One of the most unique and most entertaining tournaments in all of CS:GO returns with BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019.
From March 22-23, six CS:GO teams will go head-to-head against each other in São Paulo, Brazil, with $250,000 on the line and the winners taking home $125,000 as well as bragging rights up until the next stop in Madrid and in Miami.
To help you get a better idea of what BLAST Pro Series is, and what makes it different, as well as who’s the people behind it, we took the time to put together a quick preview of the event.
What is BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019? What Makes it Different?
BLAST Pro Series São Paulo is the first stop in a series of tournaments by, RFRSH, that, as announced last year, will have stops in Miami and Madrid later this year. Similar to previous BLAST Pro Series tournaments, the six-team affair in São Paulo will be yet another two-day event that will feature a $250,000 prize pool.
RFRSH kicked off its now-fan favourite series of tournaments back in 2017 BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2017 inviting then-top teams in SK Gaming, FaZe Clan, G2 Esports, Ninjas in Pyjamas, North, and Astralis to showcase what was a new way to enjoy CS:GO. Spanning just two days and featuring a unique but exciting tournament that featured a group stage that went straight into the grand finals, the quick event was the perfect way to showcase the best of CS:GO to new and casual audiences,
In the first tournament, SK Gaming won it all over Astralis. Since then, Astralis have redeemed themselves by winning two more, as RFRSH took BLAST Pro Series from just Copenhagen in 2017, to Istanbul, Copenhagen, and finally, Lisbon, in 2018.
With six of the best CS:GO teams right now, including hometown heroes, MIBR, as well as the darlings of IEM Katowice, ENCE, playing at the tournament, BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019 should only serve to help help RFRSH achieve their goal of turning BLAST Pro Series into the “most iconic live esports tournament in the world”.
The Heavy Favourites to Win BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019
The list of teams playing at São Paulo is a who’s who of CS:GO teams. This includes MIBR, Team Liquid, FaZe Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Astralis, and finally, ENCE.
That’s a list of names that even the most casual of CS:GO viewers know. But, popularity isn’t just the only reason for the teams to be invited, they’re also some of the best performing in the scene to date. In fact, of the six, only Ninjas in Pyjamas are not ranked within the five best CS:GO teams as of HLTV’s latest rankings, and they’re ranked eighth following their successful playoff run at the Katowice Major.
One could reasonably argue that this is the most stacked lineup that BLAST Pro Series has ever featured.
But, even when you consider the excellence of all six CS:GO teams, there are a few who simply stand out above the competition.
The creamiest of the proverbial crop, Astrails are not only the best CS:GO team right now, they are the best CS:GO team of all time. With three CS:GO Majors to their name already –including back-to-back wins in London and Katowice — plus a litany of trophies this past year alone that can pretty much fill a page, Astrails have firmly secured their legacy in the history of CS:GO.
The scariest part? They might not even be done yet.
Astralis may already be one of the most perfect teams that CS:GO has ever had, but they can still improve. We don’t know yet just how, but we trust Astralis enough to know that they still can. Maybe it’s in the form of winning rounds without giving up as many deaths so Andreas ‘Xyp9x‘ Højsleth won’t have to keep on clutching for the team. Or something else. Whatever.
Regardless of improvement, however, Astralis are easily the best CS:GO team in the tournament, and the onus is on the five other CS:GO teams to find a way to outplay and out-strategize the Danish powerhouse.
MIBR had a relatively good showing in their first LAN together this season, but stumbled quite a bit at WESG 2018. The latter would’ve been especially noteworthy if not for Windigo Gaming winning the tournament, which suggests that the Bulgarians were not as big of an underdog as most people believe they are.
Now playing in front of their hometown crowd, MIBR will look to hoist their first ever big event trophy in, well, ever.
A team built to contend for and win championships, MIBR are currently billed by many as CS:GO’s best chance at giving Astralis the closest thing to rivals they’ll ever have, and playing in front of their own people should give them every bit of a boost and incentive to perform at their best so as not to disappoint.
Team Liquid (5.5)
Team Liquid received quite a bit of flack for losing to ENCE during the quarterfinals of IEM Katowice 2019, but then, Natus Vincere fell too, which suggests that ENCE were just that good at that particular time.
