As well as being the fighting ground for the Fall season title, BLAST Fall Finals will be the second big event played in front of a crowd and will decide the final teams for the Global Finals event in December.
All eyes on Na'Vi
Fresh of a historic win at the PGL Stockholm Major, Natus Vincere is the team to beat. The CIS squad has already qualified for the Global Finals but is still keen to add another trophy to their cabinet.
S1mple played down talks about a "Na'Vi era," saying they need to dominate the scene for at least six more months.
But you have to wonder what version of Na'Vi we will see at the event. How much practice have they had after the celebrations in Stockholm? And will they find the same motivation for an event that is just a fall Finals?
The fact that boombl4 and his men decided to skip the upcoming IEM Winter event indicates that they need some break from the grueling schedule. BLAST Fall Finals could be the event where they hit their limit.
Plenty of challengers
On paper, BLAST Fall Finals is a stacked event. But not all teams are playing at their peak. However, there's still plenty of sharks circling Na'Vi, waiting to strike at the first sign of weakness.
Heroic has now definitely shed the label of 'onliners.' Their PGL Stockholm run was cut short in the semis, but the team managed to convince even the most critical analysts of their LAN prowess. Backed by a home crowd and given more time to integrate coach Xizt, the team is a dangerous outsider.
FaZe Clan missed out on playing in front of the audience in Stockholm by the skin of their teeth. The team has struggled with consistency recently, but they can take down anyone on a good day. And don't underestimate the fact that karrigan is playing in front of a Danish crowd. Last time around, at the EPL Finals in Odense, he led a mousesport that didn't have any business winning the event to the trophy.
BIG might not be considered a contender for trophies, but the Germans earned their spot in the Fall Finals through a rigorous qualification process. They could spoil the tournament run of any team at the event.
New faces, fresh starts
The post-Major shuffle has been a pretty wild ride thus far, and some teams at the event have made changes in the past two weeks.
NIP finally decided to pull the trigger on a non-academy fifth. With the addition of es3tag, they added experience, firepower, and a capable secondary AWPer to the roster. But implementing a Danish player in the Swedish roster might take some time.
Astralis turned the page on their now-legendary era. The team added k0nfig and blameF, putting dupreeh and magisk on the inactive roster. They also made changes to the support staff, replacing franchise coach zonic with Ave. While this team sounds very promising, the moves were very drastic and need some time to come to fruition.
One last ride
Image: BLAST / Stephanie Lindgren
While some of the roster mania moves have already been made, some are still in the pipeline.
Team Liquid has all but confirmed an overhaul to their roster. FalleN, Stewie2K, and perhaps even others are playing their final events for the organization. Internal issues over leadership and tactical philosophy brought what seems to be the end of the cycle for this team.
Vitality played a decent Major, being eliminated in the quarterfinals by the eventual winners Na'Vi. But the highly ambitious organization isn't satisfied with decent results.
Management reportedly has targetted the Danes on Astralis' inactive roster. Shox, Kyojin, and coach XQTZZ are on their way out. But as Vitality can only finish these moves in 2022 due to contracts, the French lineup is given one last ride.