Eight teams, five days, $425.000 on the line. The final event of BLAST’s Fall circuit is just days away, and the hype is through the roof. Not only it’s one of last premier events of the year, the BLAST Premier Fall Finals will also be another LAN event with live crowd.
Before the event starts though, let’s take this opportunity to review all details to make sure we’re ready for it. Of course, it’s also a great chance to take a look at the five most interesting teams coming to the Finals.
BLAST Premier Fall Final 2021 start this Wednesday (24th) at 11:00 AM GMT with Vitality and Liquid being the first teams playing. You can check which time the event starts in your time zone through this handy link.
As for the tournament format, the Fall Final is a single-stage event. The event runs a double-elimination bracket, and all matches will be best-of-three games. The grand final will be played on Sunday (28th), 12:30 PM.
Finally, this tournament will be played offline at the Royal Arena, Copenhagen. You can still attend the event as tickets are available through BLAST official partners here. With all details covered, let’s take a look at the schedule, and then at the storylines to follow!
This Wednesday, fans will be watching a new Astralis. As announced days ago, Astralis benched Emil “Magisk” Reif and Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen. In their places are Benjamin “blameF” Bremer and Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke. Alongside both players, Alexander “ave” Holdt will be Astralis’ new coach.
This means that for the first time in a long while, Astralis isn’t surrounded by rumors. For the better part of 2021, Astralis’ roster was far from locked. With contracts expiring and players exploring options, nothing was certain. This has finally ended now, as all five players have just signed new contracts.
So, for Astralis, the time to worry about players leaving is over. Instead, now it’s time to kick off this project. Starting at the Royal Arena this Wednesday, Astralis’ captain Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander will give fans a first look of what this team is capable off. It’s early to make any judgment, but leaving a good impression is always important.
In order to start things in the right foot, though, this new Astralis will have to pull all stops. Their opening game against NiP should already push this team enough, and from there onwards thing will only get more difficult. Still, there’s reason to be hyped about this project. This is a chance for both blameF and k0nfig to bounce back from their time at Complexity and show that they are the right men for Astralis. For gla1ve, it’s an opportunity that he can make the best out of any hand dealt to him. For Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, it’s a chance to prove that he still is the pillar that supported Astralis during their era. As for the team’s AWPer, Philip “Lucky” Ewald, it’s the moment to step up and lock his place in this roster. Opportunities that lead to the stars.
It has been a rough year for FaZe. After many downs, the squad finally started some positive results in the weeks before the Major. Expectations were high, and while they had a tough path to the event itself, they actually started their run in Stockholm well. Unfortunately, though, FaZe failed short of reaching the playoffs.
However, Stockholm is water under the bridge for Finn “karrigan” Andersen and his teammates. In BLAST Premier Fall Final, FaZe has another chance to impress, and it’s important they do so. As the end of the year approaches, FaZe will be on the lookout for new players – but how many? Doing well here will help karrigan make a case that this team is one roster move away from greatness.
Failing to do so, though, will bring thequestion marks that surrounded this project before IEM Cologne back. Then, FaZe was continuously failing to meet expectations. After IEM Cologne, though, FaZe shown that they had potential. Karrigan never managed to bring FaZe to the same level we saw them in Cologne, and when they failed to reach the Major playoffs, the squad got a serious blow.
So, indeed, here we are. At the Royal Arena, FaZe needs to show some good signs. This team might be on the verge of a roster move, but if they once again fail to accomplish anything, then we might see more than just one roster move. Does FaZe needs a shot in the arm, or it’s time for a full surgery?
Natus Vincere won their first Major. Their star player, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, was just named as the “Esports Player of the Year”. His teammate, Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi, also got awarded as “Rookie of the Year”. Overall, things couldn’t be better for Na’Vi.
So, with everything going so well for the team, it’s time to strike while the iron is hot, and keep building from this moment. Natus Vincere is at the edge of starting their own era, and winning BLAST Premier Fall Final will be key for it.
Different than FaZe and Astralis, Natus Vincere doesn’t need to prove anything. After all, they are the best team in the world. For Na’Vi, it’s about winning the whole thing; it’s about showing how over and over how dominant they can be.
Fortunately for Natus Vincere, it’s hard to see any team stopping s1mple and his teammates from starting their own era. Fans have awaited long enough, but unless one of the seven competitors have found a way to stop Na’Vi, this event has the yellow brand name all over it. Natus Dominandi.
It didn’t take long after the Major for NiP to announce a roster change. As expected by many, Linus “LNZ” Holtäng is out. In his place, NiP is bringing another Danish player to the team, Patrick “es3tag” Hansen.
Known for his time at Cloud9, Astralis and Complexity, both NiP and es3tag are pretty confident in this move. NiP’s coach, Björn “THREAT” Pers praised his versatility, and mentioned that he will be key to take NiP to the next level. These comments aren’t anything bold, though. This roster move looks like a complete upgrade no matter how one looks at it. LNZ has a lot of potential, but right now, es3tag is the more complete package.
In any case, it’s fair to say that NiP is heading to the Fall Finals with an upgraded roster. No one’s expecting es3tag to solve all of NiP’s issues such as Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora inconsistency, but it’s a start. At the same time, though, no one will be blame for expecting something big from this addition. After all, with es3tag’s experience and overall abilities, he could be what NiP lacked until now to unlock Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz potential. It’s a remote possibility, but a possibility nonetheless.
Overall, NiP has solved one of the issues holding them down, and it’s time to see how es3tag will help this team. No one’s expecting NiP to defeat Natus Vincere, but with a better support, this team should run better as a unit. Better, faster, stronger – hopefully.
There are a few teams that are on the verge of roster moves coming to the Fall Finals, but none of them are in a situation as dire as Team Liquid’s. The North American squad is on its final days together – it’s obvious – and it’s not going down with a bang.
2021 has been a difficult year for North American Counter-Strike, but Team Liquid managed to keep the fire alive for the better part of the year. Unfortunately, after their disappointing Major performance, it seems that the project just shattered.
It isn’t just rumors, either. During a livestream, Liquid’s Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski was pretty clear about the team future, and how changes are coming. Rumors also have been pointing that Liquid will lose some of its key players. Furthermore, during EliGE’s livestream, he alluded that the team atmosphere is far from great.
This puts Liquid in a difficult situation that no other team wants to be. Liquid’s players aren’t coming to the Royal Arena to compete for the trophy, they are just fulfilling their contractual obligations. It’s a shame, but it’s undeniable that the fire that this roster once had has faded.
So, at BLAST Premier Fall Finals – and at IEM Winter– it won’t be surprising to see a dead-looking Team Liquid. Fans of North American Counter-Strike are hoping for a better year in 2022, but until then, it appears that things will just get worse. Hold your breath and count the days remaining for 2022.
This Wednesday, make sure you tune in BLAST’s official channels on Twitch and YouTube to not miss a bit. After all, this is one of the final premier events of the year, and a chance to take a first look into new roster like Astralis and NiP’s, as well as a chance to say goodbye to rosters on the verge of changes such as Liquid’s.
In any case, if you want to keep up with everything esports, make sure you follow us here.