NA BLASTs off for 2023 Spring Groups
With the first big event of 2023 about to begin, every team is looking for a chance to strike while the iron is hot. Out of BLAST's twelve partnered teams, North America has three representatives in Liquid, Complexity, and Evil Geniuses all looking for a shot for Spring Finals.
BLAST Groups separate the twelve teams into three bo3 double-elimination groups, with the top two of each group qualifying for Spring Finals, and the other two forced to slough through BLAST Spring Showdown for a chance at a Finals appearance. This marks a slight change to previous formats, since last season, Groups were only bo1, encouraging upsets like Complexity taking down NAVI.
After a successful BLAST World Finals run ending second only to G2, all eyes will be on Liquid to see whether they can keep up their run of good form or not. An opening match versus OG should give the American hopefuls a head start in their group.
These two teams met at the World Finals just over a month ago where Liquid narrowly came out ahead after being dealt a loss in the first map, Overpass. Liquid cannot afford a stumble to OG, especially when the prospect of facing FaZe in their group looms on the horizon. Therefore, the American squad will have a lot of pressure coming into their first match-up of BLAST Spring Groups.
Complexity, on the other hand, has much less pressure to deal with. They are clearly the weakest team in their group consisting of a top 5 Liquid and FaZe along with a surprisingly potent OG squad. That is not to say that we should resign Complexity's hopes immediately, though.
Ever since signing Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli midway through last year, the change that was supposed to propel Complexity to hang with the big boys has not come to fruition. Complexity replaced their weakest link, but still have yet to impress on the world stage. BLAST Spring Groups is Complexity's chance to prove that they deserve the partner status they paid for and not flunk out of Finals like they have the previous three seasons.
Finally, the last North American hopefuls, Evil Geniuses enter the fray a question mark. Removing Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov allowed the team to promote Jerric "wiz" Jiang from EG Black, but his firepower against top teams is yet unknown, with him sporting a whopping four HLTV maps versus Top 10 competition.
EG have the chance to try out the young AWPer here, but wiz will be thrown straight into the fire, initially battling against Rio Major finalist Casper "cadiaN" Møller and his number one team in the world, Heroic. The other two teams in the group, Vitality and Astralis, are no slouches either. It will be tough for EG to get their skin in any of their games, but such is the life of a new roster. We can only hope that EG's plethora of coaches have put together an astounding game plan to shock their opponents and the world.
For BLAST Spring Groups 2023, the groups are as follows:
The opening match of each group will be as follows:
Group A - January 19th
Heroic vs. Evil Geniuses
Vitality vs. Astralis
Group B - January 20th
FaZe vs. Complexity
Liquid vs. OG
Group C - January 21st
G2 vs. BIG
NAVI vs. NIP
The whole event begins tomorrow at 09:00AM with Evil Geniuses taking on Heroic.