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BLAST Premier: Spring American Showdown Primer

With a ticket to the BLAST Premier Spring Finals hanging in the balance teams like Evil Geniuses, MIBR, Complexity Gaming, Team Liquid, FURIA Esports, GODSENT, paiN Gaming, and Sharks Esports all smell blood in the water. Prepared to battle through a single elimination bracket for the chance at greatness, only one team can reign amongst the best in the world. But before we talk about checkmate, who are these teams rounding into this event? First we head to North America where one fan favorite is aiming to draw a line in the sand. 

Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella’s Team Liquid are here to make one thing clear; they are the kings of North American Counter-Strike and the field is full of pretenders that lack their pedigree. Sadly, Brazil’s paiN Gaming will first have to battle NA’s golden boys if they want to have a chance at the BLAST Spring Finals, but nitr0 and co. are not likely to be letting many of these teams through without a few words. Well within the top 20 teams in the world, Team Liquid have names like Complexity, EG and the aforementioned paiN Gaming scratched off their list of recent games. They are a fan favorite for a reason, TL is going to show up at the Spring Showdown–you can bet on that.

On the other side of that coin, paiN Gaming are looking to prove they can compete at a Major level. Sure Vinícios “PKL” Coelho and his cohorts are among the privileged to say they play games professionally, but paiN isn’t going to rest on those laurels. No, they’re here to be the best in the world–and that means stripping the North American “kings” of their crown, then so be it. 

Complexity Gaming coast into the BLAST Spring Showdown riding a high. Besting GODSENT not once, but twice during the IEM Dallas closed qualifiers should put a feather in their cap for this event. They’ve recently battled the likes of Astralis and AGO close during the ESL Pro League Season 15 group stage. Johnny “JT” Theodosiou will have his hands full with MIBR if they plan to advance deep in the tournament. Is this where Complexity finally catches the wave or is this another crash and burn for the storied North American franchise? 

Sitting comfortably within the top 30 teams in the world, MIBR have been the gatekeepers to the upper echelons for some time now. Coming into the event with a staggering 73% win rate in the last 3 months, taking the souls of teams like paiN Gaming and 9z, MIBR come into the Spring Showdown with something to prove to themselves. They know they can easily compete with those attempting to climb the ladder, but against those on the roof? That’s a different story. Their dynamic duo of Marcelo “chelo” Cespedes and Jhonatan “JOTA” Willian will need to be in peak form if MIBR hope to book their tickets to Lisbon. 

Let’s make no bones about this; FURIA Esports are one of the favorites to win the entire event. Ranked within the top 10 teams in the world for months, FURIA are a force to be reckoned with and it shows. Doubt the Brazilian powerhouse? FaZe Clan, G2 and NAVI are some of the only names to actually best them in sets within recent memory. This is a world class team that Brazil can rally around. Eyes need to be fixated on Yuri “yuurih” Boian as he and his team do battle against their domestic rivals in Sharks Esports.

Speaking of Sharks Esports, they’re walking on clouds. On the road to besting Imperial 2-1 in the FiReLEAGUE Latin Power Spring, they overcame a 14-2 deficit on Dust 2 to draw overtime and eventually win the map. Frankly speaking, that is unheard of no matter the esport. Jhonatan “⁠jnt⁠” Silva and Sharks may look plucky when compared to the likes of FURIA Esports, but there is something to be said about confidence. The world counted them out against Imperial, who is to say this isn’t the same situation, copy and pasted? 

Epitácio “TACO” de Melo is one of the most recognizable Counter-Strike players in the world. And that’s exactly what he and GODSENT are playing for; recognition. They need the world to know that he and his team are not just cannon fodder for the top teams. While the consistency has not been there for TACO and the boys, their opponents suffer from a very similar fate. 

Evil Geniuses are battling through adversity at the moment. Failing to string together consistent success these last few months, EG are a desperate and hungry dog backed into a corner. In less flowery terms; they’re looking to upset the masses and should be viewed as a threat. Leaning on young ace Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte for consistent firepower, the team as a whole needs to catalyze significant change before all is lost. And in their mind the Spring Showdown is just the reactive agent they’ve been looking for.

Images via Valve.