BLAST Director of Product Nicolas Estrup: "We cannot solely rely on rankings to determine who participates when we're thinking long-term"

While at BLAST Pro Series Global Finals, we sat down with BLAST's Director of Product and Experience, Nicolas Estrup, who shed more light on the tournament organizer's revamped seasonal format for 2020 and the recently announced partnered teams.

During the Bahrain event, BLAST revealed more details about their revamped Premier tournament series for 2020, which will consist of two seasons leading up to a Global Final at the end. The tournament organiser also confirmed the 12 partnered teams, who will constitute a large portion of its participants over the course of the year, and London as the location for the beginning of the Spring season.

BLAST's Director of Product and Experience, Nicolas Estrup

With the list featuring organizations such as Complexity and OG, whose brand new lineups had only recently been completed, and most notably missing the highly-successful duo of fnatic and mousesports, the announcement immediately sparked a heated debate in the community.

In the interview conducted shortly before the grand final in Bahrain, Mr. Estrup shed some light on the decision-making process behind choosing the 12 partners and discussed the tournament organizer's plans for the 2020 BLAST Premier series as a whole, talking about the changes to the format and overall product, and qualifiers.

Can you explain how the process of choosing the 12 partnered teams went? Was there a process in which they applied or was it down to your criteria and then contacting the teams?

It was obviously a long process and we tried to make it as good and solid a process for everyone. We talked to more than 20 teams, had dialogues — obviously, I can't disclose these singular dialogues, but they were positive on the whole. The hardest part about ultimately having to pick and choose was: which criteria do you do that based on? Anyone who has been in Counter-Strike for more than a couple of minutes knows that we cannot solely rely on rankings to determine who participates when we're thinking long-term. We have seen how that can change dramatically and what impact that can have on a TO like us. Knowing that we wanted it to be as open a circuit as possible, we still needed this group of teams in there and we lined it up so that we had a long list of criteria that carried weight.

One important thing is that we couldn't solely be reliant around what the lineup of a team is right now, at this moment. Our dream, and I'm sure every other TO's dream, is that the setup they build is also going to last them a long time. To ensure that, the organization behind teams and all these extra parameters weigh in just as much and maybe even in some cases more because it is a long play. Having the long process, being clear with ourselves internally on what the criteria are and how we want to position that when having to make the decision made life easier, even though there are a lot of good teams. We feel really excited about the lineup we'll be working with in 2020, and there are going to be plenty of ways to play into it, which is probably something that many fans might not be completely aware of, but the fact is that the 12 teams are just a part of it.

The two teams that most people noted weren't part of the partners were mousesports and fnatic because their competitive stance at this point as top-five teams in the world, and there is a team that won a BLAST Pro Series stop last year in ENCE, who weren't included either. Can you speak to those omissions?

I think it would be hard for me to dive deep into the exact decision why they weren't included in these 12 teams, but I think it comes back to those parameters. Something that is interesting is that I know that there were a lot of opinions around teams like Complexity. If you look at it from the outside, it might look like there was a more obvious choice, but knowing Jason Lake and knowing the way he operates, the passion he has when he operates, I think that even came through in his whole process of building this new team. Seeing the mindset he had was a positive factor for us because it meant that here's a guy who is willing to wipe the slate clean, go out and be bold, build a good roster, knowing that it will take time but wanting the roster to be really good. And then having a facility like he has, which is obviously incredible. All of that combined begins to weigh in all of a sudden, and that's when it gets be hard to nitpick everything apart. For some, maybe it doesn't make sense why their favorite team isn't directly in it, but I'm sure there will be opportunities for them to potentially make it in, eventually.

Talking about those parameters and criteria, did it come down to lengthy talks with the candidates you had in mind to figure out if your ideas aligned?

That was an important part. For all of this to work in the best way possible, it's super important that we all have the same mission, the same vision for what we want to achieve. I don't think that the teams that weren't picked don't necessarily share the mission, but when it's as tight a race and you have many teams — we picked a great time to try to pick teams because all of a sudden it just seems like everyone is beginning to step up their game. It was beautiful that mouz got the victory on Danish soil, great for Finn and the whole gang, all that stuff is perfect, it just makes our lives harder to make the decisions (laughs). We feel like we've been open with the teams in the process, and just like with everything else it's never fun to have to say no to someone, but we feel like that we did it in a good way and feel comfortable about it. The parameters are what helped us get over the line, and I can't touch on what all of those are, but that is what helped decide when we got to the ones that were tricky to decide on.

Complexity CEO Jason Lake's mindset was a positive factor for BLAST

Over the past couple of years you have been widely criticized for disrupting the schedule that was already in place by all the other organizers. Was it difficult to find space for this revamped format and to get those 12 teams to sign off on an entire year of competition?

A key learning from last year is that the whole scheduling thing is wild. I don't think any TO or team is having fun trying to figure out their year. But we all tried to make it work. When we sat down and looked at what we wanted to achieve for 2020 it was clear, if you look at the format that we've been using until now, we had a lot of tent pole events. Some of them were definitely too close for comfort for production and for teams, but it was the number of tournaments we wanted to do. We are a young TO, which I think is often forgotten, we are 50 people in the company spread across two offices in London and Copenhagen, we're not a mega-corporation. We were running extremely fast and making more tournaments than we probably should have just for everyone's sanity (laughs), but we felt like we needed to make that happen. We then saw it filled up the schedule, so when looking at 2020, we thought about how we could create comfort for production, for our own company, for the teams, and for talent as much as we could from our end. The way I try to approach it from our side is: we as TOs have a responsibility to help keep everyone in as comfortable a state as possible.

