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 B group stage and see how these teams stack up.
FaZe and Complexity
Both B group matches are scheduled on Friday the 20th and the opening round is between FaZe and Complexity. FaZe Clan is a team that needs no introduction, they are the rockstars of the Counter-Strike world with a legion of adoring fans behind them. No price seems too high for them, if a player is on their radar, then they will do everything to acquire them. FaZe Clan is an elite brand in the gaming world, and that’s why players are highly tempted to join them. Why is all this relevant? FaZe have now managed to build a solid line-up, with 4 out of 5 players making the last year’s Top 20 ranking. They never settle for the 2nd place, and that’s why it’s almost guaranteed that they will qualify for the Final. Surely the deadly Baltic duo of Robin “ropz” Kool and Helvijs “broky” Saukants will outshine their opposition.
The situation with Complexity is…well…quite complex. There is no doubt that there is plenty of individual skill in that line-up, but results haven’t been the most favourable. Against local North American teams, Complexity are stars, but when it comes to competition in Europe, the script is flipped. Is an upset possible? Considering it’s a Best of 3, that’s highly unlikely, but we wouldn’t jump out of our chairs if they can manage to pick up a map win, but in the grand scheme of things, that won’t make a huge difference.
In comparison with other matchups, these identical lineups have met each other before. Back on the 28th of September, during ESL Pro League Season 16, FaZe took down Complexity in a rather convincing fashion, although Complexity did manage to grab one map win from the Bo3 series. Recent news suggests that FaZe will be using a stand-in for this event. The most plausible scenario currently is Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke replacing Havard “rain” Nygaard, as rain has to attend to personal matters. The following match is scheduled for the 20th of January at 13:00 (UTC+2:00).
Team Liquid and OG
Surely a lot of viewers will tune in for the match between Team Liquid and OG. Both sides are stacked with firepower, and we would say, that both squads are quite equally matched, at least skill-wise, although Liquid have shown better consistency. Team Liquid is the pride and joy for each North American fan, as, without a doubt, this is the strongest team from the region. After adding Latvian entry fragger Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis, Liquid have seemingly found their missing piece, so is the sky the limit? Currently Liquid stand #3 in the world ranking, and, considering, that roughly a year ago they were #225, then this surely is one of the best line-ups they’ve had in a while.
OG is a team that has gone through many line-up iterations. The current squad is made up of 6 different nationalities if we include the coach position. There were days when international line-ups were few and far between, but in modern times it’s a common occurrence, the strongest example being the success of FaZe Clan. Now, these 5 desperados are looking to explode on the scene and so far their synergy has been electrifying. The likes of Shahar “flameZ” Shushan and Abdul “degster” Gasanov are strongly leading the way for this team, so 2023 could be OG’s breakout year. Even though OG are never considered the tournament favourites, you can never count them out, as an upset is always possible.
Same as the other B group match-up, both of these line-ups have met once in 2022, although this time, the stakes were much higher. Liquid successfully toppled OG in the Semi-finals of the Blast Premier World Final 2022, with veteran Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski leading the way. The following match is scheduled for the 20th of January at 16:00 (UTC+2:00).