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Blast Premier Spring- NA falls short but starts well

North American fell short at Blast Premier Spring. A lot of questions surrounded both lineups;  EG were an impossible to predict line-up with too many variables, Team Liquid made some weird changes to a talented roster, especially with the addition of legendary french player Shox. The results weren’t the best, but this tournament wasn’t as bad as it looked on paper. 

The two teams were placed in the same group, which was on paper the hardest. Yes, Navi weren’t there, but there was no easy matchup. The new star-studded Vitality dismantled EG to start the tournament, while Liquid lost a close overtime game to Faze with Ropz. The lower final placed the teams against each other in an NA duel and here we could better gauge the two teams. 

With Inferno as the arena, this was an incredibly close game which brought good news for both teams. oSee looks crazy on the awp for TL and RUSH looked top of his form, despite expectations not being particularly high. TL eventually pulled off the win 19-17 in OT, but the game could’ve genuinely gone either way. Liquid lost another overtime match versus Faze, with the roster’s star power often being just better enough to squeeze out the wins. With this, both NA representatives were relegated to the Single Elimination Bracket. 

Liquid had the most unfortunate draw of all, getting an underperforming Navi which got much closer to their form when BO3s started. The boys in white and blue were convincingly sweeped with two monster performances by S1mple. oSee’s performances between this series and the rest of the matches were total opposites, with the young Awper being the least rated player in the TL lineup when facing the CIS giants. 

In the same round, NA lost their final representatives in EG. The team managed to get a clean 16-8 win on Overpass but lost both Dust2 and Vertigo. Brehze and Cerq never seemed to hit their groove, and while Stewie and autimatic upped their game from the previous matches, it wasn’t enough. Syrson had a monster performance and tabseN was as consistently impactful as ever. 

Yes, both teams were eliminated as early as they could, but this isn’t exactly bad news. Let’s consider the circumstances. EG and TL were placed in the hardest and most unpredictable group in the tournament. All four teams underwent considerable roster changes and their two opponents are two of the scariest rosters on paper in the world. Faze with Ropz and Vitality with Dupreeh and Magisk. What did these teams go on to do in the rest of the tournament? They both went through to the Spring FInals in the earliest possible stage by beating the likes of BIG and G2. 

In the second stage of the tournament, Team Liquid lost to the best team of 2022 in Navi, who are still ranked first today. The CIS giants took a while to get into their rhythm, and although they never reached their true Navi level, they finished the tournament in a scary form nonetheless. Now, BIG isn’t such an intimidating name on paper, but their performance during this tournament is nothing to scoff at. Behind Tabsen’s leadership and Syrson’s sudden surge in form, the German squad dismantled Astralis twice and lost a close 2-1 series against Faze. Evil Geniuses made them work for their victory and it showed.

 Team Liquid are the more impressive of the two rosters so far, as expected. Yet they are also the team who made the least changes, with Evil Geniuses fielding three new players with a new IGL in Stewie. Both teams will need some time to get their engines started, but they’ve shown here that the potential is there. oSee was a very pleasant surprise, NAF and Elige are as good as ever and, on the side of Evil Geniuses, Rush and autimatic haven’t missed a beat. 

Don’t let the results be the end of the conversation. This was a good first showing for both teams, let’s see what they can do with more time and more experience in both rosters. Although EG has no tournaments scheduled until April 2022 (Blast Premier Spring Showdown), Team Liquid will still play during this month at IEM Katowice 2022, so we might see improvements very soon. Let’s see what these two squads can do for a region that is in desperate need of good news.

Images via BLAST.