Preview of BLAST Pro Series Istanbul 2018
At the end of the month the Turkish city of Istanbul will host a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event with six top-tier participants and $250,000 on the line – BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul 2018. Let’s take a look at the tournament’s line-up, format, and schedule.
The event will be held on September 28-29 at Ülker Sports Arena, which capacity exceeds 15,000 visitors. All six participants have been invited by the organizers, among them are Astralis, Cloud9, MIBR, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Virtus.pro and the local crowd favourites Space Soldiers. They will compete in a single round-robin group with all matches being best-of-one. There will be three matches played at the same time, as can be seen below:
- Space Soldiers vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
- MIBR vs Cloud9
- Virtus.pro vs Astralis
- Space Soldiers vs Astralis
- Cloud9 vs Virtus.pro
- Ninjas in Pyjamas vs MIBR
- MIBR vs Space Soldiers
- Astralis vs Cloud9
- Virtus.pro vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Cloud9 vs Space Soldiers
- Ninjas in Pyjamas vs Astralis
- MIBR vs Virtus.pro
- Astralis vs MIBR
- Space Soldiers vs Virtus.pro
- Cloud9 vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
Two teams with the best score will play in a best-of-three grand finals, which will be held at 06:00 PM (UK Time) on September 29, the winner will take home a $125,000 prize. The team placed third in the group stage will choose their opponent for BLAST Pro Standoff, a showmatch with five 1v1 aim duels, with winner getting $20,000 in prize money.
According to our odds for outrights, Astralis, MIBR and Ninjas in Pyjamas are among the favourites. Astralis are currently the most powerful team in the world, this year they managed to win four premier LAN-events: DreamHack Masters Marseille, ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, ECS Season 5 Finals and ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018. At FACEIT Major the team managed to make it through the first and second stages with only two lost series – in the New Challengers Stage the Danish team lost to Ninjas in Pyjamas at Train, in the New Legends they lost to Team Liquid at Inferno. On the other hand, this season MIBR managed to win only ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018, an event mainly attended by tier-two teams. They also have had a rough time at FACEIT Major, where they started from the second stage – they lost two series vs TyLoo and Astralis, but in the fifth round managed to outplay Ninjas in Pyjamas (2:1), knocking them out of the tournament. Speaking about NiP, the Swedes are currently not in their best form, but they still belong to the top-10 teams of the world – this year they attended most of the premier events, but rarely exceeded 5th place.
Initially BLAST Pro Season Istanbul 2018 was supposed to take place on June 23-24, but was rescheduled due to pre-term elections in Turkey.