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Photo: StarLadder

BLAST Pro Series Miami is set to kick off in just a few hours and that means some top tier Counter-Strike. Day one will feature two rounds being played behind closed doors to set the tone for the event.

As is usual for all BLAST Pro Series events, each rounds matches will be played simultaneously starting at 17:00 GMT (-4). In this article, I’ll be breaking down what we can expect from the intial MIBR and Natus Vincere matchup.

MIBR vs. Na’Vi build up:

This match up on paper should be spectacular but if we look at recent performances, this will be a rough time for the Brazilians. Since reforming their Major winning roster, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and co. have failed to perform even close to the same level.

The team went home from the WESG world finals after a 2-1 loss to Windigo and have only scraped together three map wins since. The Brazilian side went out defeated in front of their home crowd in São Paulo, failing to pick up a single map. They would bounce back with a victory over a relatively unknown Panda team at StarSeries i-League season 7 finals but go on to lose to Renegades, NRG, and North, only picking up one map throughout all three best-of-three series.

What brings more concern is that each of these series have seen MIBR struggling to break double digit rounds.

Natus Vincere, on the other hand, is coming in high on a victory at the StarSeries finals where Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev could on a clinic, leaving fans with highlight after highlight.

The team looked refreshed with the new guidance of Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy as Esports Director and took down the up and comers in the process. After a moment of doubt when the squad opened up with a 2-1 loss to ViCi, the team would go undefeated in their run to the final. During that time they would be tested against BIG, Ninjas in Pyjamas, NRG, ENCE, and Renegades.

Both Renegades and ENCE have shown promise over the last several months, but Na’Vi was able to quell their threat and meet fnatic. In the drivers seat the whole way, Na’Vi took down the Swedish side 3-0.

Playstyle match up:

MIBR seems to be lacking the cohesion that made them the terror they were during their 2015-2016 run. Their bread and butter was their synchonization, being able send Fernando “fer” Alvarenga into havoc causing positions while players pushed in unison from another side. Being able to gain map control in one fell swoop and losing few in the process saw this lineup bringing home trophies. Add in Marcelo “coldzera” David’s ability to pull them out of uncomfortable situations and it seems all the pieces are missing.

Without the same level of successful aggression from fer and the pure firepower and impact plays of peak coldzera the team’s only option is to find that cohesion again and at this point, it’s still missing.

When it comes to Na’Vi, you have to expect the unexpected. Na’Vi has the structure, albeit not as intact as an Astralis or Liquid but they make up for it with pure shock and awe. Zeus’ mid-round calls come on the back of an early round that allows players like s1mple and Denis “electronic” Sharipov to make room, open gaps, or force T’s into uncomfortable positions.

Where MIBR seem to have lost their ability to win with aggression, well-timed pushes, and deciding the pace – Na’Vi have found it.

On the CT side, it is not uncommon for Na’Vi to take the fight to you or provide enough resistance to force a late round push into a stacked site or simply s1mple. When Na’Vi is on, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Astralis or Liquid being able to topple the titans they become thanks to their own playstyle and ability to shrink the box that s1mple plays within.

On the flip side, Na’Vi has shown a wild ride of inconsistency in the past and should they come in on a downward turn, MIBR’s stock in this match could rise.


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