Following yesterday’s Last Chance matches, BLAST Premier Fall Groups has come to a conclusion with six teams having qualified. Two more slots are there for the taking, and will be filled by teams making it through the Fall Showdown, with the eight teams competing for a total prize pool of $425,000 and 8,000 BLAST Premier points counting towards qualification to the million-dollar World Final at the end of the year.
BLAST Premier Fall Groups Play-In Stage Format
A total of 12 scintillating Bo3 matches took place in the Play-In Stage, with three sets of Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals followed by three Last Chance Matches. The teams were seeded into the brackets according to their performance in the earlier Group Stage, which you can read about here. The losers of the Semifinals and the Finals would be pitted in a one-off Bo3 in the Last Chance Matches.
The first set contained OG vs Complexity, with the winners playing FaZe Clan and the team winning that matchup going up against Astralis. The second set saw G2 Esports facing off against BIG, with Team Vitality coming up in the Semifinals and Natus Vincere being the raid boss in the finals. The final set of matches began with Evil Geniuses vs Ninjas In Pyjamas followed by Team Liquid and Heroic.
Nobody expected much from either Complexity or OG, especially after seeing their performance in the group stage. While COL remained unimpressive, OG turned out to be a dark horse, beating the former 16-13 on Ancient and trouncing them 16-4 on Overpass. Next up, they would have to face world beaters FaZe.
The most anybody thought OG would do was put up a good fight, but they took charge of their own fate in style. After surprising FaZe to win 16-10 on Ancient, they lost Mirage 16-9 and it seemed as though the wind had run out of their sails. However, the underdogs showed great resolve to pull off an unlikely 16-11 win on Inferno to seal a spot in the Finals.
Astralis are certainly not as intimidating an idea as FaZe are right now, and OG were clinical in their deposition of the Danes. They won both Ancient and Mirage identically, with 16-12 scorelines and even the same number of rounds on each side each time.
G2’s new recruits had been far from convincing in the lead-up to these matches, but BIG had been struggling even more. When the two met, the former showed just how far the Germans had fallen by defeating them 16-8 and 16-7 on Vertigo and Dust 2 respectively.
There are few things worse than one-sided matches in any game or sport, and the second Semifinal had three of them. Vitality began by destroying G2 16-4 on Vertigo, G2 struck back by stomping the French side 16-5 on Nuke, and Vitality dashed G2’s hopes by thumping them 16-6 on Inferno.
Try as Vitality might, though, they just cannot seem to get the better of Na’ Vi for what seems like forever now. The Ukrainian quintet stood tall and secured qualification by winning 16-10 on Inferno and 16-13 on Mirage.
EG has been in dire straits for a very long time now, and this tournament certainly won’t help their confidence. Up against NIP, the American outfit lost Nuke 16-7 before coming back to win Overpass by the same margin. The third map, Inferno, saw a resurgent NIP best EG 16-11 to secure Semifinals against Team Liquid.
Unlike EG, Liquid are not an embattled squad of mismatched players. Undoubtedly the best North American squad at the moment, they edged out NIP 16-13 on Overpass, thwarting a brave attempt at a comeback by the Swedish side after they had secured just two rounds on the T side. After that, the two teams went to overtime on Mirage, with Liquid barely coming out on top with a score of 19 to 17.
The final equation in the set was Heroic, who had shown up against FaZe Clan in the Group Stage to become the first team to beat them in a series in quite a while. Despite this pedigree, they were made short work of by Liquid, who shrugged them off 16-6 on Vertigo before pulling off a similar performance (16-8) on Overpass to qualify.
Last Chance Matches
With just one match separating them from qualification and a much more roundabout, uncertain path to the same, Astralis would be going up against FaZe, Vitality would lock horns with G2, and Heroic and NIP would live out a Scandinavian classic.
FaZe began proceedings in dominating fashion by winning Inferno 16-9, but Astralis surprised many by coming back to win 19-16 on Ancient. Undeterred, FaZe then pulled off the kind of performance that has become typical of them to beat Astralis 16-10 on Nuke, with Helvijs “broky” Saukants pulling off one of the greatest Ace clutches in recent memory to get them home.
Next up, Heroic lost by the barest of margins possible within regulation time to NIP on Inferno, came back with a bang to take Mirage 16-9, but fizzled out again to be hammered 16-7 on Overpass.
The last series of the Play-In Stage saw two sides with many historically epic encounters between them add another one to the tally. G2 drew first blood by taking Vertigo 16-14, but Vitality was equal to the task and grabbed Dust 2 16-13. This being a Bo3, however, G2 struck again to win Mirage 16-13, leaving Emil “Magisk” Reif and Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen to join their former teammates in Astralis in the Fall Showdown.
We will continue our coverage of the BLAST Premier series with the Fall Showdown in October, but join us before that for more CSGO action with ESL Pro League, which begins on August 31.