BLAST Pro Series Madrid 2019 was a shocking tournament: from Giants’ demolition of NiP to the fall of Astralis’ 31-game Nuke unbeaten streak it was a tournament filled with surprises. The finals saw the lovable underdogs ENCE dismantle Astralis in two maps, the first time the Danes lost a best-of-three in only two maps since IEM Chicago 2018. With the dust settling, who and what are the winners and losers of BLAST Pro Series Madrid 2019?
We all expected an Astralis stomping, but Madrid was the tournament of the underdogs.
IEM Katowice revenge is complete for ENCE! They defied expectation once more, going 4-1 in the round-robin group stage before demolishing Astralis in the final. They started the tournament by decimating NaVi before NiP pegged them back and then on the second day rattled off three consecutive wins to put them in the final. What was most impressive was their capability to takedown Astralis on Dust2, Nuke and Train, a range of maps that the Danes normally never drop on LAN. ENCE’s victory here is phenomenal and puts them as tournament favourites with Liquid going into cs_summit4.
MVP: Jani “Aerial” Jussila was a level above his normal self. He showed up in top form, playing an influential role in ENCE’s road to glory with strong site holds and massive entry plays.
The Rest of the Top-Five
Teams like Liquid, FaZe, and NaVi will be licking their lips after Madrid because of the vulnerability Astralis showed. The Danes weakened their grip on their illustrious era with a poor showing, losing out on three different maps in the tournament. For teams like FaZe and Liquid, whose stronger maps include Dust2, and NaVi who favour Train, BLAST Pro Series Madrid was a drop of blood in the water. They will mark the event as the start of a turning point at the top of Counter-Strike, where another team could finally challenge Astralis.
Most to Gain: Liquid will gain the most from Astralis’ failure this weekend because of the match with their map pool. They retain a 2-1 Dust2 record against Astralis with their current lineup, and with the Danes losing on it this weekend, they can make it their home pick versus Astralis.
Despite finishing fourth, NaVi’s position came after a loss in a meaningless game and to the two finalists Astralis and ENCE. Against such superior competition, the CIS squad stood little hope, and in the game against NiP, they were in second gear as they could not make the final. The main reason they should be satisfied with their performance at BLAST Pro Series Madrid is Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev’s massive improvement.
He stepped up in key moments and were it not for other teams outclassing NaVi generally, Edward and his team could have done serious damage in Madrid. Na'Vi will return home with heads held high, as with Edward’s form improving they have a stronger base to build on for upcoming tournaments.
MVP: It would be wrong to give any NaVi player besides Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev their MVP award, based on his continued overall godlike performances.
Whilst some expected names are in this section of the article, Astralis’ defeat in the final places them as losers for once.
Astralis’ main concern with BLAST Pro Series Madrid will be the fashion in which they fell. The Danes made the final off the back of a 4-1 group stage record, falling to ENCE on Dust2, but the Finns’ decimation of their Nuke record en route to a 2-0 victory in the grand final is even more worrisome. It means that in the past month Astralis’ Inferno record has fallen to BIG, Nuke record to ENCE, they have lost Overpass to MIBR and Liquid, lost Dust2 to FaZe and ENCE, and given Train to the Finns as well. This is unheard of for Astralis, previously well-known for dominating teams and shutting them out of the server. It shows cracks in the system for the lineup who need to bounce back to consolidate their grip on their year-long era.
LVP: Entry fragger Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen was absent in the grand final and other key moments for Astralis.
The woes continue for Cloud9, spiralling after a 1-4 performance at BLAST Pro Series Madrid. The diamond in the rough was Tim “autimatic” Ta as usual, but the rest of the team lacked any real drive to give team's serious games. They conceded 14 rounds to the Portuguese rookies Giants, and while hitting top digits against other teams they never looked like they had a chance of winning. Cloud9 is in turmoil, with Will “RUSH” Wierzba continuing to under-perform whilst trialist Daniel “vice” Kim is failing to adapt to high-level Counter-Strike.
LVP: RUSH is a shadow of his former self, and must surely face the exit door unless he rapidly turns his play around.
NiP finished third, but do not let that fool you; They were poor in Madrid, and continue to meander along. Giants humbled them 16-4 on Nuke, one of their historically strongest maps, and one of their victories came against NaVi in a meaningless game for their opposition because of the format. Their other victory was resounding, a remarkable 16-5 against ENCE on Nuke, where NiP took full advantage of starting on the CT-side. Regardless, NiP has hit their ceiling and need to rejuvenate their roster to have any hope of actual success.
LVP: Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson, the fragging in-game leader, did not prop up NiP when they needed him to.