Team Liquid have beaten Natus Vincere at the BLAST Premier: World Final, ending Na’Vi’s ten match winning streak. Na’Vi had not last a single match through the last two tournaments they participated in: BLAST Fall Final and the PGL Major Stockholm 2021. The upset is even more surprising given the reported impending changes in store for Liquid’s roster coming in 2022. What’s more, Liquid have been forgoing team practice since the end of the PGL Major.
“I’m grasping for answers myself,” Liquid’s Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski said in the post match interview.
The best of three between Na’Vi and Liquid was the opening match of the BLAST World Final. The North American squad came out hot with a win on their map pick of Overpass, 16-11. Na’Vi answered back in dominant fashion and made quick work of Liquid on Dust 2, 16-7. Inferno was the decider — as is tradition — and Liquid were, by far, the better team. They won the map map 16-7. Over the course of the whole match, Liquid only won a single pistol round.
“On Inferno, I don’t think they could even touch us,” EliGE said.
Keith “NAF” Markovic continued his strong form from the last few months, accruing 64 kills on a 1.29 rating. Na’Vi’s Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev performed well, if not to his best-in-the-world standard. In fact, Na’Vi were led by rookie Valeryi “b1t” Vakhovskyi, who continues to show that he’s one of the best in the game despite his young age.
With the win, Liquid advance to play the winner of the match between Gambit Esports and Heroic. Na’Vi are relegated to the lower bracket, a position they haven’t found themselves in in a long time. The undisputed best team in the world, Na’Vi have a whopping 95% win rate over the past three months. After winning the PGL Major, many were calling for the dawn of a new Counter-Strike “era,” where the team from the Commonwealth of Independent States takes a stranglehold on the competitive scene. An early exit from the BLAST World Final could put a damper on that conversation.
The BLAST Premier: World Final 2021 is the final S-Tier event of the year in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and runs from Dec. 14-19. The World Final is the culmination of the BLAST Premier season, with $1 million in prize money on the line and $500,000 for the first place winner.