When looking at that, it became clear that, from a storyline perspective, we couldn't just drop eight big trophies over the course of the year. It loses its effect. When you sit there as a fan and you see a BLAST trophy lifted for the sixth time and we haven't even made it to the Global Final yet, you've kind of seen that happen. We needed to do that less often for the storyline to be better, for that curve to build up better. And from a scheduling perspective, we needed to do longer periods coherently at the beginning of these two half-years that we created. That's where the studio setup comes into play, which I think is going to be nice for the teams because they're only committing to one week out of the three, which means that they're then free to go bootcamp if they want to or go play something else if they want to. I think that was important. That's how we want to kick off those two half-year legs because it gave teams freedom and it gave them a platform where it's slower-paced next year in general.

Going from all these best-of-ones, three matches at a time, that's intense for anyone, especially for the players, that's super-taxing. It might have been a given for many fans, but we wanted to be progressive when we came at the beginning so I think all of this is a learning for us. This means that we can do a better format that is less stressful for everyone, I feel confident that the fans will get better Counter-Strike, and we get better value out of it for the company. It's just easier to tell those stories and build everything up towards the end of the year.

Is that how this idea of having the seasonal format with a Global Finals at the end came about, trying to slow down?

Totally. Slow down for everyone's sake. We have to think about that as TOs, we have to slow it down because it ultimately makes for greater storylines and a better viewing experience. That was one important aspect, and the other was the build-up. The hard thing about Counter-Strike, one thing is that it's beautiful that we have an open ecosystem. I'm sure any TO would love to have it all to themselves, anyone would be crazy not to say that, but in the world we live in where the system is open the best we can do is to slow things down and find the right places to fit in. There are so many leagues going on that have a more traditional league setup and we shifted direction when we started building our stuff. Seeing the movement in the space in all of 2019 we could see we had to change our setup, too. We felt like we needed what we've created now. We needed to float to the top to some degree and have less of a strong foothold as I would say leagues have more of, and then be the place where a lot of these teams end up competing. And then back to the storylines; it is just a much better story arc if we can start from the bottom, get gradually higher tent poles up towards the end of the year, where the mastodon that is the $1,000,000 prize pool for one team is. That's going to be the great thing waiting at the end. That's an important key to that story.

You were talking about trying to find the right spots to fit in — there is the ESL Pro League and this rumored unannounced North American league, and the two of them are clearly going to go head-to-head. Were there talks with these other entities in trying to figure out where you fit in?

We've talked to both. I don't think it's in anyone's interest to work against each other. I think there will probably be times over the course of the year where they will most likely clash, this rumored league and what ESL is cooking up, and we might clash with someone, too. But we, at least at this moment, knock on wood, aren't clashing with that much, so that's good. There are things that are sacred that we should never clash with, the main Major events and all that stuff, we need to leave that in there, that's a beautiful thing that needs to happen and needs to have time to happen. But, right now, I'd say we're as clash-free as we could dream of, even though there are clashes happening. We tried to smoothly fit in where there was some open space.

BLAST Premier will begin next month in London

Transitioning into the first part of the Spring season, you mentioned your offices in London and I suspect that has something to do with choosing that location for the first part of the season, so why London?

I'm from the old days, I remember 4Kings, I remember Mangiacapra, the whole old gang. I have a tiny dream that UK Counter-Strike comes back to some degree. I was gone when HenryG had his stint in Source and all that stuff, but I have heard of it. But all joking aside, the UK is just a great market. Just like any other sport, this is a business. You have to look at which markets you want to go to, where you want to see Counter-Strike grow. London was just an obvious choice. We also feel like it's a premier city, it's a triple-A type city that we feel comfortable in because we have an office there and a setup there out of which we could run a lot. Our entire commercial operations sit out of London, so it was natural. Our production arm, when it comes to the venues and all that, also sits out of London, they have a long history of doing touring concerts, so it's their own back yard. For teams, I think London is a good choice, it's there right in the middle, from a broadcast perspective it's a good timezone — obviously not for the entire world, that's never possible.

We found a special place. Doing a studio is a first for us. I think there have been some great studios over the course of time. I loved visiting the ELEAGUE one. That was a great representation of how to do a studio with an audience. So having those three weeks, making them special was important, especially because we like making a show, we want to try to create a spectacle where we can. How do we transfer that into a studio setting? The way we saw that was that we needed an untraditional venue, and the one we've gone for is a film studio. And with that comes that add-on experience. When I went to the site visit there, there was a musical artist that most people most likely know making a music video in the hall next to the hall we were looking at. It's a studio where Wes Anderson and Danny Boyle have done some of their biggest movies. That's a great experience. We wanted to create something that felt just like the ELEAGUE studio, that you're part of a live broadcast. You're not part of just a sports event necessarily, that's half of it, but the other half is that it's a live environment, it's TV, and it feels exclusive to be there. So we're doing a studio setup where there are going to be fans.

One of the things that went along with the announcement of the teams was that the setup was going to bring the fans closer to the teams, the closest they've ever been. What does that entail?

We want to continue the immersiveness that we tried to bring in Copenhagen and in Bahrain. We now try to follow the players into the rooms, follow wherever they go with the cameras to tell that narrative, for fans to see them at all times. We want to take that to another level next year. That studio, combined with fans who are going to be chaperoned into this active film studio, into what we will have then built, I think it's going to be a great experience and it's going to set it apart. What we can see is that what happens with the game is one thing. We have a job to bring fans and players as close to each other without players being uncomfortable, and just giving them that connection. You can see that when they get to feed off each other, that's special. Anyone who has been anywhere in the world has seen that, whether it's Copenhagen, São Paulo, Cologne, Katowice, when you give them that space and the energy can build up, it's an incredible experience. And then you think, "how do we achieve the same for the people at home?", It needs to be immersive as well. This whole process of opening up not just the studio but the whole building, the whole structure, the set, to the people watching at home is going to be a key component. Then we will be doing a lot of broadcast segments that I can't talk about yet that I think people will enjoy as well, to push those boundaries.

