BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 is the last big CS:GO of 2018. Like a few other tournaments of its type, this is another invitation-based competition that brings together a small number of teams, but all of them are world class.
As the name suggests, BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 is scheduled to take place in Lisbon, Portugal between December 14th – 15th. The event offers a prize pool of $250.000, features 6 teams and promises to offer an unforgettable show for CS:GO fans around the world.
BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 Participants
The BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 features just 6 teams.
- FaZe Clan
- Natus Vincere
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
In case this list looks familiar, these are the same teams that got invited at the previous BLAST Pro Series too. At that edition, held in Copenhagen, Natus Vincere won the title after a Grand Final against Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Event Format at The BLAST Pro Series
BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 takes place in 2 stages. The Group Stage consists of a single Round-Robin format group. In other words, each team plays a Bo1 match against every other team. At the end, the top 2 teams advance to the Grand Final, which will be a Bo3 series.
BLAST Pro Series Prize-Pool Distribution
BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 offers a quarter of a million dollars in prizes, which is more than substantial for such a short tournament. The money will go to the 6 teams in the following way.
- 1st place: $125K
- 2nd place: $50K
- 3rd place: $25K
- 4th place: $15K
- 5th place: $10K
- 6th place: $5K
Astralis has had an absolutely magical year, winning 8 titles in total at 8 prestigious events. There’s very little that zonic can criticize about his team, as all 5 players gave it their best and went from finishing 12th – 14th at the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 (before the big roster change) to dominating the CS:GO scene for 10 consecutive months.
Astralis has been such a force this year that it won most of the tournaments it attended. The other teams had to fight for whatever was left from this seemingly overpowered competitor, which was fortunately plenty, as CS:GO has dozens of big events each year.
Going into BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018, I expect Astralis to play in the Grand Final at the very least, most probably against MIBR or FaZe Clan. In both scenarios, the Danes would have a 70-80% chance of winning.
Cloud9 has had a completely different year compared to Astralis, going from winning the Boston Major to losing 3 of its players, one by one. First it was Stewie2K, who joined a struggling MIBR that was trying to regain its former glory. Then, tarik did the same thing, realizing that without Stewie, Cloud9 was almost certainly going to go down quite abruptly.
And finally, after months of getting nowhere, Skadoodle decided to retire from CS:GO altogether, which was a very strange decision on his part. At just 25 and with such a great reputation as an AWP-er, Skadoodle could have played at the highest level for at least 5 more years.
The replacements for these 3 players were 3 CS:GO veterans: flusha, Golden and kioShiMa. STIKO and FNS also had their chances, but something didn’t work. It’s still very strange to see the current roster of Cloud9 playing as a unit, as their cohesion and compatibility in terms of playstyle is questionable to say the least. But we’ll have to see what they can do.
In recent months, Cloud9 had multiple average results at important CS:GO events, where the team proved that it can still play CS:GO, just not quite at the level of the world’s best teams. These results included a 9th – 12th place at ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, a 7th – 8th place at ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018, a 9th – 12th place at ESL One: Cologne 2018, a 7th – 8th place at Esports Championship Series Season 5 Finals and a 12th – 14th place at the recent FACEIT Major: London 2018.
Going into BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018, I expect Cloud9 to finish either 6th or 5th, simply because the other competitors are world class teams with established rosters and a lot of practice behind. Perhaps Cloud9 can beat NiP and an underperforming Na’Vi, but everyone else should easily crush them at this event.
FaZe Clan has been struggling for around 5 months now, constantly getting to the Playoffs of big events but always being bested by one of the other top teams in the Quarterfinals or, at best the Semifinals. Karrigan and his team did manage to win however at EPICENTER 2018, where they beat Na’Vi in the Grand Final. But apart from that accomplishment and 3 other 3rd – 4th place finishes at various events, it has all been heartbreak for niko and the rest of his teammates.
Going into BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018, I expect FaZe Clan to finish 3rd or 4th, as the team has a lot of potential and many of its adversaries will be burned out after the currently ongoing ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals.
It took a while for YNk to reshape his team’s playstyle and create a smooth system that makes optimal use of everyone’s talent. The critics have been against this roster from the very beginning, simply because the 5 players have a lot of overlapping specialties and not enough support skills. This creates a situation in which everyone wants to be a hero but nobody knows how to create tactical space and backup for the team.
In recent months, Fallen and his teammates did better and better, having results like the following: 3rd – 4th place at FACEIT Major: London 2018, 2nd place at Blast Pro Series: Istanbul 2018 and 2nd place at Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals. This last success was registered just 2 weeks ago, in one of the most prestigious events of the year. So the team is clearly on an upward trend and plays its best CS of the year.
Going into BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018, I expect MIBR to finish either 2nd or 3rd, although I do have some reserves given how poorly things went for them at the previous BLAST Pro Series event, in Copenhagen, where coldzera and his team managed to lose every single match for some reason. The Bo1 format doesn’t seem to favor the Brazilian-American squad, although it is very likely that the Copenhagen disaster was a fluke.
Natus Vincere is fully reliant on s1mple and electronic’s form, so be careful when making assumptions about this team. In recent weeks, Na’Vi started to show clear signs of weakness, most likely caused by a distinct lack of motivation on the players’ part. It’s the end of the year, Na’Vi has played 8 Grand Finals this season, winning 4 of them, and it’s understandable that everyone wants a break at this point.
The boys in yellow might repeat their Copenhagen performance and win another BLAST Pro Series event, but they may also attend the competition without fully preparing for it. In which case, I don’t see them getting more than a 4th place.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
And finally, we have NiP, a team that played in the Grand Final at BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen 2018, proving that it does have the skill to beat anyone, including Astralis. And keep in mind that the matches are Bo1s, so the room for upsets is greater.
Based on its recent results, I see NiP getting a 4th – 5th place at BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018.