Everything is set for BLAST Pro Series: Moscow to kick off this Friday, September 13, at VTB Arena in the capital of Russia, where we will get to see six teams from six different regions compete against each other, hoping to walk away with the lion's share of $250,000 prize pool and BPS points.
The format of the competition will be the same as in the previous BLAST Pro Series event, which took place in Los Angeles, meaning the tournament will be divided into group stage and grand finals.
During the group stage, all six teams compete in a single round-robin format with all fixtures played as best-of-one (Bo1). The top two teams from the group stage then advance into the grand finals, with the remaining teams eliminated. Grand Finals, unlike the group stage, is played in best-of-three (Bo3) series.
Just like it is the tradition, BLAST Pro event will also feature BLAST Pro Standoff, which is a prize bonus show match with five 1v1 aim duels between the third-placed team from the group stage and the opponent of their choosing. The winner of BLAST Pro Standoff will take home a $20,000 bonus prize.
The teams competing in the BLAST Pro series: Moscow are AVANGAR, ENCE, ForZe, MIBR, Natus Vincere and Ninjas in Pyjamas, all of which participated in Berlin StarLadder Major less than a week ago. Out of the six teams, AVANGAR impressed the most by finishing runners-up, however, the question remains: Can AVANGAR carry over their superb form to Moscow, or will they crash and burn in Moscow?
Without further ado, let's check the six participating teams and give our opinion on which will walk away with the $125,000 top prize.
We will start off with Ninjas in Pyjamas ($10.00), who are entering BLAST Pro Series as underdogs and the least likely team to walk away victorious. And to be fair, we can't argue with that. NiP are in the worst state they have been since the start of their CS:GO campaign. Looking back at StarLadder Berlin Major, their performances were disastrous, considering they lost to MIBR, CR4ZY and FURIA to conclude the Legends Stage, tied with DreamEaters as the worst team of the tournament. Seeing how they failed to win anything noteworthy for almost two years, we don't see them as a real threat to do anything here either.
Talking about teams that are only a shadow of their former selves, we have got MIBR ($7.00), who have failed to live up to the expectations ever since coldzera left the starting lineup. It became obvious rather early that without him, MIBR lacks quality to compete against top teams, which is why we don't feel comfortable betting on them here.
ForZe ($7.00) enjoyed a solid run at StarLadder Berlin Major, however they exited the tournament relatively early after failing to defeat DreamEaters in the final match of Challenger stage. They do deserve some praise for defeating Grayhound and FURIA which is a good result for their standards. That being said, they failed miserably against mouz, G2 and as mentioned DreamEaters, making us believe, they do not have the quality to compete with top dogs present in Moscow.
That leaves us with three favourites in AVANGAR ($5.00), ENCE ($3.75) and NaVi ($3.00). Out of the three, it's NaVi who are considered the most likely to win here, and we can't argue with it. AVANGAR did manage to go extremely far in Berlin, but we still believe they are highly overrated going into BLAST Pro Series: Moscow. They might have finished well above both ENCE and NaVi, however they had a much easier road to the finals compared to both ENCE and NaVi. While we do believe they can once again defeat ENCE, when it comes to playing against NaVi, AVANGAR will have to produce a miracle to walk away victorious.
NaVi are a better side than both ENCE and AVANGAR to start with, but there is one more thing we have to consider. NaVi's IGL, Zeus has revealed he will retire after the BLAST Pro Series: Moscow, meaning this will be his final chance to lead his team to victory. It will be an emotional event for NaVi and Zeus, and while it’s hard to praise NaVi for their achievements lately, BLAST Pro Series: Moscow will be a must-win for them and quite frankly, they have the quality to do so.
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