G2 Esports won their first ever Tier 1 trophy since their DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017 win as they beat Team Liquid at the BLAST Premier World Finals. G2, who started the tournament with a loss to FaZe Clan, bounced back and showed resilience and mental fortitude to overcome whatever was thrown at them to take home the year’s final silverware.
G2’s younger AWP-er Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov won the tournament MVP award. The 17-year old finished the tournament with a 1.24 rating and became the youngest player in the history of the sport to win an MVP award.
With the tournament boasting teams like FaZe Clan, Outsiders, Natus Vincere, Team Vitality and Team Liquid, G2 were far from favourites given their recent form and their inability to even make it to the Rio Majors, but they defied all odds to take home a well-earned trophy to cap-off what would be a disappointing year for the organisation given the team they have.
It was the Rio Major champions Outsiders who got the final tournament of the year underway against Team Liquid. The tournament was also the first Tier 1 tournament that was being played with the new updates and was going to feature the new map, Anubis.
In the opening best-of-three match, Liquid kicked things off on their pick of Inferno. They looked cold as the Outsiders seemed to be running away with the opening map after going up 13:2 in the opening half, with fame, FL1T and n0rb3r7 stepping up. The North American team, though, produced a stunning comeback in the second half, with oSee, NAF and EliGE stepping up to take the map close, although Outsiders sealed the opening map 16:10. The second map was Outsiders’ pick of Anubis, and it was the first-ever Tier 1 competitive match on the new map. Liquid started on the CT half and had an early 9:6 lead and on their T side, they demolished Outsiders thanks to strong performances from EliGE, NAF, nitr0 and oSee which saw them wrap up the map 16:8. On the decider on Mirage, Liquid started strongly again, taking an early 10:5 lead, and with YEKINDAR, NAF and EliGE stepping up, they sealed the map 16:8 and the series 2-1 and sent the Major champions to the elimination bracket.
FaZe Clan were up against G2 in the second match of the day. It was G2 who drew first blood after taking the opening map on Nuke 16:10, with NiKo and m0NESY stepping up. FaZe were pushed to the limit on their pick of Inferno, but thanks to ropz, broky and Twistzz, they managed to pip out G2 19-17 in overtime. On the decider on Ancient, FaZe ran through G2 and with broky, ropz and Twistzz stepping up once again, they took the series 2-1 after a 16:4 win on the decider.
Rio Major finalists Heroic, who recently won the BLAST Premier Fall Finals to secure a spot at the World Finals, faced OG in the opening map. Heroic were on the back-foot after a 16:11 loss in the opening map on Inferno but made a strong comeback on their pick of Mirage, with their stand-in k0nfig carrying the team with a 30-bomb to seal the map 16:9. On the decider on Anubis, it was neck-and-neck throughout and OG managed to just about edge out Heroic in second overtime as their AWPer degster stepped up with a 40-bomb to send Heroic into the elimination bracket after handing them a 22:19 loss.
The opening day’s final match saw Natus Vincere (Navi) take on Team Vitality. Navi came into the tournament with a six-man roster as their Academy member npl also joined the main squad. npl made his debut on the opening map of the series on Inferno. Vitality won the opening map 19:16 in first overtime as ZywOo and Spinx were the main architects for Vitality’s win. On Navi’s pick of Nuke, Navi were up 7:1 on their T-side to open the map, but Vitality fought back to end the first half 8:7 in their favour. Magisk, Spinx and ZywOo stepped up during crucial moments as Vitality cleaned the series 2-0 after taking a 16:11 win on Nuke.
The second day kicked off with the elimination match between G2 and Major champions Outsiders. The opening map was on G2’s pick of Inferno and it was their young star AWP-er m0NESY who stepped up and helped G2 take an early 1-0 lead following a stellar performance that saw the Russian player drop 34 kills to help G2 secure the map 16:12. On Outsiders’ pick of Mirage, G2 absolutely dominated the Major champions and with m0NESY, NiKo and jks stepping up, G2 were 15:0 up in the first half and closed the map and series 16:1 to knock out the recent Major champions.
