Russian team Outsiders are heading to Abu Dhabi for the BLAST Premier World final, following a fantastic performance at the IEM Rio Major last month.
Outsiders is a new tag created by Virtus.pro earlier this year. Following the war in Ukraine, both the ESL and PGL announced that they would be banning any organisation with ties to the Russian government.
Given that Virtus.pro's leadership has ties to companies and individuals currently sanctioned by the American and European governments, they opted to create the Outsiders tag so that the roster could operate under a more neutral name.
The new tag has hardly affected the team's recent performance, however. The Russian team was crowned the champions of the IEM Rio Major in November, after defeating Heroic in the grand final through a stunning 2-0 victory.
It was that victory that earned Outsiders their place at the World Final. Of all the teams at the World Final, Outsiders are the lowest ranked on the BLAST Premier Leaderboard, sitting in 11th place with 4562.5 points. Although to be fair, the need to rebrand as Outsiders in March has likely affected their ranking.
The team started 2022 off on a sour note too. They were knocked out during the Group Stage at ESL Pro League Season 15 in March, ending up in 17th-20th place. Following that, they landed in 12th-14th place at the PGL Major in Antwerp, following a 2-1 defeat to G2.
That's no reason to write them off, though. Outsiders has steadily been gaining momentum over the year, winning the A-tier event ESL Challenger at DreamHack Rotterdam in October this year, shortly before being crowned the champions at the IEM Major in Rio.
Outsiders will be heading to Abu Dhabi with its lineup consisting of Aleksei "Qikert" Golubev, Dzhami "Jame" Ali, Evgeniy "FL1T" Lebedev, David "n0rb3r7" Daniyelyan, Pyotr "fame" Bolyshev alongside coach Dastan "dastan" Aqbaev.
The team's first match of the World Final will be against Team Liquid at 10am GST on December 14. It should make for an interesting match, with Team Liquid's Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis playing against his former Virtus.pro teammates for the first time, after he left the team in October.
And you'll be able to follow that match, as well as every game this tournament, right here on Luckbox. Just remember to sign up for your free account to claim your 100% bonus, and we'll see you at the World Final!