Blast Pro Series Sao Paulo took place in Brazil, on the 22nd-23rd of March 2019. RFRSH organized another huge scale event. The Ginásio do Ibirapuera arena was a fitting venue to celebrate Counter-Strike. However, the event in Brazil caused some discussion amongst the fans. What’s the role of Blast Pro Series in the current tournament circuit? As a result, the community has split into two groups. The first one, enjoying the current concept of Blast Pro Series whilst others are willing to have a more standard tournament. We shall take a look at some of these positions and review some of the teams.
Blast Pro Series - It’s For The Fans
There’s no denying that the Blast Pro Series makes for an entertaining show. In Blast Lisbon we saw Kiss-cam’s, something you don’t see too often in an esports event. In Sao Paulo, the opening had a small Brazilian carnival, with all the dancers and what not. I can safely say that Blast is more than willing to make an interesting viewing experience outside the game.
Due to Blast being a two-day long event, games are played simultaneously. This is great news for the casual fan. If he’s a supporter of, let’s say MiBR, chances are he doesn’t want to see Faze play Astralis. This way viewers can watch their favorite teams play, at least 5 times. Better yet, the continuous flow match-up’s give a lot of choice for the viewer on what he wants to see.
The Counter-Strike Purists
Say, you’re more than just a fan of a team, you’re a fan of Counter-Strike. An event like the Blast Pro Series Sao Paulo gathers the best teams in the world. You’re interested in watching all the matches and witnessing the narratives as the tournament progresses. Sure, you might see a local team enter the fray, for example, Space Soldiers in Blast Istambul. But it is still quite interesting to see how lesser teams perform in this environment.
The problem is that it can be very hard to get around watching all the matches. In Blast, there are three simultaneous bo1’s ongoing. It can be very difficult to choose what games you want to watch. If you don’t have another monitor to watch the games on, well then tough luck.
Then there’s the issue with the round-robin format. If you lost 3 games in a row, you probably won’t make it out of groups. But because it’s round-robin, you must play the remaining 2 games.
Welcomed Improvements to The CS:GO Scene
Like the current system or not, this is the way the Blast Pro Series works. Unanimously, there are some changes that everyone can agree upon. First of all, the stand-off format. It is a great addition, that makes 3rd place deciders and tie-breakers fun to watch. In the current climate of Counter-Strike, one can debatably say that money isn’t everything for the players. For them, it might be important to get the overall victory in an event and not the paycheck.
Because of the abundance of events over the year, there’s really no need to have a 3rd place decider. By having the 1 v 1 duels, it makes the event atmosphere that much more relaxed. The aim maps are quirky since you can surf in them, break the opponent’s floor and even get killed by a prop. That’s a very innovative approach to fixing 3rd place deciders.
Blast Pro Series Sao Paulo Team Reviews
Another great event for the Astralis core. They had 5-0 run in the groups, beat Liquid in a 2-1 fashion and secured the trophy. Pretty great stuff. However, it seemed like Astralis wanted to gamble in this event. During the tournament, out of the 8 maps they played, 5 of them were Dust2. It’s not a map Astralis are fond of playing. In fact, it’s the 3rd least played map for the core. When the teams were veto’ing Astralis and they saw that Dust2 was a playable option, they obviously went for it. But these Dust2 victories were close. 2 maps went 16-13, one 16-14 and 16-12 and a loss against Liquid 13-16.
Thanks to the way Blast Pro Series format works, we’re not too surprised that Astralis would go for gambles with their map pool. If they would’ve been punished more severely, then they would’ve stopped picking it. They will have some metadata to work with and understand their failures. Don’t be too surprised if they happen to secure even a stronger map pool.
Liquid was in an interesting predicament after the Katowice Major. With more context now, the loss against Ence in the quarter-finals of IEM Katowice doesn’t look that bad. On the other hand, their loss against Rogue in the opening weeks of ECS Season 7 was a surprise. And it wasn’t a mere map they gave up, it was a whole bo3. It appeared that the roster had a dark period in front of them.
However, it seemed that having the event take place in Brazil helped Liquid. They cruised their way through the groups. Liquid got a tie against Ence and a loss against Astralis. In the grand final, they also had a slight edge. The maps were Dust2, Inferno and Overpass, all in that order. Even though they did win the first map, they did get battered on the remaining two.
Many were assuming that the Ence project to lose some momentum after the major, which in all honesty was quite a reasonable assessment. What are the odds, that this team would continue to play in the top echelon of Counter-Strike? Apparently, some fine odds. In their second tier 1 event of the year, they can battle it out with the best teams. They took Astralis to a narrow 16-14 loss on Dust2, tied against Liquid and dispatched other teams in attendance.
Even in the exciting 3rd place decider, where they played against MiBR, all the Ence players won their individual 1v1’s against MiBR. They clearly got the guts and drive to stay in the top.
It’s safe to say that Faze was disappointing. Here’s another event where we witness FaZe without a proper in-game leader. Since Niko has taken up the role, FaZe has been looking dire. Their terrorist side seems to be the one saving grace. But the ct side defensive was dreadful. It doesn’t help that 2 players out of five have been struggling individually. Ever since the return of Olofmeister, he just can’t put in the numbers. A similar case can be made for AdreN. If the team wants to continue to climb the competitive ladder, they will have to make some changes.
When MiBR finally had a 5 player Brazilian line-up, many of the fans could rejoice. The team showed some promising stuff with their two Americans. But now that they had an actual Brazilian line-up, it’s time to show the world what they’re capable of. And in Katowice, we saw glimpses of that, with a narrow, loss to Astralis. However, not making the semi-finals of WESG and losing all 5 maps in Blast Pro Series must be a wake-up call.
If you witnessed how they played, you saw some depth. But there were rounds where the MiBR players would know the position of their opponent and still struggle to kill him, whilst double peeking. The potential is definitely there for MIBR, but they must first put their heads together and iron out the kinks.