Credit: Bart Oerbekke BLAST

BLAST Spring Group C Preview

A quick dive into what to expect from each team coming into the first tournament of 2023 plus a player to keep an eye on.


A feel good win at BLAST World Final capped off the year in style under difficult circumstances and finally there is a modicum of belief in Rasmus 'HooXi' Nielsen’s vision. Propelled by the rookie of the year in Ilya 'm0NESY' Osipov, G2 enjoyed sporadic success throughout the year but failure to qualify for the IEM Rio Major left them in dire straits, lacking direction and doubting leadership. Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač, famed for his angst toward his IGL’s seems to have turned a corner, putting trust in his Danish friend and long may it continue because G2 are finally exciting to watch again.

Player to Watch:

Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač


Who knows what form BIG are going to show up in and it feels like they haven’t fielded the same five players at consecutive tournaments as long as I can remember. Seemingly they are back to the full roster here but it’s all a bit up in the air and the Germans will be praying for the inevitable carry performance from Florian 'syrsoN' Rische. IEM Rio went about as well as could be expected, but not even a single map win during the best-of-three phase showed their true colours. BIG’s talismanic IGL, Johannes 'tabseN' Wodarz can never be truly put away, and BIG certainly have a chance of making it past the knockout stage if it all clicks into place.

Player to Watch:

Karim 'Krimbo' Moussa

Natus Vincere

2022 didn’t actually end all too well for Na’Vi with failure in the quarter-finals of the last four big events, including the Major, prompting the move culling Viktor 'sdy' Orudzhev for rookie Andrii 'npl' Kukharskyi. The CIS squad are never far from greatness thanks to Oleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev but as we’ve seen over the years, he cannot go it alone and I'm not sure this change is quite the answer to their problems. You cannot ever count out the GOAT though, and the expectation remains that he will continue to be the catalyst to their success.

Player to Watch: 

Andrii 'npl' Kukharskyi

Ninjas in Pyjamas

A new superstar young CIS AWPer. Where have we heard that before? The latest chapter in the seemingly never ending machine cycle of NiP roster moves has finally secured a true AWPer, but will the language barrier prove too much to handle? Aleksi 'Aleksib' Virolainen is once again tasked with collating raw talent, and sculpting it into title contention, but I don’t have much hope that they will hit the ground running here at BLAST. A great match to kick it off though, and the Ninjas are more than capable of taking down a rebuilding Na’Vi.

Player to Watch:

Daniil 'headtr1ck' Valitov

The closest group by far and any combination to progress can be argued for, but G2 and Na’Vi are expected to duel it out for the coveted top spot.

Group C kicks off on the 20th January with G2 taking on BIG.

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