Friday we have another 2 game slate from Blast Premier Spring 2021. The games again start at 10:30 am EST, they are:

Big (63% implied win probability) vs NiP

Astralis (79%) vs OG

Sub Risk/Roster Changes

Ztr is still in for NiP, and boy did he impress in his debut, top fragging against Astralis in a shocking 2-0 sweep. No changes or sub risk from Big or OG.

From Astralis, it’s still just Xyp9x who gets subbed out on Nuke in favor of Bubzkji. Definitely don’t play Bubzkji, as he only plays the one map (although I am glad DK is finally putting him in the player pool consistently). While we were able to accurately predict that NiP would ban Nuke against Astralis on Thursday, it’s much less clear what is going to happen in terms of maps on Friday. Unfortunately this is the late game so we won’t know maps before lock, but let’s try to figure out how the picks might go.

So far in 2021 OG have banned Vertigo every series they’ve played, and picked either Mirage or Inferno. We know Astralis are going to ban Mirage, which would point towards OG again picking Inferno. However, despite playing Inferno 15 times in the past 3 month, OG only have a 33% win rate. Meanwhile Astralis have played it 19 times with a 68% win rate in the past 3 months. At some point OG should stop banging their head into the wall and accept that maybe Inferno just isn’t their map. If they do that, which is a big if, as we are getting into the fallacy of assuming rational coaching/decision making, Nuke is the only map where OG have a better win % than Astralis. Granted, that’s 50% over 6 games for OG vs 40% over 10 for Astralis, but still.  However, OG have regularly been banning Nuke in the 2nd round of bans. They’ve banned it every time it’s been an option in that round. At the end of the day, I don’t except OG to go from 2nd phase banning Nuke to picking it against Astralis, but it’s an outside possibility.

On the Astralis side, they’ve pretty regularly been picking Inferno lately. Given OG’s struggles and Astralis’ success, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Astralis pick Inferno if OG don’t. If OG pick Inferno or if Astralis simply decide not to, I’d expect them to go to Overpass, Dust 2, or maybe even Train. Nuke would make the least sense to me of all the possible maps, but I’m also not in the proverbial locker room.

I’ll be probably playing about 75% of my lineups with the assumption that Nuke won’t be played aka Xyp9x in my player pool, and 25% like Nuke will be played. That of course doesn’t mean I’ll lock Xyp9x in to 75% of my lineups, just that I’ll consider him an option for those lineups.

Slate Analysis

Ironically this slate is almost identical to yesterday in terms of structure. Astralis priced up so that you can’t easily fit a 3/3 with Big, and the other 3 teams priced pretty loosely. Again, I expect 3 Astralis and a 2-1 from the Big/NiP game to be the most popular build, especially with ztr absolutely dirt cheap at $4.4k after his massive debut.

Also just like yesterday, my favorite build is going to be 3 stacking either side of the Big/NiP game and running a 2-1 from the Astralis game. I’m not overly worried about their loss to NiP, both maps were close and NiP had a wildcard in ztr who definitely gave them a big boost. Speaking of ztr, while I was massively impressed with his debut, I do think it’s going to earn him a good amount of ownership on this slate, especially given his ridiculous price. He’s going to be my fade of the day, even in my NiP lineups. He was wildly inconsistent with Young Ninjas, and while that will probably get better with experience, he’s still only 17 and I expect that same inconsistency with the parent squad.

Tabsen ended up underowned compared to Syrson and Xantares on Thursday, and that will likely happen again on Friday, as to run 3 Astralis you have to sacrifice one of the big 3 from Big. Like I mentioned in yesterday’s article, Tabsen looks to be in much better form to start 2021 than he was at the end of 2020, where he talked about being burned out.

From Astralis, Xyp9x had much lower ownership than his counterparts, probably because of his sub risk, and I expect that to happen again on Friday. I like him quite a bit as a GPP pivot off of Dupreeh and/or Magisk. He has looked more like his old self of late, and can easily outfrag either of them if he gets to play all the maps. I’ll again be fading Glaive, as he’s priced too close to the rest of the team for me to want to play him.

Valde and Mantuu one-offs will account for most of my OG exposure, but if I do run any 3 stacks I’ll also include Issaa.

Top Captains

Device laid an egg with massive captain ownership on Thursday, but I doubt that will deter many on Friday. His ownership will likely dip just a bit, and I may not actively try to avoid him like I did on Thursday. Again though, Dupreeh, Magisk, and even Xyp9x make for interesting pivots off of him.

From Big I again like Syrson, who had very reasonable captain ownership on Thursday, although that is likely to rise a bit after he put up a strong game. I’ll have some Xantares and maybe even Syrson.

I’m still unlikely to captain anyone from NiP, as not with ztr appear to be a better fragger than Twist that even further muddies the water of who to play from them. Even when I stack them I’ll likely use an Astralis captain in those lineups.

That’s it from me, good luck on Friday!


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