Imperial Esports and G2 Esports both cruised to sweeps on Wednesday to open Group A action at the BLAST Premier Spring Final in Washington, D.C.
Imperial, who won the most recent BLAST event, the Spring American Showdown in April, won 16-3 on Overpass before pulling off a 16-14 victory on Vertigoto take down Team Vitality. G2 captured identical 16-11 wins on Vertigo and Inferno to dispatch Cloud9 -- which won the Spring European Showdown in April.
Marcelo "chelo" Cespedes led the all-Brazilian Imperial squad with 46 kills and a plus-16 kills-deaths ratio. Russia's Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov was the key cog for G2, racking up 43 kills to post a plus-11 K-D.
Team Vitality and Cloud9 will meet in an elimination match on Thursday, while Imperial Esports and G2 Esports will face off in a winners match, also on Thursday.
The eight-team BLAST Premier Spring Final features a double-elimination group stage, where the field has been split into two groups of four teams. Pool play opening-round winners face off to determine the group winner, while opening-round losers play for the third and final playoff spot.
All matches are best-of-three, with the winners of each group advancing to the semifinals of the playoffs. Runners-up of each group will move on to the quarterfinals of the playoffs as high seeds, while third-place finishers will head to the quarterfinals as low seeds. All playoff matches are also best-of-three in the single-elimination bracket.
The grand final is scheduled for Sunday, with the winner taking home $200,000 of the $425,000 prize pool. A victory in the grand final also grants qualification to the $1 million BLAST Premier World Final, which will be held Dec. 12-17 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
There were also a pair of sweeps in Group B on Wednesday, as Heroic used wins on Inferno (16-7) and Nuke (16-6) to beat Complexity Gaming and FaZe Clan topped Astralis 16-5 on Overpass and 16-6 on Mirage.
Jakob 'jabbi' Nygaard paced the all-Danish Heroic squad with 42 kills and a plus-18 differential. FaZe got a balanced attack with Norway's Havard 'rain' Nygaard leading four players with at least 30 kills with a match-high 38. Russel 'Twistzz' Van Dulken of Canada produced a match-high plus-17 differential for the winners.
BLAST Premier: Spring Final 2023
Imperial Esports vs. G2 Esports
Team Vitality vs. Cloud9
Heroic vs. FaZe Clan
Complexity Gaming vs. Astralis
Prize pool and BLAST Premier points distribution:
1. $200,000; 3,000 points; berth in World Final
2. $85,000; 2,000 points
3-4. $40,000; 1,200 points
5-6. $20,000; 500 points
7-8. $10,000, 300 points
--Field Level Media