Vitality, Team Liquid, Astralis and Evil Geniuses. Check out how these four teams compare ahead of the BLAST Premier Fall Groups.
The BLAST Premier Fall Groups kicks off on September 16 and will feature the top CS:GO teams in action. The tournament kicks off with Group A featuring Astralis, Evil Geniuses, Team Vitality and Team Liquid.
Fans can expect top-tier Counter-Strike, in what is a very important tournament for every participating team. The top team from each group advances to the Fall Finals later this year, one step closer to the Global Finals. Here’s a quick preview of each of the four Group A teams at the BLAST Premier Fall Groups.
Team Vitality - The favorite
Vitality finished second in the ESL Pro League after a close 2-3 loss to Natus Vincere in the Grand finals. Vitality’s star player, Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut, takes up most of the credit for the team’s performance. He is the flamboyant player on the roster, often getting impressive entry frags to open bombsites. But Team Vitality has a system and every member players a crucial role.
Zyw0o finished ESL Pro League with the highest K-D difference in the tournament. At an impressive +154, Zyw0o was getting a lot more out of his weapon than any other player. But the veterans in Richard "shox" Papillon and Dan "apEX" Madesclaire have also stepped it up when required to play off their positions in the team to extract maximum efficiency.
Vitality is the 5th best team in the world according to HLTV rankings. As one of the few teams to possess a player to match S1mple toe to toe, the French squad has potential and momentum coming into the BLAST Premier Fall Groups.
Team Liquid - The Challenger
Liquid’s ESL Pro League journey will be remembered as the one where they lost a 1v5 and eventually the series. Refrezh’s 1v5 clutch was a big moment. It would not have been possible without unforced errors on Team Liquid’s part, some of which will derail the team’s momentum going into BLAST Premier Fall Groups.
But Liquid is much more than just one wrong 5v1 approach. The team has been consistently showing up in big tournaments and was very close to making it to the top four at ESL Pro League. Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo has found some form back in the game. He was a key element in Team Liquid’s win against Fnatic. But FalleN is not even the player with the best statistics on the team. Keith "NAF" Markovic and Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski have been blazing through their opponents, often taking calculated risks to come out on top.
Team Liquid might not be the favorites to win the group, but it would be a massive L for any team that takes Elige and co. lightly.
Vitality vs Team Liquid
The highlight of Group A matches, the battle between the French and North America’s elite will see Vitality take Team Liquid. The French team is fresh off a rollercoaster grand finals against Natus Vincere. The series went the distance of five maps and even went to 30 rounds on the last map. It was a close call throughout and Vitality was possibly 1-2 rounds away from securing the championship.
Throughout the team’s ESL Pro League run, Vitality’s members stepped up across the board. Even as a youngster, Jayson "Kyojin" Nguyen Van had his moments of glory. The veterans, the star and the youngsters all put up a good showing in the $750,000 tournament.
Team Liquid were close, the roster almost made it to the top four, but for a 1v5 clutch by Ismail "refrezh" Ali. There was a marked improvement in Team Liquid’s playstyle one that is not adequately reflected in the team’s placement. Vitality is still favored to win this match and top the group, but if anyone can pose a good challenge, it is Team Liquid.
Astralis - The Dark Horse
Astralis has made a couple of changes to its CS:GO roster in the past few months. Bubzjki replaced Jugi while Lucky filled the void Dev1ce left with his NiP signing. The once-famed Astralis team is now but a shadow of itself, crashing out in the group stage of international events.
The Danish squad finished in the 13-16th place at the ESL Pro League Season 14. This was not an isolated performance as Astralis has failed to make the top four at all but one tournament since February this year. Astralis does not pose a challenge to the likes of Team Liquid and Vitality for the top spot. However, the team can take a few maps and is capable of causing an upset or two if the opponent is having a bad day. Astralis face Evil Geniuses in their opening match at BLAST Premier Fall Groups 2021.
Evil Geniuses - The underdogs
Evil Geniuses will head into BLAST Premier Fall Groups with a few changes. EG announced Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte and Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz will skip the event due to health concerns. Replacing them on the team will be Damian "daps" Steele and Teodor "SPELLAN" Nikolov. Daps, as the coach of the team, is familiar with the EG playstyle. Whether he can provide the necessary fragging and leadership in the tournament is another question altogether. However, integrating SPELLAN into the roster will be a much tougher task. With such short notice, it would not be surprising to see EG’s players adjusting or changing their playstyle.
We feel that allowing our lineup the time needed to come mentally and physically prepared for IEM Fall, not only best supports our players, but also puts our team in the best position to qualify and succeed at the much awaited Major.
EG’s performance has not been impressive recently. The team has rarely made it to the top four of big events. The sudden roster change announcement will only serve to further endanger their chances at this tournament. Evil Geniuses is the weakest link in the BLAST Premier Fall Groups at present and it would require a massive step-up from the players to ensure EG poses a challenge for the top spot.
Astralis vs Evil Geniuses
Astralis will face Evil Geniuses in its opening match. This series will be interesting as both teams have had a few changes recently, with EG’s changes announced just a few days before the event. Meanwhile, Astralis’ lack of form is a determining factor in this matchup. The battle between the two teams, both fresh with roster changes and lack of impressive results will be an interesting one to watch. It might not be the Team Liquid vs Vitality fans would hope for, but it has its charm and competition.