NA is back?
With so much pressure on the Evil Geniuses CS:GO division to make its ambitious project work, the main roster has delivered perhaps its most important victory yet, stunning the No. 1 ranked Heroic today to kick off the BLAST Premier Spring group stage of 2023.
EG entered the match as the ultimate underdogs, while also debuting a new main roster AWPer in Jerric “wiz” Jiang, who joined from the EG Black academy roster to replace the departing Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov. Against them stood Heroic, the top-ranked team on HLTV and the defending BLAST Fall Final champions.
The series looked like it would be a quick and easy affair for Heroic, who coasted to a 16-7 win on EG’s pick of Inferno to kick off the match. But EG rallied on Heroic’s pick of Ancient, taking a huge lead after their CT side and holding off a Heroic comeback just to limp across the finish line 16-14.
On Overpass, like on Ancient, EG again jumped out to a huge lead in the first half and had to hold off a Heroic comeback after switching sides. But just as EG seemed to close out the third map, up 15-13 and having eliminated all the Heroic T-side players in the 29th round, miscommunication between EG players resulted in the bomb detonating despite them having the kits and time to defuse.
The mistake gave Heroic one last round to force overtime, and while this kind of blunder would send an undisciplined team off the rails, EG kept their composure and the Major-winning presence of Timothy “autimatic” Ta anchored the NA team. He picked up the opening and final kill of the round, giving EG the 16-14 map win and the series victory.
For EG, after a dismal performance at the IEM Rio Major that led many to question the 15-man CS:GO division known colloquially as “the Blueprint,” a gutsy win against the top-ranked team in the world is as ideal a start to the 2023 campaign as you can ask for. They advance to the winners final against either Vitality or Astralis.
As for Heroic, on-site analyst Mathieu “Maniac” Quiquerez described the loss as “the worst way to start a campaign” following their successes at IEM Rio and BLAST Fall Finals to close out last year.