The Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018 is the second in a series of tournaments run by RFRSH Entertainment that aim to revitalize the CS:GO competitive scene.
Perhaps the biggest change when it comes to the Blast Pro Series tournaments is their “compact” nature. Where most events stretch the action over at least two to three days, these tournaments have the participating teams play out all of their matches in a single day with maps that have already been predetermined prior to the event.
To help with this, all group stage matches are a best-of-one, and only the top teams from each group will advance to play in the best-of-three Grand Finals.
This condensed format leaves very little room for rest for the players. But, on the other hand, it also makes for a very unique and exciting format. And, while we can’t really say for sure just yet if it’s going to be viable in CS:GO in the long run, the success of the previous (and first) tournament seems to suggest that it’s working quite well so far.
Having said that, RFRSH Entertainment’s follow-up to Blast Pro Series Copenhagen (November 24-25, 2017) will take the action all the way to the Ülker Sports Arena in Istanbul for the Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018 on September 28-29.
Just like last time, the tournament will feature six top CS:GO teams from around the world fighting over a $250,000 USD prize pool.
Below, we’ll give you brief yet incredibly informative look at all of the teams playing in the Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018.
Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018 Power Rankings
#1 — Astralis
Were you expecting anyone else?
Astralis are the clear favourites to win Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018, and for good reason: they won the FACEIT Major in London just a few days ago without even breaking a sweat.
Consider this: Astralis’ current five-man lineup are now 19-0 on Nuke and they beat every single team they played in the playoffs of the most recent Major without even coming close to dropping a single map. That’s how dominant they’ve been. Mind you, the teams they beat — FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, and Natus Vincere — weren’t by any means weak.
Seeing how perfectly Astralis played in their playoff run at the FACEIT London Major against three of the best CS:GO teams in the world, it’s just hard imagining Astralis losing, especially against the obviously inferior competition.
Keep your eyes on the Danes. They will surely not disappoint.
#2 — MIBR
Chaotic doesn’t even begin to describe the year that the former SK Gaming squad has had following their incredibly successful 2017 performance and getting picked up by Immortals and rebranded to the MIBR squad hasn’t exactly helped turn their fortunes either.
Case in point, MIBR have had two roster changes these past two months; Tarik ‘tarik‘ Celik coming in from Cloud9 to replace Ricardo ‘boltz‘ Prass; Janko ‘YNk‘ Paunović joining the team as their new head coach. And while MIBR did actually get a chance to hoist a trophy recently, you can hardly count that as anything near a quality win given the relatively weak competition they faced at the ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018 in Hong Kong last August.
Bringing over USA’s Jacky ‘Stewie2K‘ Yip definitely hasn’t had the results the team had hoped, which is probably why they added Stewie 2K’s former Cloud9 teammate, tarik, to help improve team chemistry. But, still, it’s hard to expect anything from MIBR at this point, even though they arguably one of the better map pools among all of the teams playing in the tournament.
Either way, for all their short comings, MIBR still have Marcelo ‘coldzera‘ David on their roster. If nothing else, we can at least expect coldzera to put on a good show.
#3 — Ninjas in Pyjamas
Don’t let the lack of silverware fool you, Ninjas in Pyjamas are the true dark horses of the Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018.
Although terribly inconsistent, this five-man lineup have the necessary talent and skill required to win this tournament, and they probably would have had a higher chance if a certain Danish team weren’t in the pool.
We have slowly seen Ninjas in Pyjamas improve throughout their time together, and occasionally, you’ll see a glimpse of how good this team can really get. That’s especially true if one of the team’s longest-serving members, Christopher ‘GeT_RiGhT‘ Alesund starts performing well and gets himself going.
While we don’t expect Ninjas in Pyjamas to have that good of a showing, it probably won’t surprise us if they ended up playing later on in the day.
#4 — Cloud9
You’ll never know what you can get with Cloud9.
One moment they’re winning a Major, and the next thing you know, they’re on a slump that’s lasted for more than half a year.
Heading into the Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018, Cloud9 have not been able to finish any higher than Top 6 at any LAN since winning the ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 earlier this year. But, who knows? Just as Cloud9 came out of nowhere to win that tournament, maybe the same magic will happen here. After all, the format does give credence to that happening.
Who are we kidding? Cloud9 are a mess right now and not even the three-time Major winner, Robin ‘flusha‘ Rönnquis coming in from Fnatic is going to fix that. If anything, him joining could make things a whole lot worse before they get better.
#5 — Virtus.Pro
It’s tough to be a Virtus.Pro fan right now. The team hasn’t had a good showing in what seems like forever, and all of the roster swaps have done nothing to fix their problems.
At this point, it’s a surprise that Virtus.Pro haven’t gone the full-disband round yet.
While this is a team that, on paper, could take games off of anything, the fact remains that the teams they’re set to play against in this tournament are in good form, especially Astralis, who are looking like they’re more likely to win this tournament without dropping a single game.
#6 — Space Soldiers
Space Soldiers are heading into the Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018 having been eliminated very early at the FACEIT Major London 2018. But, it’s not all bad. Being eliminated early means that they’ve had a lot of time to prepare and that they’re coming in relatively fresh compared to the other teams. That’s still an advantage, especially since they’re playing on home turf.
If Space Soldiers come into the tournament prepared and well-rested, there’s a chance that they’ll be able to pick up a quality win or two. They might even be able to make it to the Grand Finals with a little bit of luck.
Unfortunately, while that can certainly happen, you probably shouldn’t count on it.
Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018: Players to Watch
1. Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz (Astralis)– Fresh off an MVP performance at the FACEIT London Major 2018, dev1ce is looking as good as he has ever been, and that’s bad news for any team looking to test their luck against Astralis in Istanbul.
2. Robin ‘flusha‘ Rönnquist (Cloud9) — Winning three Majors is something that only a few players have ever done in CS:GO and Flusha is one of those few. A long-time Fnatic member, he has since admitted that he has been unhappy playing for his former team, and while it’s highly unlikely that he alone will be able to turn Cloud9’s fortune, it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll be able to return to his former form with the recent move.
3. Jackie ‘Stewie2K‘ Yip (MIBR) — The youngest member of a squad full of decorated players, Stewie2K has stood as arguably the weakest link since joining the former SK Gaming squad. But, in recent months, he has started to play better, and while he probably won’t be the star of MIBR anytime soon like when he was with Cloud9, his performance is crucial to the team’s success. A good performance here likely won’t erase memories of his mediocre performances just yet, but it’ll be a good start.
What’s Next for RFRSH Entertainment?
RFRSH Entertainment doesn’t seem like they’re stopping anytime soon. Following the success of Blast Pro Series Copenhagen 2017, they announced Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018 as their first stop for 2018 before announcing a return to Copenhagen on November 1-2 later this year.
Considering that they’ve already proven themselves capable of delivering high-quality content, their long-term commitment to their unique brand of CS:GO tournaments likely means that we’re going to see them hosting more tournaments in the future. It’s only a matter of time, then, that they become a household name in the CS:GO competitive scene.
With that said, we can be certain that the Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018 will be a blast (no pun intended) and you can bet that we’ll be right there covering the tournament for you.
Who do you think will challenge Astralis for the Blast Pro Series Istanbul 2018 crown? Do you think we’ll see an upset? Or will Astralis continue dominating and run away with the trophy once again? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.