Can you elaborate on what you said on Twitter after the team announcement, saying that more than just those 12 partnered teams will be a part of BLAST Premier? We have heard about this Showdown mechanic but very few specifics, such as how much space there will be opened up to the teams outside of the partners.

We're close to having the final mechanics locked down for that, but I think it's fair to say that we're truly working on making that as open as possible. Something that we could see had a ton of value over the course of 2019 when we did the local qualifier in Madrid, Movistar Riders and Giants — perfect, Giants coming in and playing up against some of the best teams and doing well, that's exciting. Moscow was bonkers, we saw the two qualifying teams in the final! No one would have counted on that happening. That component is super important. We felt the need to make sure that below the Showdown — whose format I'm also really excited about because it will be a fresh take on how that can work — is where we will have various qualifications and other ways the teams can make it in.

Local qualifiers will have a place in the Premier series

It would make no sense as a TO if we didn't leave space open to be able to work with teams that skyrocket onto the scene. ENCE is a beautiful example of that, obviously a legacy org but in terms of their form they just blew up out of nowhere. That is something we need to leave room for, and the same for teams that are just beginning to consistently perform really, really well. If one team goes from a qualifier into another into the Showdown, then Spring or Fall final, and make it to the Global Final and win? I'm going to lose my shit. I'm going to be super happy. That is the underdog story that any Counter-Strike fan would most likely love to see.

So we can expect local qualifiers based on the finals' location as part of that qualifying process again?

Definitely. That is the metric that we're trying to finalize now. There are a lot of constellations of that that are interesting, if it is a mix of direct invites fighting off against people who have qualified from other arms, other tournaments, then that is super-interesting. Those are the things that we are looking at finalizing so we can make it as clear, transparent, open, and easy to understand as possible.

In our interview with Robbie Douek from about three months ago, he talked about looking to get better financial results after having reported around $7 million in losses in 2018. What changes to the product are you going to bring to help with this?

Changing the product comes down to being smart about how you produce, how you build your setups, what you innovate towards, trying to be frugal with the cash that you have, and be mindful of what you try to achieve in the short term and the long term. That's one side that is probably pretty straightforward. The other that is more interesting is that we, as an industry and in Counter-Strike especially, need to get numbers to grow, we need to get viewership to grow. We need to get broadcast deals to grow in size, which benefits everyone. What that is essentially going to mean is that we, TOs, aren't going to burn the amount of cash that we are doing now.

Things should begin to shift, which is what we at least focused heavily on. That is sometimes also why we might not always go back somewhere. There are a lot of things tied to doing an event of this scale. You want to try to get as much help from sponsorships, from broadcast deals, from local partners that want to work with us and carry some weight, and that turns into an economic shift, as well. That is the truly interesting part of where things will begin to become healthier, we're dealing with a game that also wants this openness in having more TOs that can do it. That just puts additional challenges on us, which is fair because it's the people that own the game that want it this way, but it means that we have to be really smart about where we go, the markets, how we can get money in, broadcasters we can benefit from, and all of that. It's that whole side of the business that we need to grow and try to push forward even harder.

And surely that's also part of those criteria in choosing those 12 teams that you're partnered with for 2020.

Of course. Obviously, there is a tremendous amount of funding coming to teams, but I think the important part is: getting $50 million as a team is great, but how do you spend it, what are you trying to build? That is also of interest to us because it shows what their mission is, that could be parallel to us or it could be a whole other direction, which isn't bad, it just means that it could help in another way or not help at all. All of that are things that you have to take into account. As a Counter-Strike fan, I think it's easy to forget the business aspect of it, both from a TO perspective and from a team perspective. It's a job, we all try to make money so people can get salaries, so we can grow it and hopefully be bigger and better than we were in the past. If that's not the mission for anyone, it doesn't make sense at all to have a business.

Is there anything else that you'd like to elaborate on based on the feedback that you've received in the past few hours since the team announcement?

I just think it's great to see passion. I've been in this space for 15+ years and the passion has not changed. It is the hardcore passion that you will see anywhere on this goddamn planet, and that's the beauty of it. That can sometimes be hard as a TO, we've seen passion in good and bad ways in our lifetime and we've tried to take some slaps to the face with a raised head and we feel like we've done that pretty well. We're sitting here feeling comfortable, not just comfortable but extremely excited about the year to come. I just love this community and the passion they show. Even though the people love the teams that are in or have some frustrations with some of them, that's all part of it. It sparks debate, you can see people discussing and debating on social media, on HLTV, Reddit, everywhere, that's just the beauty of the world we're in. I feel like it has gone as positively as I could have hoped for, I'm just excited to kick off 2020 and try to push a hard agenda for making it a better space for everyone. That might sound a bit Mother Theresa-like, but essentially, we need to keep players, talent, and ourselves sane. We need to take care of our people and the fans, ultimately, and we at least take the best steps we feel like we can.

