The BLAST Pro Series makes its way to São Paulo, Brazil, this week, providing Brazilian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive fans with their first taste of the series’ high intensity and electric atmosphere.
Kicking off the 2019 schedule, six of the world’s best CS:GO teams will head to a country that has produced some of the best players in the game’s history to compete for the lion’s share of a $250,000 prize pool. But will the usual front-runners cope in front of some of the most passionate fans in esports, or could this present an opportunity for a smaller side to stage a surprise?
With the BLAST Pro Series São Paulo set to get underway tomorrow, here’s everything you need to know about the tournament:
BLAST Pro Series São Paulo teams
BLAST Pro Series format
Previous BLAST Pro Series events have left a lot to be desired, and that will undoubtedly be the same again here.
That is not because of the quality of play, but the lack of playtime that the format allows, which severely limits the time that teams are given to go head-to-head.
The group stage is a single round-robin group. This means that each team plays each other once, with the top two teams after all five games progressing to the grand final.
The problem is, all group stage games are only best-of-ones. Having persuaded some of the best teams in the CS:GO esports scene to travel to South America, it seems somewhat wasteful not to squeeze more action out of them.
The group stage will take place over Friday, 22 March, and Saturday, 23 March. The grand final – thankfully a best-of-three – will be held later in the day on Saturday.
Teams to watch in São Paulo
Looking at odds for the BLAST Pro Series in São Paulo, Astralis is the favourite to claim victory. The Danish organisation, widely regarded as one of the greatest CS:GO teams of all time, come into this tournament off the back of a victory at the IEM Katowice where they went unbeaten.
Given the form that Astralis continued to show in Poland, knocking them off their pedestal seems like an impossible challenge. However, they will be pitted against the best of the best in São Paulo, and with progression in the tournament reliant on BO1s, even the smallest of slip-ups would be too much to recover from.
The same article lists Team Liquid as the second favourite to go all the way in São Paulo. TL matched Astralis’ 3-0 record in the Katowice New Legends Stage, but we’re left stunned by underdogs ENCE in the quarterfinals. North America’s best side will have to eliminate the mistakes that led to that defeat from their game if they are to topple Astralis this weekend.
MiRB are tippled to finish third, which would see them miss out on the Grand Final. However, this would allow them to pick their opponent to face in the Pro Standoff, which would at least be some consolation for falling just short.
BLAST Pro Series São Paulo tickets
Standard tickets were available from R$70, with students given a 50% discount, bringing the price down to R$35. However, due to demand, all general sale tickets have sold out.
No tickets will be available on the door for the event, but the Blast Pro Series organisers have opened up a waiting list. Those wishing to attend can put their name on the list via the tournament website, but there is no guarantee that tickets will become available.