That loss may have set Team Liquid’s good start to 2019 back a bit, but the fact remains that they are the only CS:GO team to have beaten Astralis in a series in months. In fact, they’re the first to do so in a grand finals of a noted tournament in more than half a year, which came when Team Liquid successfully pulled off the upset win against Astralis at IBUYPOWER Masters IV.
You can give that event and Team Liquid’s win all the caveats you want, but you can’t really change what happened — Team Liquid beat Astralis and that’s that.
While we already know Astralis well enough to know that they’re not going to lose to the same tactic or strategy twice, we also know that the newly-minted Team Liquid lineup aren’t about to let one slightly disappointing tournament run derail them from becoming the best team in CS:GO, and while the BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019 isn’t quite like a Major, a win is a win, especially if it comes in a tournament where Astralis are playing and if it comes against them in the grand finals.
Full BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019 Betting Odds
The BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019 Betting Odds are as of March 20th, courtesy of GGbet.
- Astralis at 1.6 odds
- Team Liquid at 5.5 odds
- MIBR at 7.5 odds
- ENCE at 11 0dds
- FaZe Clan at 13 odds
- Ninjas in Pyjamas at 26 odds
Normally, we’d have FaZe Clan placed among the favourites, but something about the new lineup just isn’t clicking. Whether it’s the style of which Nikola “NiKo” Kovač leads his team, or just how weird of a fit Dauren ‘AdreN‘ Kystaubayev is, this all-star CS:GO lineup may be nearing its end earlier than we thought.
On the other hand, ENCE have yet to prove themselves worthy of becoming favourites just yet.
No offense to ENCE, but we’ll need a bit more than just one grand final run at a Major to consider them as a legitimate threat. They certainly have all the makings of one. In fact, this lineup has been together for a while, and unlike other flash of a pan CS:GO teams that we’ve seen in the past, they actually have been gradually improving over the course of their roster, which suggests that this team is in it for the long run.
Of course, suggestions and potential only mean so much when compared to actual results.
If ENCE can look to pull off yet another deep run at BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019, then maybe we can start considering them as a mainstay among the best CS:GO teams in the world. If not, then maybe we should start accepting the fact that they were just a good team who had a magical run at one of the biggest tournaments in all of CS:GO.
BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019 Schedule
RFRSH released the full schedule for the $250,000 tournament on March 22-23 last week.
Just as with previous BLAST Pro Series tournament, BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019 will feature a best-of-one, round-robin group stage where the top two seeds of the group will advance to the grand finals where they will clash to see who will go home with the title and $125,000 in hand.
Also, for those looking forward to seeing their favourite teams playing live on stage, majority of the matches of the BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019 will be played in front of the live audience at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera on March 23. Following the conclusion of the first two group stage rounds on Mach 22, the final three rounds, plus the BLAST Stand-Off, and the best-of-three grand final will all be played on stage.
The full schedule is as follows (all times are in GMT -3):
Round One (March 22)
19:00 — FaZe Clan vs Ninjas in Pyjamas — BO1
19:00 — MiBR vs ENCE — BO1
19:00 — Astralis vs Team Liquid — BO1
Round Two (March 22)
21:30 — Astralis vs ENCE — BO1
21:30 — FaZe Clan vs MIBR — BO1
21:30 — Ninjas in Pyjamas vs Team Liquid — BO1
Round Three (March 23)
13:00 — ENCE vs Ninjas in Pyjamas — BO1
13:00 — Team Liquid vs FaZe Clan — BO1
13:00 — Astralis vs MIBR — BO1
Round Four (March 23)
14:20 — MIBR vs Team Liquid — BO1
14:20 — ENCE vs FaZe Clan — BO1
14:20 — Astralis vs Ninjas in Pyjamas — BO1
Round Five (March 23)
15:40 — ENCE vs Team Liquid — BO1
15:40 — MIBR vs Ninjas in Pyjamas — BO1
15:40 — Astralis vs FaZe Clan — BO1
17:00 — BLAST Pro Serie Stand-off
18:00 — Grand Finals — BO3
Which teams are you looking forward to the most to see play at BLAST Pro Series São Paulo 2019? Do you think this will be another trophy in the bag for Astralis? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.
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