G2 Esports defeat Team Liquid to become the CS: GO Blast Premier World Champions
The CS: GO season has finally come to an end with the BLAST Premier World Final. Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen and his men, of G2 Esports, swept Team Liquid in the Grand Finals with a 2-0 victory.
The Multi-national side took home USD 500,00 from the USD 1M prize pool. After a year of lacklustre showings, G2 Esports seem to have risen to prominence by achieving this incredible feat in Abu Dabhi.
The BLAST Premier World Final was held in Abu Dhabi as part of a three-year agreement between BLAST and ADGaming, an initiative funded by the local government to help create an “esports and gaming ecosystem” in the region.
The event took place between December 14-18, with the eight participating teams split into two double-elimination groups. The group winners progressed to the semi-finals, while the runners-up and the third-placed sides advanced to the quarter-finals. The bottom-placed group finishers were eliminated from the tournament. The playoffs featured a single-elimination bracket. All matches were played in a best-of-three format.
Of the eight participating teams, three (G2 Esports, OG and Team Liquid) were determined by the BLAST Global Leaderboard, a global ranking that factors in performances in a series of top-tier tournaments.
The other five teams were invited after winning tier-one events throughout the year: NAVI (BLAST Premier Spring Final), Heroic (Fall Final), FaZe Clan (ESL Pro League Season 15 and PGL Major Antwerp), Vitality (ESL Pro League Season 16) and Outsiders (IEM Rio Major).
Even with reigning BLAST Premier World champions, NAVI, and the current Major winners, Outsiders, it was G2 Esports who battled it out to take the top spot and pocketed $500,000 after defeating Team Liquid 2-0 in the final.
In the grand final fixture, Team Liquid looked a bit destitute, while G2 Esports left no room for error and cruised past them. After losing the opening series against FaZe, G2 Esports defeated Outsiders in the Group A lower final, Vitality in the quarters, and FaZe again in the semis to reach the grand final.
The win was Team G2 Esports’ first big event win since their DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017 victory when they still had an all-French squad. The players under the spotlight were Justin “jks” Savage and HooXi who were believed to perform under impending scrutiny. For jks, the 27-year-old Aussie kicked off 2022 with the Intel Extreme Masters XVI – Katowice triumph under FaZe Clan and went to run it back with G2 at the Blast Premier.
With every challenging odd to face, HooXi made sure to leave no stone unturned when he was to steer G2 after Aleksib’s axe. By winning the tournament’s Most Valuable Player title, Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov was set as the tournament’s youngest champion. The AWPer, who is only 17 years old, finished the record competition with a rating of 1.24 across all 12 maps, which was the highest rating in the event.
G2 Esports’ HooXi shared his thoughts after winning the title,
“I said on stage that I didn’t want to be a crybaby, I can tell you I’ve been a crybaby for the last six months. On the second day of boot camp with G2 when I joined the team, I was sitting in my hotel room crying because I thought I wasn’t good enough, and now I’m standing here with the trophy in my hands…”
“I honestly don’t know what to tell you. It’s been extremely tough, exhausting, by far the toughest year I’ve had in my career both personally and career-wise. I think I’ve slept, and this is not a joke, I think I’ve slept maybe two hours on average every day since I came to Abu Dhabi. That, combined with anti-stratting, just waking up in the morning is tough.”
Initially, FaZe Clan headed into the tournament as the main favourites to lift the trophy. And, after Heroic had announced that they would have to attend the event without star player Martin ‘stavn’ Lund, FaZe was considered to be the title contender. But the PGL Major Antwerp winners were sent packing in the semi-finals after losing to Team Liquid, who were no match for G2 Esports in the final.
From the winners’ front, G2 Esports had started off their World Final campaign on a back foot, losing to FaZe Clan in their opening match through a 1-2 defeat. However, they came back stronger after that and went on to secure their place in the playoffs by beating the outsiders in a 2-0 domination – thereby sending the Russian team home.
The BLAST Premier World Final was the first tier-one event to feature Anubis, the community-created map that was added to the Active Duty map pool last month. You can find more information about how Anubis was created in our in-depth interview with the three creators of the map.