tarik | 
Norway MD! 
Ok blastralis
2019-12-24 19:00
This is how you get c9 in everyone of these shit tournaments
2019-12-24 19:26
Netherlands HetIsPatat 
"I remember 4Kings, I remember Mangiacapra" MA BOOIIIII!!!
2019-12-24 19:46
BLAST "We solely rely on money to determine who participates"
2019-12-24 20:05
United Kingdom whatacliche 
2019-12-25 08:11
Colombia MonstarX 
2019-12-24 19:00
Brunei cyLoL 
We are thinking long term signs c9 to contract
2019-12-24 19:01
2019-12-24 19:28
Brunei cyLoL 
Glad I made you laugh men))
2019-12-24 19:29
2019-12-24 20:11
Netherlands ZoMilan 
+1 weirdo's at blast think mouz and fnatic are bad long term..
2019-12-24 23:52
Brunei cyLoL 
2019-12-25 02:57
Fnatic, yes. Mouz, meh but def more promising then OG
2019-12-25 05:56
Netherlands ZoMilan 
Mouz are sticking with rosters damn long
2019-12-27 18:13
United States 10YearBansRUs 
Missing the point about Fnatic and Mouz and not addressing it. Thanks men
2019-12-24 19:01
blast worst thing to happen to cs and the people running it are morons. You think they are going to address anything useful here lul
2019-12-24 19:39
"blast worst thing to happen to cs" have you heard about CGS
2019-12-24 20:47
I meant csgo, but I think both are bad, but at least there are new lessons to be learned from CGS while blast are making old stupid mistakes. CGS was (I am pretty sure) the first franchise league for any esport. So there is a lot to learn from it (or there was* a lot to learn)
2019-12-24 21:23
What is CGS?
2019-12-26 15:49
Huge League done in the US that was televised and had many teams that would compete in many games including Source (or some reason not 1.6). Millions were spent, but when the whole 2008 fiasco happened they shut it down and esports was deemed a failure. This is a very short summary tbh I reccomend you look up some video and watch it
2019-12-26 16:36
Wow thanks for answering men))
2019-12-26 23:27
np mens is winter break I have literally nothing better to do
2019-12-26 23:46
Hahahha makes sense
2019-12-27 17:35
India Wise_Indian 
2019-12-24 19:02
BLAST SUCKS they only care about money
2019-12-24 19:03
they have to survive tho, lost millions last year
2019-12-24 19:29
Netherlands WitnessMe 
Really? That's insane
2019-12-25 00:34
Xyp9x | 
Cyprus Xeeh 
It said right there in the article that they lost 7 million dollars in 2018
2019-12-25 02:25
Tell me one organizer that doesn't?
2019-12-24 20:17
Nobody has lied and cut as many corners as BLAST. Richard Lewis has regularly kept up with all of RFRSH’s bs and has exposed them as being the greedy pricks they are.
2019-12-24 23:49
Xyp9x | 
Cyprus Xeeh 
So greedy they lost 7 million dollars in 2018
2019-12-25 02:25
Maybe if they cared more about hosting epic tournaments instead of quick meaningless ones more people would come.
2019-12-25 04:02
Morocco de_dust 
So youre supporting a BLAST major?
2020-01-01 12:18
no you're just putting words into my mouth lol nt tho
2020-01-02 02:39
Morocco de_dust 
no but a major is an epic tournament and not a quick and meaningless one, meaning you'd rather see a blast major than these events.
2020-01-02 09:15
They did that expecting profit later. Many greedy companies do that.
2019-12-27 17:34
? That's not what my question was. Your changing subject. My question is what organizer/company doesn't want to make out of something they invest in?
2019-12-25 13:29
That is what every company wants
2019-12-24 20:25
WOW OH NO! How dare they care about profit when they money invest in something. They have to be doing it only for the sake of entertaining other people by offering good cs and not thinking about making money.
2019-12-24 20:50
Palestine MrZoldiK 
Yah they are millionaires who don't give a fuck for money and just want to spend some millions of dollars to enjoy you ... In reality yes they want to enjoy you , but it's balanced with their income too .... At least there is a chance for Fnatic ane mouz in the summer Blast Premier ...
2019-12-25 06:58
CIS Sex2k 
expected from TwoFaced "Blast" Toledo
2019-12-24 19:03
2019-12-24 19:45
invite old vp to event then
2019-12-24 19:03
United States fatburger 
2019-12-24 21:34
BruhLAST kkk
2019-12-24 19:03
k0mplex | 
Europe R4as0n 
Blast is the worst thing happened to CSGO
2019-12-24 19:04
Palestine MrZoldiK 
It's the best TO , i enjoy watching it all the time
2019-12-25 06:59
Denmark mrlolba 
2019-12-27 19:07
Spain Chonita 
+1 amazing events and it gets better
2019-12-29 02:47
2019-12-24 19:04
All i hear is blah blah blah money money money blah blah blah
2019-12-24 19:04
Spain Chonita 
all i hear is blah blah blah fnatic mouz buhuu buhuu bla bla blah
2019-12-29 02:48 NIP LMAOOOO have fun being tier3 shit for all of eternity, and GL in the minor, i have a feeling those bots will need it hahahaha
2019-12-29 09:30
Spain Chonita 
thx m8....good luck to mouz in blast aswell...oh wait... btw do you think rank 10 is tier 3? hahahaha what a naaaaab
2019-12-29 16:15
Tier 1 Astralis mouz fnatic Liquid Tier2 EG Vitality 100T FaZe NaVi Tier 3 NIP and whoever close to them idc about
2019-12-29 17:28
Spain Chonita 
and thats what you think it is....then you are a moron my friend
2019-12-29 17:42
🤣🤣🤣🤣 Imagine thinking NIP is anywhere near the teams mentioned in tier2, cute, have fun being disappointed for 4 years in a row
2019-12-29 17:59
Spain Chonita 
you are the 1 thats cute thinking mouz is better just becouse they won a shity tournament with t2 t3 teams and gained alot of points for that and climbed to 2nd place....will be fun to follow their fall next year...good luck in Blast!!!!
2019-12-29 18:03
😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😂😅😂🤣🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂😜😂🤣😂🤣😂😜🤣😅🤣😅🤣😂🤣🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣 Just had a fucking seizure from how dumb you are, mouz >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NIP bots, literally nobody on NIP will NEVER be in a future top20 rating ever, they are fucking shit, Lekr0 is tier5 shit, f0rest is close to retirement, REZ is overrated shit, Plopski is overrated shit and twist has proven 4 years in a row he doesnt deserve to play at the highest level, NIP is not deserving of a top10 placement and once they drop out of it they will never come back. Mouz is full of beasts, frozen ropz and woxic all stars that will 100% be top20 players in the future. you are a retarded fanboy. im done with your 10iq replies, dont bother im not gonna read
2019-12-29 18:07
Spain Chonita are showing that you really are butthurt becouse i was right, hahahaha naaaaaaaaaaaaaabbbb we´ll see when blast starts in january...oh i forgot they are not atending....
2019-12-29 19:46
Brazil parrud0www 
2019-12-24 19:04
liTTle | 
CIS Dowa) 
invite teams who didint play 1 match yea
2019-12-24 19:05
Palestine MrZoldiK 
Yes , let them have the chance , you don't want these new roster to rot waiting a chance :) , teams like mouz and fnatic already saturated with tournaments , so it's better to give those new teams a chance to do something before their spark turns off!
2019-12-25 07:01
But blast doesn't care about that? They care about their money.
2019-12-27 17:24
invite ex-vp
2019-12-24 19:07
United States fatburger 
2019-12-24 21:37
not only their hud sucks, this sucks too lol
2019-12-24 19:07
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
+1 finally someone called them out for their stupid hud. U can't understand shit , they tried way too hard to over complicate it. The mini map looks like a fucking carrom board
2019-12-24 20:06
Palestine MrZoldiK 
Their HUD is the best over all the TOs :) , Thier fuc***** map is literally the same old map but with the useless parts being hollowed!!! Literally this community cry about anything OMG!
2019-12-25 07:07
Mibr and nip kkkk
2019-12-24 19:08
i cant stand this Blast Series. I hate it format is dogshit, everything sucks. My opinion. Looks like company or brand who just wants fast money nothing more.
2019-12-24 19:10
Finland JooonsMO 
They just changed the format lady Nightwish
2019-12-24 19:56
didnt read sorry, i cant stand Blast anyway but thanks bruh <3
2019-12-24 21:46
Netherlands SpiceNut 
Listening to nightwish rn :)
2019-12-25 16:20
if its old songs then Pog <3
2019-12-25 16:41
Netherlands SpiceNut 
10th man down good enough for you? ;)
2019-12-25 19:45
ofcourse bro! im 31old guy, who listents to old nightwish. let me think about it... more then 15years i guess :) Still listening to old songs :) <3 nice choice btw! marry christmas!
2019-12-25 22:32
Netherlands SpiceNut 
The song is about 18 years old yeah. Merry Christmas to you too! I'm 21yo myself and saw nightwish live in 2018
2019-12-26 23:20
u have good choice brother, keep with ur own style! Live and love whatever u like <3
2019-12-27 00:44
Netherlands SpiceNut 
Thank you very much my friend, you too have a very good taste of music, rock on
2019-12-27 08:58
there is ZERO excuse for leaving fnatic and mouz out. Don't sell us your bullshit.
2019-12-24 19:12
oskar | 
Czech Republic PaYaB 
2019-12-24 19:38
Estonia NGLTenZIsCute 
2019-12-24 19:41
Sweden Ardoz 
2019-12-24 19:49
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
But complexity is a solid team in the long term
2019-12-24 20:04
chrisJ | 
Switzerland moegge 
They wont even survive the next european minor lmao
2019-12-24 20:14
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
They have a more.promising roster in the long term compared to flukenatic and flukesports
2019-12-24 21:56
Czech Republic MisterPixel 
flair doesnt check out
2019-12-24 22:29
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
2019-12-25 13:54
2019-12-24 20:04
Poland bot_taz 
but mouz and fnatic didn't pay
2019-12-24 21:13
Palestine MrZoldiK 
Stop crying pls , OMG !!! Why everyone is shitting about that! , Mouz and fnatic already saturated with tournaments! Let those new roster compete !! , Thank God the community can't some how be involved to invite teams ............ Imagine new rosters coming all the time and just can't find a tournament to compete at because of your stupidity!!!!
2019-12-25 07:11
Brazil z1d72 
2019-12-26 16:11
Have a feeling that fnatic and mouseports declined to play in favor of other (unannounced) tournaments to come.
2019-12-24 19:13
Estonia thisiseku 
doubt. karrigan said that he misses playing at blast after the teams were announced, and also retweeted this:
2019-12-24 19:21
That's not gonna be good for the scene. If the other tournament overlaps with this (unlike EPL/ECS) it would be a mess
2019-12-24 19:32
Denmark MeToxi 
Any other TO trying to overlap with blast will be worse off as no other lineup of teams would be able to beat this one.
2019-12-24 23:09
But the lineup is kinda ruined with col instead of mouz
2019-12-27 17:26
Denmark MeToxi 
It is in no way whatsoever ruined. Even without mouz, this is still a lineup which TO's would've hoped for in previous years.
2019-12-27 17:46
Germany LeopoldLoewe 
Isn‘t the first season at the same time as the EU minor open qualis? That would explain why fnatic isn‘t going to BLAST.
2019-12-24 20:17
This is more possible than Blast just hate Fnatic and Mouz like everyone think it is
2019-12-24 20:34
China sunzhengcai 
I think JW tweeted at some time said that BLAST simply didn’t invite them. No details about mousesports though.
2019-12-25 04:11
Palestine MrZoldiK 
At least it's a point , there is another premier with the same direction, nice if it just will have tier 3 teams ....
