This article is part of our CS:GO series.
The knockout stage of BLAST Premier Spring Groups brings some of the most exciting matches of the tournament. The groups have gone largely as expected with some minor, but overall a generally chalky seeding. The knockout stage is where surprises could come with teams competing for an all important berth into the Spring Final.
Players to Target
NiKo has been utterly incredible in the Spring Groups, putting together the top individual showings in nearly every category. The rifler has been ascending to new levels with the pressure to carry taken off his shoulders by the star-studded roster surrounding him. In this sort of form it's impossible to crown anyone but NiKo the top players in BLAST Premier Spring Groups.
Spinx was awful after joining Vitality at the tail end of 2022, but he's bounced back in a big way to kick off 2023. One of the best players in the tournament through the early stages, the rifler has stepped up to allow ZywOo to shine. With this sort of form and an incredible team around him, Spinx is worth targeting in all formats moving forward. Especially important is the stellar level ZywOo has shown, meaning teams cannot prepare for Spinx.
broky has quietly been one of the best AWP players in the world in 2022 and to open 2023. While he might be outshone by ZywOo or s1mple, he's an incredible talent in his own right and is worth considering in all formats. FaZe has been forced into playing with a stand-in, but has been absolutely unbeatable even with es3tag stepping in. broky will be a premier AWP option in all formats and sits just below ZywOo and s1mple atop those rankings.
Players to Fade
To say Buzz's debut has been underwhelming would be an understatement. The rifler has been the worst player in the tournament by a huge margin. He's simply not been good enough and Astralis have been awful with their new young talent. Buzz might be a good prospect, but he's nowhere near ready for the top tier of play and it's showing in an ugly way in the first tournament of 2023.
hallzerk went from being one of the hottest young snipers in Europe to falling into a starting role with Complexity, and now falling to the second-lowest rating in the Spring Groups. Complexity have looked utterly out-matched across all matches and are now staring down the barrel of a round one elimination. hallzerk will need to find some unprecedented form to keep Complexity alive into the knockout stage and to avoid a truly embarrassing stat line.
neaLan wasn't brought into EG to do anything but in-game lead and he's actually done that quite admirably. The rifle player hasn't really had to do much more and has already taken EG to a match win, which is far more than anyone expected of them. While it remains to be seen if EG can make any sort of knockout stage run it seems that neaLan simply won't offer enough individually to be worth consideration in any matches. Even in wins he generally falls to the bottom of the board.
Stats courtesy of HLTV.org