performance on BLAST Premier Global Finals 2020, Evil Geniuses will need to bounce back in their upcoming series against a rejuvenated G2.
G2 did have a solid performance at the Global Finals, but were nevertheless taken out of the competition by the eventual grand finalists Astralis and Na’Vi in the upper and lower brackets respectively.
The last time these two went head to head was way back in November 2019, when EG defeated the French organization for 2-0, and a lot of things have changed since then, to say the least.
Both sides have entirely different map preferences, with G2 feeling most comfortable playing Nuke and Dust 2, while EG are at their strongest on Mirage and Inferno. We expect exciting matches, but with G2 ultimately coming out on top.
Pick: G2 to win
Betting Site: Unikrn
Na’Vi vs MIBR
Heading up the first Group C match, we have the BLAST Premier Global Finals winners and the current number 3 team in the world, Natus Vincere.
It’s nearly impossible to predict anything less than a win for the Ukrainian organization against a MIBR that is no longer a top-tier team. The new MIBR line-up is only two weeks old, and still has a lot to prove.
Without huge synergy between the players, it’s almost mission impossible to knock out a strong and motivated Na’Vi, especially with Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev playing on a hot streak.
The map choices don’t matter too much in this case, as the odds are looking stacked against MIBR heading into the matchup.
Pick: NAVI to win 2-0
Betting Site: Luckbox
FaZe vs Liquid
Two reinvigorated teams will be facing each other in Groups’ C last match.
Liquid recently hired the Brazilian veteran Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, an addition that will give Liquid a fresh look, an aggressive AWP presence, and another veteran voice to help Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip in Liquid’s quest to return to the top. This will mark the first time that FalleN will be playing with his new team, and will face off against his ex-teammate Marcelo “coldzera” David.
On the other side, FaZe might have an ace up their sleeve in the form Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, who in a twist of fate will play his first competitive match for FaZe against his former team.
The map pools are changing for both sides with the new members, and possibly we’ll have surprises. Nuke could give FalleN the opportunity to shine, but Inferno and Overpass are overall strong Liquid choices.
FaZe can come up with a powerful Mirage and Dust 2, but it might not be enough to break down the rival.
Pick: Liquid to win
Betting Site: gg.bet