2019-12-25 07:12
tarik | 
Norway MD! 
2019-12-24 19:15
United States Jgrnty8 
Any business does the same
2019-12-24 20:03
chrisJ | 
Poland Chiirs 
Only in USA you have franchises. Virtually all other sports beyond US rely on rankings and/or qualifications and leagues have relegations.
2019-12-24 21:04
Estonia thisiseku 
it's sad that from 2020 on csgo rankings will be p2w
2019-12-24 19:15
China SwooksarV2 
Lol everyone on this comment section are salty dumbasses. Good to know
2019-12-24 19:21
blameF | 
Denmark QBE_ 
2019-12-24 19:56
Sweden NILSSON1114 
at least ESL knows what team they should invite to get people to watch. Looking forward to a nother year with Astralis winning easy Blast events.
2019-12-24 19:22
2019-12-24 20:52
chrisJ | 
Poland Chiirs 
ESL also rely more on qualifications, so their lineups are assured to be strong at the time on the tournament. With Blast you end up with teams that are there only because they are well known brands. This is like inviting Manchester United to Champions League (and thank god CL doesn't work like that), even though ManU can barely win any matches. Last year Blast did it with Cloud9. ESL more open approach is ultimately better for the viewers and for the fans.
2019-12-24 21:25
just say I don't want astralis to lose against good teams so I didn't invite them
2019-12-24 19:23
Spain Chonita 
Those teams havent won to Astralis anyways so idk what you are so delirious about
2019-12-24 22:44
both have beat astralis recently. fnatic beat them in malmo semifinals and mouz won in pro league semifinals and both of those teams are in the top 3 alongside astralis
2019-12-25 00:03
United Arab Emirates p1peb0mb 
They are the only 2 teams that beat astralis other than eg in last 3 months
2019-12-25 18:25
check ur facts. both beat them. lol
2019-12-26 04:50
Spain Chonita 
they have lost to almost every team so whats your point? they lost to mouz yes, most luck that game, but they have won to fnatic 2-0 last 2 times they have biggy
2019-12-26 15:08
Brazil z1d72 
#94 stop being a prick
2019-12-26 16:14
Ukraine ksay 
the poin is that your statement is wrong astralis also lost to almost every team btw
2019-12-26 16:15
Spain Chonita 
that was exactly my point, that astralis have lost to almost every team ;)
2019-12-26 17:43
Ukraine ksay 
oh i see i might have surfed over the comment and understood it wrong because saying that after #94 wouldn't make any sense but huh
2019-12-26 18:11
This guy is delusional leave him alone.
2019-12-27 17:28
2019-12-24 19:38
money money money
2019-12-24 20:00
BLAST is ruining professional CSGO with these trash exclusivity leagues.
2019-12-24 20:01
Have you heard of B site?
2019-12-24 20:31
Palestine MrZoldiK 
I don't think so :)
2019-12-25 07:14
Pakistan MeMeMeisteR2 
Hahahahaha the way he avoided fnatic and mousports and started talking about complexity :D
2019-12-24 20:02
Pretty bad he could just say that thy didn't want to attend
2019-12-24 20:52
He is not allowed to lie like that.
2019-12-27 17:29
+1 what a fucking clown
2019-12-24 20:57
Denmark MeToxi 
But isn't complexity the most necessary team to talk about in order to prove his points on fnatic and mousesports? Since complexity is the most controversial team to invite
2019-12-24 23:12
Sweden wyv0 
??????????? Did fnatic get an invite or not, thats what everyone is wondering. He didnt answer
2019-12-25 16:29
Denmark MeToxi 
I think its very heavily implied as them handpicking amongst many teams. Thats literally what he's talking about the entire time.
2019-12-26 02:02
Sweden wyv0 
"answer" an implication isn't an answer, yet again.
2020-01-02 14:06
Denmark MeToxi 
But what you're looking for as the answer is exactly what is to be presumed so he just elaborates on it, and what they actually were looking for in partner teams. A simple yes and no only matters to simpletons who'd prefer not to know the why but only the if. What he gives is a much more interesting insight into what they think and how they make their decisions. Besides, they didn't invite any teams. They partnered 12 though. Big difference.
2020-01-02 17:20
Finland Emvi 
Everyone knows its about business and money, and thats fine. It is a business. But at least have the decency and respect for people to be totally honest, and not say some bullshit about how gay you are for jason lake. Lmao. Im totally gay for notail and OG, but they dont deserve a spot more than mouz Also "as open as possible" is complete horseshit, you cant say that and then start talking about reserving spots for small local teams the next sentence. The real word and reality is: Blast will be "AS CLOSED AS POSSIBLE" without breaking valves rules
2019-12-24 20:07
That's what every league is going to be
2019-12-24 20:39
u are dumb
2019-12-25 00:22
He is right, inbreddy. Mon
2019-12-25 10:54
Finland Emvi 
Ok dogman
2019-12-25 11:07
I like how everyone thinks Fnatic and Mouz didn't get invited lol
2019-12-24 20:36
ropz | 
Estonia Vindikas 
I heard from somewhere that Mousesports team owner just wanted a TOP 10 CSGO team... this means, they will never pay big bucks to BLAST or Rush B to get a invite. :P
2019-12-24 20:41
Every league has a buy in, in other games at least
2019-12-24 20:49
ok enjoy shit tier tournaments then
2019-12-24 20:53
3 of the top 5 team's shit tier tournament?
2019-12-24 20:55
when the other 2 are random shitties yes they lose value.
2019-12-24 21:13
2019-12-24 21:18
having 3 top 5 teams is good but when the other spots go to shitty teams who don't deserve spots but get them because of their org name the event loses worth. nobody wants to watch C9 play against astralis, all C9 fans know they're gonna lose, all astralis fans know it's a free win.
