Counter-Strike action makes a huge return on January 19 with the Blast Premier Global Finals. The best performing teams at Blast events in 2020 battle it out in one epic event featuring a whopping $1-million prize pool and the most prestigious Blast trophy.
This also means the return of one of the most popular games for esports betting – something that no doubt many fans and bettors alike have been looking forward to. We’ll finally get to take in some FPS action and wager on our favorite head shooters.
Who Qualified for Blast Premier Global Finals?
The Blast Premier Global Finals are set to be smaller than the usual CS:GO event, with just eight teams participating. This includes the winners of the Spring and Fall finals, as well as the four highest-ranked teams on the Blast ranking.
As you might expect, we’ll see the three top dogs of 2020: Astralis, Vitality and Natus Vincere, as well as the best of North America in Furia, Evil Geniuses and Liquid. They’re joined by Complexity and G2 Esports, to make up our total of eight elite squads.
When it comes to the event itself, we dive straight into the playoffs with a double-elimination system. This means that one loss relegates teams into the lower bracket, where they still have a chance to reach the grand finals, and two losses means elimination.
Odds as of January 4 at Bovada
How Has The Winter Break Affected Teams?
With the Blast Premier Global Finals being the first event of 2021, there will be one question on everyone’s minds: How has the winter break affected teams?
It’ll be almost a month since the last competitive match for most of these teams (and even longer for some), which includes at least a few days of complete absence from the game and practice due to the holidays.
As such, it’s difficult to tell exactly how teams will play coming into the event. Maybe players have finally had time to catch a break and will come back stronger than ever, or they’ll be rusty and we’ll see quite unrefined gameplay for the first few matches.
Even though there are no doubt players who have been preparing and practicing, there’s only so much you can do without actually playing at the real event with the incredibly high stakes. All we can really do is wait and see how it all plays out.
Astralis Looks to Continue Dominant Era
No matter which team you’re a fan of, or how hard it may be to admit, there’s no denying Astralis is the greatest Global Offensive squad of all time. They’ve been absolutely dominant since 2018 and for two years straight it seemed that no one could touch them.
They slowed down a tad in 2020 due to fatigue and injury but seemed to have regained their legendary form as the full squad reunited at the end of the year.
Now, they come into 2021 hot off the back of two tournament wins in December and look to once again become the untouchable side that wins just about everything.
Is 2021 Vitality’s Year?
While Astralis’ history is impressive, we may have just seen the rise of another historic squad in 2020. Despite starting off with a mixed bag of results, Vitality had an amazing second half of 2020. The French team played in 12 tournaments from June to December and finished in the top two a mind-blowing eight times, including four first-place finishes.
The majority of their impressive run was described as a “what could have been,” as they placed second three times in a row, then fell to third at another event, and once again claimed second immediately after.
However, it all seemed to click in the last few months of the year, as they placed first at three events in a row and looked to have finally reached the pinnacle of Counter-Strike.
They were only stopped in the last tournament of 2020 by Astralis, who made a return to their legendary form. Despite the loss, the team is looking better than ever, and since overcoming their second-place curse, they’re a real candidate to dominate 2021.