NIP are the first team to book a spot in the BLAST Premier Spring Finals following a hard-fought 2-0 victory over BIG in Group A’s upper bracket final. The Swedes, who are playing with Erik “ztr” Gustafsson from their academy project Young Ninjas after Simon “twist” Eliasson was benched, pulled off another surprise victory in the $150,000 after previously beating world No.1 Astralis.
“The feeling is very good, there is no bad mood, and everybody wants to win,” Hampus “hampus” Poser said in the post-match interview, commenting on NIP‘s atmosphere after ztr was brought into the squad.
The Swedish team will be joined by seven other teams in the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, which will be held from June 15-20, with $425,000 on the line. As for BIG, they’ll play Group A’s consolidation final against the winner of Astralis and OG on Saturday.
BIG had a dream start on Overpass, one of their worst maps, as they won nine rounds in a row thanks to a relentless defensive setup. NIP answered back and chained six together to keep their comeback homes alive in the second. The German team, however, had the game in their hands as they quickly reached map point at 15-7.
Just like in Thursday’s series against Astralis, NIP showed resilience and put up a good fight, winning eight consecutive rounds to take the game to overtime. The brawl kept going until double overtime, when hampus‘s men figured a way to clinch Overpass as they picked up two rounds on each side.
The series proceeded to Mirage, where the Germans had an 87.5% winrate in the last three months. However, NIP carried their momentum from Overpass and won eight of the 10 first rounds on their CT side. BIG fixed their Terrorist side in the closing stages and claimed the last five rounds to salvage their half.
ztr secured the second pistol round of Mirage for his team as he won a 1v3 clutch in the after-plant, but NIP were dismantled by the Germans’ force-buy in the following round. BIG won three in a row off the back of that anti-eco, but it all fell apart after Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora won a 1v1 clutch against Tizian “tiziaN” Feldbusch with just a CZ-75. NIP took control of the game after that and marched to a comfortable victory.