BLAST Pro Series São Paulo: the EVPs
With BLAST Pro Series São Paulo done and dusted, it's time to present our EVP (Exceptionally Valuable Players) picks of the $250,000 tournament.
Astralis successfully defended their BLAST Pro Series Lisbon title as they ran out victors at RFRSH Entertainment's first stop in the Americas, navigating through the round-robin stage without dropping a single map before taking down Liquid in a three-map final.
After the tournament, Nicolai "device" Reedtz was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the competition for his role in Astralis' campaign. The Danish AWPer claimed the medal, the 13th of his career, after leading a whopping 10 stats categories, including rating, ADR, kills per round and AWP kills per round, and featuring in the top five in four others.
The tournament's unconventional format, with the round-robin stage directly leading to the grand final, usually makes for a fairly low number of EVPs, and this one is no exception, though there are twice as many picks as there were for the Lisbon event. Astralis and Liquid are unsurprisingly the most represented sides, with ENCE being the only non-finalist to provide a player.
HLTV.org's EVP picks (by order):
After proudly exhibiting the MVP medal at Astralis’ previous two Big Events, BLAST Pro Series Lisbon and IEM Katowice, Magisk confirmed his excellent run of form as he topped the EVP list in São Paulo for his solid level of play across the board.
The 21-year-old had the second-highest rating in Astralis, 1.21, despite the fact that, in the grand match series against Liquid, he did not come close to device or Xyp9x, the team’s two main carries in the match. Against the North American side, Magisk had his only below-average-rated maps, but in both instances, he came close to the 1.0 mark.
Magisk was featured in the stats leaderboards in 12 categories, leading four of them, most notably KAST (79.3%) and percentage of support rounds (27.2%). He was also rated fifth for damage per round (82.0) and was one of the hardest players to kill, averaging 0.58 deaths per round.
Xyp9x continued his hot start to the year with a 1.14 rating on Brazilian soil after having already secured an EVP mention at the IEM Katowice Major, where he challenged Magisk for the medal until the very end.
In São Paulo, the ‘Clutch Minister’ was hardly seen in the round-robin stage as he had just two above-average ratings in five games, but he stepped up as the grand final approached. In the best-of-three title decider against Liquid, he put in a team-leading 1.32 rating and 86.0 ADR, eclipsing teammate and tournament MVP device.
Xyp9x had one more Player of the Map (PotM) pick than Magisk but still ranked below the Major MVP on account of his smaller role throughout the tournament. Unsurprisingly, he was joint-first for clutches won (five) and was among the best in terms of KAST (76.1%) and percentage of support rounds (24.9%).
nitr0 may not have been as explosive as EliGE, but he made up for that with his remarkable consistency – which was the main reason why he is the highest Liquid player on this list. The North American in-game leader put in a 1.14 rating, his best since last year’s ESL One New York, the only tournament at which he was named an EVP in 2018.
He ended every round-robin match with above-average ratings, even impressing in the more challenging games against Astralis (1.06 rating) and ENCE (1.20). When he faced the Danes again, he was Liquid's highest-rated player on Dust2 and Inferno, only cutting a sullen mood on the last map, where the North Americans were no match for their opponents.
Liquid’s skipper made the leaderboards in seven different categories, most notably percentage of rounds with at least one kill (52.4%), KAST (76.4%) and success in opening duels (55.3%). He also had the highest number of flash assists of the tournament (25) and was joint-best with Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen for flash assists per round (0.13).
After earning five EVP mentions in 2018, EliGE makes the cut for the first time in 2019 after averaging a team-high 1.22 rating in São Paulo. And while his rating appears to suggest that he deserved a higher place on this list, it is important to point out that his best performances came against the bottom three sides of the round-robin stage, MIBR, FaZe and NIP, and that his numbers were a bit inflated by anti-eco multi kills.
EliGE ended the first stage of the tournament as the highest-rated player, in part due to his career-best 2.71 rating against the Swedes on Overpass. In the grand final against Astralis, he put in a 1.08 rating on Dust2 but then dipped into below-average numbers, finishing the series with a 0.82 rating, the second worst in the team.
The North American player had the highest opening kills per round ratio of the tournament (0.15) and also impressed in terms of impact rating (1.38), damage per round (85.5) and kills per round (0.75).
Stewie2K appears to be finally adjusting to life in his new team as he put in a 1.12 rating at the BLAST event, this way earning his first EVP mention since Cloud9’s epic ELEAGUE Major Boston winning run.
Liquid’s newest member never really stood out as the team's best player in the round-robin stage but was a solid contributor in all best-of-one matches, averaging a 1.33 rating, the second-highest in the team. However, he gave a poor account of himself against Astralis in the grand final and sat at the bottom of the scoreboard at the end of the match with a 0.78 rating.
The former MIBR man was Liquid’s best player on the Terrorist side with a 1.27 rating, but on the CT side he struggled to make his mark (0.99 rating), ending the tournament a fair distance away from nitr0, EliGE and Keith "NAF" Markovic in that regard. He also boasted the third-highest percentage of rounds with at least one kill at 51.3%.
sergej was the only player apart from device who had a flawless record in terms of maps with 1+ ratings. And while he did not have a single PotM pick to his name, he played an important role in all of ENCE’s best-of-one encounters, averaging a 1.20 rating – his second best at a Big Event.
In the end, ENCE were not able to get a repeat of the Major final against Astralis due to round difference, but for sergej there were some positives to take: he was in the top five in six stats categories, most notably rating, kills per round (0.82), percentage of rounds with at least one kill (48.9%) and headshots per round (0.42).