Team Liquid faced FaZe in the first quarter-final game of the day, and it was Liquid’s pick of Mirage up first. FaZe seemed to have had the map secured but Liquid pulled through with YEKINDAR, NAF and nitr0 stepping up to help Liquid edge out the map 16:14. FaZe ran through Liquid on their pick of Inferno as they took the map 16:5 to take the series to a decider on Anubis. Riding on the back of strong performances from Twistzz, rain and ropz, FaZe became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals after a 16:8 win on Anubis.
The second elimination map of the day saw Heroic take on Navi, who were being carried by b1t, who stepped up and beyond for the Ukrainian side to secure the opening map on Inferno 16:10. On Heroic’s pick of Ancient, it was k0nfig and their in-game leader (IGL) cadiaN, who helped the Danes secure the second map 16:8 to take the series to a decider on Nuke. In the decider, it was Navi’s IGL electroNic, star AWP-er s1mple and b1t who stepped up to keep their hopes alive in the tournament and secure the map 16:14.
The final match of the day saw OG take on Vitality for a spot in the semi-finals. OG just about managed to edge out Vitality in the opening map on Inferno 16:14, while on Mirage, it was OG’s AWPer degster and flameZ who put in stellar performances to take down Vitality 16:9 and become the second team to qualify for the semi-finals.
The third day’s first quarter-final match-up saw Team Liquid go up against Navi. The series kicked-off on Navi’s pick of Overpass. It was Liquid’s deadly combo of EliGE and YEKINDAR who ensured they drew first blood and took the opening map 16:10, with both the riflers dropping 25 kills each. On Liquid’s pick of Ancient, Liquid seemed to have almost wrapped up the series 2-0 when they were 13:4 up, but Navi rode on the back of b1t and made a stunning comeback to take Liquid’s pick 16:14. The series decider was played on Mirage, where Liquid had a strong 10:5 CT start. With oSee, YEKINDAR and nitr0 stepping up for them, Liquid managed to close out the map 16:9 and eliminate Navi from the tournament, setting up a date with OG in the semi-finals.
The final quarter-final match saw Vitality take on G2. The series kicked off on G2’s pick of Nuke. It was a one-man show on Nuke as m0NESY stepped up and beyond for G2 for them to secure the map 16:3. It looked like G2 would secure the series in straight maps, on Vertigo, but Vitality fought back through Spinx, apEX, dupreeh and ZywOo to take the second map 19:15 in first overtime. The decider was played on Anubis and Vitality held the early advantage with a 9:6 lead but G2 fought back through m0NESY and jks to take the map 16:11 and secure a spot in the semis against FaZe Clan.
The first semi-final match saw OG go up against Team Liquid, and things kicked off on Liquid’s pick of Overpass. OG took a massive 11:4 lead on their CT side and with NEOFRAG and nexa stepping up, OG secured the opening map 16:12. On OG’s pick of Inferno, Liquid bounced back through YEKINDAR and EliGE‘s strong performances to tie up the series 1:1 after securing the second map 16:10. The decider was played on Anubis and it was advantage Liquid as they took a strong 11:4 lead in the opening half, and with NAF, YEKINDAR and EliGE stepping up, Liquid secured the map 16:7 and booked a place in the Grand Finals.
FaZe Clan faced G2 in the second semi-final, and the series got underway on G2’s pick of Nuke. FaZe held the early advantage as they took a 9:6 lead on their CT side through strong performances from broky and rain, but G2 bounced back on their CT side to take the map 16:14 as jks and huNter- came through with crucial clutch rounds. On FaZe’s pick of Inferno, it seemed like we would be heading for a third map as FaZe went 11:4 up, but G2 fought back on their T side through strong performances from huNter-, m0NESY and NiKo to wrap up the series 2-0 after a 16:13 win and knock FaZe out.
The Grand Final kicked off on G2’s pick of Inferno, and the international super team demolished Liquid 16:7 on the opening map as jks and huNter- stepped up for G2 once again. The second map was Liquid’s pick of Mirage and it was G2’s powerhouse combo of m0NESY and NiKo who powered G2 to a 16:12 win to secure the organisation’s first-ever BLAST trophy.