The BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown kicks off April 13. While most teams attending are from the group stages of Blast, others did qualify to make the highly anticipated 16 team tournament. Here are four things to watch for as the showdown gets underway.
A chance for Extra Salt
Extra Salt are a team that’s looked amazing but have not had the chance to prove themselves. The roster contains the four ex-Cloud9 North American players, whose contracts were terminated by Cloud 9 due to breaking Covid-19 restrictions. Since their formation in early 2021, they won seven out of eight of the tournaments they attended and quickly rose to 21st on the HLTV rankings. The BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown will be their first tier-one tournament with their new roster and organization. Although they have very tough teams to face off against, the star-studded NA roster has a chance to shine.
and @Sonic_cs going 23-0 🤯
See you in EUROPE! pic.twitter.com/JrR82NHcyo
— Extra Salt (@ExtraSaltGG) March 29, 2021
Possible Gambit vs. Heroic Rematch in Semis
Following a fantastic final with Heroic taking down Gambit in ESL Pro League Season 13, the two teams could face off in BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown. In ESL Pro League, both teams went undefeated in their group and made it all the way to the finals undefeated. However, in the tournament’s finals, Heroic’s in-game leader Casper “cadiaN” Møller stepped up and even clutched a one-on-four fight to win the tournament for his team. With such individual heroics, Gambit didn’t stand a chance. But, if both teams win their initial rematches, the two teams could face off in the semifinals to see who qualifies.
YOU CAN'T WIN #ESLPROLEAGUE LIKE THIS….
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) April 11, 2021
In March, Team Vitality benched Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom due to Valve’s ruling on six-man rosters and the 20% regional major ranking point penalty for having one. Vitality failed to make it out of the ESL Pro League Season 13 group stages, following losses to upcoming team ENCE, Ninjas in Pyjamas and G2 Esports. To keep their ranking and maintain their form, Vitality can’t afford another 9-12th placing at a tournament and must make a deep run in the BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown. Hopefully, Richard “shox” Papillon and Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier will fill in and combined, the two can fill the gap that Nivera left with his departure. Keep an eye on Vitality to see how they do without their normal six-man setup.
A potential Liquid-Astralis rematch
While Team Liquid and Astralis are long-time rivals, Liquid haven’t beat Astralis in a best-of-three since ESL Pro League Season 9. In fact, Astralis dominated Liquid throughout 2020, and all the matches were very one-sided. However, since Liquid brought in Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, they’ve looked even better than before. In the two’s last matchup, Liquid managed to come back after being down 13-2 at the half and force overtime against the Danish super-team. If the two teams win their matches, they could face off once again.
BLAST Premier: Spring Showdown matches run from April 13-18. It is important to note that teams from Group A will not play teams in Group B.