The winter break is over and already today, on the 19th of January, the first CS: GO event of 2023 begins. Blast Series tournaments never seem to disappoint, providing excellent, intriguing matches and the highest-level production quality.
Blast Premier Spring Groups return to Copenhagen, where the event will take place from the 19th to the 29th of January. Spring Groups will help to determine, which 7 teams will head straight to the Spring Final and which teams will drop down to the Spring Showdown, where they will have a second chance to qualify for the main event. Let’s have a look at the first games of the A group stage and see how these teams stack up.
Heroic and Evil Geniuses
We kick off Thursday with a match between Heroic and Evil Geniuses. The Danish side of Heroic is currently sitting pretty at the top of the world ranking, holding their #1 spot for 11 weeks straight. Casper “cadiaN” Møller and his squad have shown us a superb level of CS, always being in the mix, fighting for gold trophies and medals. Although Heroic had a disappointing run in the last event of 2022, they still managed to secure the top step in Blast Premier Fall Final 2022 and they were also runners-up in the last Major event in Rio. Being a Danish team, they are crowd favourites here in Copenhagen, so all the stars are pointing to their success.
On the flip side, Evil Geniuses have been struggling to find their footing. They are currently the lowest-ranked team in the tournament and it’s safe to say that they’ve been scuffling to form a solid core of 5 players. The experienced duo of Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte and Timothy “autimatic” Ta has been fruitful in the past, but now the team finds itself with 3 fairly new players, which begs the question, can the young guns finally impress, or will this be another disappointing showing for the NA based squad? We believe in miracles, but even this one seems a bit out of reach.
Looking head-to-head, the last time these teams met was on the 1st of April 2022, when Heroic dismantled them with ease, winning the best of 3 with 16-6 and 16-12 map scores. Back then the line-up for Evil Geniuses was much different though, still fielding Jake “Stewie2K” Yip and Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov. The current iterations of line-ups haven’t yet met. The following match is scheduled for the 19th of January at 16:00 (UTC+2:00).
Vitality and Astralis
The second match in group A is the battle between Vitality and Astralis. When it comes to this match, the excitement is quite notable. Going into 2023, Astralis have revamped their roster, bringing back their legendary sniper Nicolai “device” Reedtz, while also promoting their academy player Christian “Buzz” Andersen to the main line-up. In combination with their brainiac IGL Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander and the powerhouse entry Benjamin “blameF” Bremer – Astralis has built a solid team, which, on paper, looks extremely dangerous. Of course, their true form is still somewhat of a mystery. We’re yet to see how the rookie Buzz will perform under pressure and if device can return to his all-star form, having one year off from the competition due to his health issues. Surely the crowd will erupt if the Danish side can truly deliver.
There is a certain rivalry between these teams, the main reason being the fact, that two former Astralis players are now part of the Vitality camp. At the start of last year, we witnessed a shocker move, when Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen and Emil “Magisk” Reif joined the French side of Vitality. Not only that, but the long-standing Astralis coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen also made the move with them. Although a lot of fans were questioning the language barrier between the Danish and French, it seems like players made it work as the core squad survived the 2022 campaign. The results were a bit mixed, but we did see some peeks of excellence, especially after they added Lotan “Spinx” Giladi to their roster. Of course, the biggest game-changer has been their superstar sniper Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, who in 2022 was ranked the #2 best player in the world. ZywOo’s shoulders must be sore from the load that he’s carrying, but that’s the reason why Vitality are never out of contention.
This new Astralis line-up hasn’t played against Vitality before, but both cores have met each other 6 times in 2022, each team taking 3 map wins, so we’re all tied going into this derby. The following match is scheduled for the 19th of January at 19:30 (UTC+2:00).