BLAST Premier: World Final 2021 Recap Day 3

The plot of this tournament is getting spicier, as we keep witnessing some of the best matches of the... | 17. December 2021

The plot of this tournament is getting spicier, as we keep witnessing some of the best matches of the year. Battles among the grandest teams in the world rage on, and even the Lower Bracket is overspilling with high quality CS. Here’s what has happened so far!

Astralis vs NiP

In the elimination match, NiP fought against home-side Astralis. With one Danish team in Heroic already eliminated, all the pressure lied on Astralis to survive and go deep into the tournament. On NiP’s map pick of Inferno, they speechlessly fell to a 15-3 deficit. Despite a muffled scream, Astralis closed the map 16-8. On Mirage, though, the tides changed. NiP fought very closely the whole time. The Swedish side eventually won the map 16-14, thanks to incredible performance from REZ.

The match went to Nuke, where NiP rushed to a 8-0 lead. blameF single handedly revived the half somehow, as NiP won it 10-5. Astralis made a mini-comeback in the second half, tying it up 15-15 from 14-8 down. It was overtime after a sensational series of Counter-Strike. NiP lost the first half 3-0 and eventually lost the overtime 4-1.Astralis had completed the comeback, thanks to blameF and the veteran IGL, gla1ve.

Liquid vs Gambit

The first match of the Upper Bracket Semi Finals was set between Liquid and Gambit. The winner was to advance into the Upper Bracket Finals, and the loser would relegate to the Lower Bracket and face off against Astralis. The first map was Liquid’s pick, Inferno. A nice team effort saw them narrowly win the half 8-7. But Hobbit and co. found their footing in the second half and rushed to a good lead. Though Liquid attempted a mini-comeback, Gambit finished their meal, winning 16-14 eventually.

The next map was Vertigo. It was a close half again, with Gambit winning the first half 8-7. But they couldn’t be as clinical as in the first map. They failed to string in a lot of rounds, as Liquid took the lead and won the map 16-13. The Americans hadn’t waived the white flag, instead saying play on. Overpass was the third map. Though it seemed a strong map for both teams, Gambit activated god mode as they annihilated Liquid 16-2. With that humiliating defeat, Team Liquid were finally beaten and relegated into the lower bracket, where they will face historic nemesis, Astralis.

G2 vs Vitality

The two biggest teams of the French CS scene collided splendidly. Losing would mean facing a revitalized NaVi in the lower bracket. This meant that practically, the loser of this match was out. The match started on Vitality’s pick, Nuke. After a strong 4-0 T side start, G2 found their footing and thanks to incredible plays by NiKo, G2 ended the half 9-6 in lead.

But the second half was a pure disaster for G2, as they could only muster one T round in front of the rockhard defense of Vitality. The map ended 16-10, with zywOo’s squad having one foot into the UB Finals. The second map was Mirage, a G2 special. nexa and co. rushed to a 7-1 T side lead, but then Vitality found home in their double AWP setup. That meant the score at half time read an acceptable 9-6 in favour of G2. After a back and forth affair, Vitality nitro boosted to the finish line by winning 7 out of 8 rounds, winning the map 16-13.

An expected Vitality win, but still a highly interesting match. If NaVi vs Heroic was a nearly Major Grand Final matchup, then we’ve come one step further by having the original Major Grand Final. G2 vs NaVi.

As expected, NiP are one of the first teams to quit the tournament, alongside Heroic now. But the Swedish side did put up a huge fight, and the two Danish squads being the first two to be eliminated on Danish soil was a real possibility. I would’ve preferred that simply for the poetic nature of it all.

Astralis live to fight one more day, as the free-spirited Liquid comes up next. In IEM Winter, Liquid eliminated Astralis 2-0. I do not expect a 2-0 this time but Liquid might go through 2-1. The second LB Round 2 matchup is between Major Grand Finalists NaVi and G2. I place NaVi as a clear favourite, given G2’s overreliance on individual brilliance so far in the tournament. Who better to equalise NiKo than s1mple? Or b1t. Or electronic. God, NaVi is crazy.

Vitality have advanced to the UB Final, where they will face Gambit. It will be a close game, but I expect Vitality to go through and wait in the Grand Finals, while the rest of the teams fight it out through the Lower Bracket.

Two of NaVi, G2, Astralis, and Liquid are going to be eliminated the next time we meet. Which titans will falter?