2019-12-26 01:02
C9 isn't in this tournament and Col and OG could be good could be bad we haven't really seen them play
2019-12-26 14:36
We have seen col and they are garbage compared to mouz who have actually beaten ast in a bo3
2019-12-27 17:31
Denmark MeToxi 
This is literally a top tier event of any year considering the teams in it?
2019-12-24 23:13
When have col ever been in a top tier event?
2019-12-27 17:32
Denmark MeToxi 
As an organization, two times in 2019. I don't see the relevance however as every single top tier event in 2019 had a few low tier teams. No exceptions.
2019-12-27 17:52
yes but when they actively chose to exclude a clearly better team just because of money it just seems greedy.
2019-12-27 22:10
Denmark MeToxi 
What the fuck were you expecting? If TO's dont find a way to make money within the next 3 years, it's all gonna crash and burn. And as you can see on the teamlist, it really doesn't make much difference whether mous or fnatic is there. They'll still most likely qualify and play in the spring season. They'll probably still play at the global finals. And if they don't, then they aren't a good enough team anyways.
2019-12-28 00:04
This guy would make a great politician.
2019-12-24 20:57
Why are you even giving this interview, you just reminding people that your choice of teams is based only on your profits and not on their skill or entertainment value for the viewer. Even the headline is terrible, it's the cheapest excuse possible!
2019-12-24 21:01
ok mafia
2019-12-24 21:01
African Union mikecool 
Ok boomer
2019-12-24 21:27
karrigan | 
Other Dioud 
" We cannot solely rely on rankings to determine who participates when we're thinking MONEY* "
2019-12-24 21:42
2019-12-25 11:36
2019-12-24 21:46
it's obvious he takes french and brazillian dead teams to his league because that will bring more viewers not bc they're good
2019-12-25 04:30
Or because orgs have lots of money
2019-12-27 17:32
Says he wants the best teams and then invited mibr and shitty local no namers lmao what a fucking joke This cunt is so dishonest
2019-12-24 22:06
The way he tries to defend Complexity invite is hilarious. Maybe see it the other way. The owner has all this possibilities and so on and he cant manage to get a decent team since like forever? Maybe because he is a joke?
2019-12-24 22:15
Japan Jotaro 
Didn't invite fnatic because they like Jason lake omegalul
2019-12-24 22:51
ceh9 | 
World mukas17 
These guys are so full of shit. They should at least hire someone with decent PR training so they would stop saying egregious shit like this.
2019-12-24 23:02
Denmark MeToxi 
What do you mean, Nicolas Estrup is literally like one of the co-creators of rfrsh?
2019-12-24 23:19
Co-creator =/ tactful with the press
2019-12-25 05:07
Oh fuck guys. Well, get started, first serious comment of my life on hltv. These guys are full of shit. For me, it's clear that the 12 of the 20 teams that got selected were the one paying the most. Like complexity. Men the whole "we need stability and we don't know blablabla"... one word : f n a t i c. Even if i don't like them as a team, the whole organisation is here since more than a decade. They have been in the top 15 for almost all cs go, i don t even talk about 1.6 where they were top notch. This communication smell like shit and smell like there is a corpse under the carpet. Oh, and one other thing. The working conditions. 50 people working on this shit. How many extra hours not paid ? How many burnout produced ? And the technician, at the bottom of the chain, what gain for what cost ? Passion ? Exposure ? Men fuck blast, i will not watch this shit. No honesty, no balls, pure snake talk. Sounds like government. This guy will go far.
2019-12-25 00:16
China sunzhengcai 
I would love to see complexity keep changing their roster in 2020 to show us its stability.
2019-12-25 04:51
mouz has even longer tradition than fnatic. :D
2019-12-26 04:52
very nice new format. good luck
2019-12-25 00:20
2019-12-25 05:14
Germany Eneladus 
This To shouldn´t count in the Wrankings.... free Money and Points to Teams that didn´t deserve it its a Joke
2019-12-25 06:55
the "how to say we want money over match quality" in the highest amount of words possible WR.
2019-12-25 07:28
2019-12-25 08:45
Long term? That's the excuse 4 not having 2 top 5 team invited? What a load of bull
2019-12-25 09:59
Hey pops. You’re a twat. Happy Christmas
2019-12-25 10:58
Finland 0lter 
lmao who cars
2019-12-25 12:09
This all sounds great in theory and thats why Blastralis will ultimately fail. They are delusional and trying too hard to push into big markets. When it should be a natural growth of the market. Blastralis is full of delusional Marketing Staff it seems and the overall Knowledge of Gaming and Communities seems limited. The approach they trying to establish would work if they would be the only TO on the market like in LOL with LEC. But they are not. CS:GO is already oversaturated and fast moving. Thats why nobody cares in the end about stories they try to build up. By building successful stories and build up your brand you need to guarantee that you have a loyal viewership who almost, always watch every Blast Event. How do you want to archive that, in a oversaturated Tournament world and also lacking Top Teams?
2019-12-25 13:28
Sweden DaMan_se 
This is garbage, ofc fnatic and mouse deserves a spot!
2019-12-25 13:30
Sweden Kasidro 
Yeah if they go for long term it is good that they went for teams like c9, complexity and mibr, cause they will be shit in the long term as well. Money talks is what this is all about. Blast tournaments should not be counted in any official rankings or rankings that tries to be professional.
