By Pavo Jurkic
March 13, 2019
With the start of ECS regular season, all top tier NA and EU teams have pretty tight schedules. However, that won’t be stopping them from partaking in one of the newest and most anticipated CS:GO tournaments out there – BLAST Pro Series. This time around, the BLAST Pro CS:GO festival makes a stop in Brazil. Sao Paulo, to be precise. By taking a look at the competing teams, we can already tell what a spectacle this will be. So, as always, I’m proud to present an in-depth look at the BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo Preview!
Let’s kick it off, shall we!?
As you’ll see in the Tournament Format section down below, the charm of BLAST Pro Series tournaments is in their Standoff showmatches. These are played near the end of the tournament and feature two teams which haven’t taken one of the two top spots. So, let’s continue with our BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo Preview by seeing what’s this BLAST Pro Standoff all about!
While they may not seem like anything special on the surface, the secret sauce behind the BLAST Pro standoff lies in the details. You see, instead of being played on regular competitive maps, these showmatches are scheduled for a special BLAST Pro Series 1v1 aim map.
It’s sort of like the good old LAN days where we’d play 1v1 against our friends and foes on maps, just like this one, for bragging rights. The situation is pretty similar here too, aside from the fact that there’s $20,000 on the line and an arena full of fans watching every round from the edge of their seats.
Standoff showmatches really are a special treat for all CS:GO fans. So, if you have the time on March 23rd, make sure you tune in to the spectacle!
Regarding prize pool money, BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo has their usual amount, $250,000. For a more detailed look at the official prize pool distribution take a look at the table below:
The format of this competition is basically identical to that of its last iterations. It’s divided into two parts, group stage, and playoffs, with the latter only featuring a grand finals match. The group stage is set to be played in a single round-robin format which is the usual system for BLAST Pro Series competitions. All group stage matches will be best of one matchups, meaning we can expect a fair share of upsets.
The grand finals match, on the other hand, will be played as a best of three matchup between the two top-placed group stage teams. As you had the chance to see above, the winner goes home with $125,000 which is a pretty hefty amount of money for a 2-day tournament such as this one.
Last but not least, we have the reason BLAST Pro Series has evolved into one of the most anticipated CS:GO tournaments, the BLAST Pro Standoff.
The third-placed group stage team automatically qualifies for this showmatch and they get to pick their opponent form the three remaining teams placed below them. The winner goes home with $20,000 on top of their initial winnings which range from $25,000 to $5,000, depending on the winning team’s group stage placement.
Moving on with our BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo Preview, let’s focus on the competing teams for a moment. As explained earlier, there’s a total of six teams competing at these types of tournaments, handpicked by the organizers and dubbed as the best of the best at the moment.
That said, it’s no wonder their last pick was ENCe who’ve made history earlier this month by reaching the IEM Katowice grand finals as total outsiders. Besides the Finns, the remaining five teams are Astralis, MIBR, Team Liquid, FaZe Clan and NiP. So, let’s cut to the chase and see what they’re all about!
Without a doubt, Astralis is the main favorite to take this one home. It seems as though their brilliant track record won’t be stopping anytime soon. Since FACEIT Major 2018, Astralis has played in eleven tournaments and won nine of them. Talk about consistency at the top level, huh?
If there’s a team that can stop Astralis from winning in Sao Paulo, it’s definitely MIBR. They’ve shown the world they mean business in Poland and now, with home turf advantage on their side, they’ll be looking to take revenge on Astralis for eliminating them in the Katowice Major Semifinals. With TACO and coach zews on board, MIBR has decent chances of securing their first tournament win since ZOTAC Masters 2018.
Team Liquid’s loss to ENCE shook the CS:GO competitive scene and gave us all a Cinderella story to dream about. However, that loss also showed several underlying problems that TL will have to resolve if they want to take back their title as second-best CS:GO team. With Stewie2K onboard, they definitely have what it takes to make it big in Sao Paulo. However, only time will tell if the boys in blue can work as a team and see this one through.
Let’s be real here, Astralis may have won the Major but ENCE captured our hearts. ENCE demonstrated a whole new level of resilience in Poland. There were glimpses of brilliance in each of their Legends and Champions Stage matches. While I don’t think they’ll be able to keep the momentum of their Katowice performance going, I still believe they have excellent upset potential.
Even though FaZe Clan still has a mighty roster, their underachieving track record speaks volumes. After barely making it through to The Champions Stage, it became obvious that It’s time for FaZe to make some changes. That said, if they fail to impress during the first ECS S7 EU qualifier tournament, I reckon we can expect some roster changes. As for their BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo aspirations, I fancy them to be proper contestants for the third-place.
Lastly, we have Ninjas in Pyjamas which had a solid run on the Katowice Major. They pushed their way into the top eight which is a big achievement for this Swedish team, especially considering the quality of the competition. However, I doubt they’ll reach new heights in Sao Paulo. This being particularly true when you consider the fact that dennis will be replaced by draken due to fatigue. I’m sorry NiP fans, I just can’t see your favorite team making it out of the group stage here. On the bright side, they’ll most likely be picked for the BLAST Pro Standoff showmatch by the third-placed team.
That’s it, guys! We’ve taken a closer look at all six competing teams. There’s just one more stop of our BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo Preview and that’s the tournament schedule. So, without further ado, let’s dig right into it and finish things off with style!
At the time of writing this article, the official group stage schedule hasn’t been announced yet. That’s understandable since there’s still more than a week left before the tournament starts. However, since this is a single round-robin group stage, we already know each team will play all remaining teams in best of one matchups on the 22nd and 23rd March.
That’s pretty much it as far as BLAST Pro Series schedule is concerned for now. To stay up-to-date on the latest CS:GO news feel free to give us a follow on Twitter.