Six months is a long time in CS:GO, and the start of 2020 would have seemed barely believable to the average fan immersed deep in the action 2019 brought us.
While last year saw BLAST Pro Series struggling to make its name as legitimate tournament organiser, it starts 2020 in much better shape - largely due to the quarrelling between its rivals.
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It’s helped a lot that there has been a bit of a break in terms of top-level CSGO, so the return of the kings has fans seriously pumped up, and BLAST has assembled quite the line-up for their London trip this year.
The talent team isn’t bad too either and includes the return to CSGO of Auguste ‘Semmler’ Massonnat. Fans should also expect many heartfelt tributes to the late Kobe Bryant, including the use of his name to acknowledge any well-thrown, precise utility.
What else can CS:GO fans expect to see at BLAST Premier 2020?
This ain’t Piccadilly…
A lot will depend on how hard the tier-one teams have been working in their time off, but with this being the first proper tournament in some time there is a chance we’ll see a few new things introduced, most notably on Vertigo.
Valve’s controversial new map is still haunting the game like the Ghost of Christmas Past, and teams such as Astralis and Liquid may well have new looks to bring to a map that clearly hasn’t been figured out just yet.
Back in the Big Smoke
We know Astralis love a good smoke, and after the 2019 they had all eyes will be on them, but it’s Vitality who have the only native left standing after the Complexity juggernaut claimed dephh as a victim.
ALEX brings his team, including newly-crowned god of guns ZywOo to the event knowing that all eyes will be on, well them at least, but he’ll need more from shox than they got last year if the French outfit want to thrive on British soil.
NIP no longer
After what seems like an eternity, Ninjas in Pyjamas have finally seen the last members of their legendary team depart for pastures new.
The fact that some of the oldest players in CS:GO moved to Dignitas has irony oozing out of it, but aside from the jokes it’s probably not that bad a move for the Swedes left in NIP.
Keeping f0rest would have been nice, but refreshing the org is probably best for the long term if the alternative is hanging on to a washed line-up.
The change in tone from the point where Na’Vi signed Guardian to replace Zeus and the point where they announced he was being bench was the most dramatic thing in esports since Thorin went off on StarLadder live on stream.
Even s1mple was acting like he’d found love with Ladislav joining the crew, but Na’Vi have at least moved more quickly than they did with Edward and the aforementioned millstone of an IGL, and will want to see results.
The reality is that most of their success will still depend on s1mple, though, and his performance will be fascinating to watch in the wake of ZywOo taking the individual crown.
No losers here...
...and no winners either, really, with the event mainly aimed at finding out who will book a place at the Spring Finals, which will be held in, erm, June.
It’ll be fascinating to see how fans react to another event that has no real conclusion after the move ESL made to make their Pro League LAN-only didn’t exactly go down well, as esports supporters are used to a climax at the end of the weekend, and may react badly to a BLAST with no big bang at the end.
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Pictures: BLAST Pro Series