Last Saturday, BLAST Pro Series took place at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen. With a tournament featuring six of the best teams in the world, it was going to be difficult to predict a winner.
SK Gaming managed to silence the crowd, taking a close overtime victory on the third map against Astralis. Despite losses in the group stage against FaZe and Astralis, SK can now make a strong claim to being the best team in the world, although FaZe are still strong contenders for the title.
Before the event, it looked like we might have seen the showdown between the two best teams in the world in the finals. FaZe came close to the finals, taking third place in the group, but instead, it was the crowd favorites Astralis that stole the show. Astralis went undefeated in the group stages, in spite of their best player Nicolai “Device” Reedtz being out with an illness.
In his place was former the former Fnatic and GODSENT player Dennis “Dennis” Edman. Although he, along with the rest of his team, struggled on GODSENT, Dennis showed why he could be a valuable addition to any squad. Being one of the most versatile players in the world, Dennis is the master of pistols, he can AWP and he has deadly rifles as well.
With Dennis running out of options in his home country of Sweden, it was very important for him to have a good showing here. After leaving GODSENT, and seemingly not wanting to play with his former team Fnatic, the only option for Dennis in Sweden would have been NiP. But with their win in Oakland, NiP is probably unlikely to make roster changes anytime soon. Assuming that he hasn’t taught himself Danish overnight, Dennis still has a couple of options in the form of international teams. With his performance at BLAST Pro Series, he has now forced international teams like Mousesports and OpTic Gaming to consider him as a new addition to their roster. Both sides could use the experience and versatility that Dennis brings.
It has been rumored that OpTic Gaming has been looking to make a change. With some very mixed results in their LAN showings, Kevin “HS” Tarn looks like he could be on the way out of the team. Dennis could be an ideal replacement, as OpTic needs a player with experience and someone who can do the secondary calling. With Adam “Friberg” Friberg being new to the role of in-game leading, having some support in the form of Dennis would be ideal.
Another team worth discussing is G2 Esports. After their win at DreamHack Masters Malmö back in early September, the team hasn’t been looking great. With their best result being a 3rd place finish at EPICENTER, the French superteam looks like it’s far away from a title. The team seems to insist on keeping up their force-buy style, which seems to cost them a lot of victories. At this point you have to question the leadership in the team and whether or not it’s time to bring back Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans.
The legendary Belgian in-game leader has been playing for the third best French team, LDLC. The team has had some decent showings online considering their lack of firepower, but ultimately it doesn’t look like a team that is going to accomplish anything significant. Ex6TenZ is a player who has been away from the top of the French scene, ever since he was removed from G2 Esports last year. Back then, Richard “Shox” Papillon took over as the in-game leader and has been doing it ever since. While Shox’s teams have shown world-class performances at their best, his teams have lacked consistency, something that the French sides always had back in the days of Ex6TenZ and VeryGames.
With that, let’s take a look at Four Fates From BLAST Pro Series.
- Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo looks like he is back in top form. After a good group stage performance and a carry performance in the finals, FalleN deservedly received the HLTV MVP Award. After replacing Joao “Felps” Vasconcellos with Ricardo “Boltz” Prass, FalleN now has more space to be a star player once again. Boltz has a style that is more similar to former SK player Lincoln “fnx” Lau and doesn’t take up a lot of “resources” within the team. Back in the fnx days, FalleN was considered a top two AWP’er in the world, and at BLAST Pro Series he showed that he still possesses the skillset. If FalleN is indeed back in top form and if both Marcelo “Coldzera” David and Fernando “Fer” Alvarenga keep up their form, SK will be a terrifying team to go up against.
- Dennis “Dennis” Edman gave us a glimpse of the player we saw back in Fnatic. If his performance at this event lands him a spot on a top team, his time in GODSENT will be nothing but a small hiccup in an otherwise great career. With a team like OpTic Gaming seemingly looking to make a change, Dennis might fit right in. Other teams like Mousesports and perhaps even NiP should keep an eye on Dennis as well.
- G2 Esports exited the tournament in the group stages once again. This time they even took last place in the group. While it was a stacked field, the so-called French superteam needs to be contending for a tournament like this and they didn’t even come close. With the group stage exit combined with not qualifying for ESL Pro League or ECS Finals, 2017 is over for G2. Now they need to look ahead to the ELEAGUE Boston Major Qualifier. While I have no doubt that they will qualify, we haven’t seen a French team in the playoffs of a major since DreamHack Cluj-Napoca 2015.
- Astralis were an unknown factor going into the event. With Device out, the rest of the team needed to step up to fill his shoes. They did. Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth and Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye both had great performances at the event. At the same time, you have to give special credit to Peter “Dupreeh” Rasmussen who had to change his role entirely and still had a fantastic performance. While Dupreeh has shown that he is a versatile player who can play as an entry fragger and a lurker, he has never had the role of primary AWP. In the finals against SK, he had multiple highlight rounds that helped Astralis secure the first map, Mirage.