2019-12-25 16:33
Denmark zorglubx 
Really interesting, and if you read no malicious intend into the lines it all makes total sense. Good luck figuring it out between TO's, that seems like the biggest thing, to align missions. As we have all seen this year, the scheduling messed up a lot during the year. So great something is being done about it!
2019-12-25 22:55
Romania SkipLD 
No C9 and no Mibr for the time being I hope
2019-12-25 23:08
Sweden meistr0 
Uh.. did you not look at invites? MIBR is invited
2019-12-26 07:44
Xyp9x | 
Denmark Zoyt74 
This, so called, interview might as well have been written by Blast themselves. There is absolutely no sign of critical questions and noone wondering how Blast's decision will influence the global CS:GO scene and the global rankings. 12 teams picked by a company and no chance of qualifying for the events. So there is 12 teams that will get points for the rankings and money from buy ins or prize money. These 12 teams will for sure get more points than the rest and therefore they will have a better chance of topping the rankings. When they top the ranking they will get a better seed at other tournaments. This is where it gets really interesting, but Striker and the rest of HLTV doesn't seem to find this interesting. Maybe because Blast and HLTV (Journalists) are friends IRL. Fnatic, Mouse, North, the rest of the top 30 and upcoming teams will have a hard time competing against the closed circuit teams and that is such a shame. I could understand if four to eight teams were qualified due to world rankings and two teams were local. Then there would be spots for the rest of the scene to qualify for. Blast and the rest of the organizers have a responsibility for the global CS:GO development but it doesn't seem like they are up for the task. And there are too few critical journalists asking the right questions.
2019-12-25 23:21
World Beard43 
"...but I'm sure there will be opportunities for them to potentially make it in, eventually." Or maybe you left two of the most popular, long lasting, quality teams out. Maybe a lot of people just won't watch because Complexity > Mouz/Fnatic? Sounds like his criteria was being mates with the team owner. At least you still have Blastralis attending.
2019-12-26 01:02
he basically ignored the question about mouz/fnatic and gave no real reason. hltv should have asked sth more specific and dont let it just slide. especially with 2 of the most iconic and STABLE cs organisations for over 15 years with huge fanbases. thats the definition of long term. just doesnt add up.
2019-12-26 04:46
Sweden meistr0 
First time i am hyped about a BLAST Lan. But imo i would rather see Mouz/Fnatic attend over coL.
2019-12-26 07:43
shox | 
India iejesus 
Obviously stop inviting nip everytime ffs
2019-12-26 11:02
Macedonia ydjoon 
2019-12-26 14:35
Bravo! Noone wants old fatty cheaters.
2019-12-26 15:49
I genuinely don't care about their impact on the whole TO ecosystem, it's only their horrendously bad UI/HUD that makes me sick and confused. Seriously, it's probably the only thing I can't get used to even despite seeing it for more than a year. If they ever get rid of that, it would be a massive improvement.
2019-12-26 17:28
United States jay_320 
Does this mean I get to see C9 get drummed out of Blast tournaments and constantly picked for the show match because they are fuck awful but have a lot of money? Because I'm really truly looking forward to another year of that depression.
2019-12-26 20:38
Spain Chonita 
where do you see c9 you blind fuck?
2019-12-29 02:55
United States jay_320 
I'm not blind dumbass. I am aware of the esports landscape. C9 is the most powerful org in the world barring Faze clan maybe. If they want in they'll end up getting in. This year or next.
2019-12-29 07:03
Spain Chonita 
nahh, blast doent invite teams that changes lineups every week, dont you get it you greasy head?
2019-12-29 16:13
United States jay_320 
Then why were they at almost every Blast event the previous year? UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
2019-12-29 17:49
Spain Chonita 
why arent they next year...uhhhhhhhh
2019-12-29 17:49
United States jay_320 
Well if they aren't it's probably because of the new league. If they want in Jack will get them in. Don't be stupid.
2019-12-29 17:50
Spain Chonita 
nah...they are not a team you can trust for the future becouse they will take 5 guys again..and after a season (2 month) they will change again and again and again
2019-12-29 17:52
United States jay_320 
No shit. Why you think I'm defending C9? What I'm saying is that C9 has more money and clout then any other org. Barring Faze clan. Maybe. Maybe G2 as well. But that's it. These guys are going to get in if they want.
2019-12-29 17:53
Spain Chonita 
then they will have to show some stability in their lineup first and then hope for the 2021 becouse the only way to get in in 2020 is through qualifier for the 6 extra teams attending after the groupstage are done or so...the groups are already done for next year.
2019-12-29 18:05
United States jay_320 
Because Blast is such an honorable organization. If C9 has a solid top 15ish team with the ATK guys they're going to be invited to everything just for the eyeballs they bring. They aren't the only team with a brand this strong but one of the few.
2019-12-31 15:36
Spain Chonita 
i agree...if they get ATK and qualify maybe they will stay...i dont know how it will work in the future with invites...if the same teams will be around or what will happen...but i guess we will see have a Happy new year now m8...;)
2019-12-31 22:31
Braindead logic. How are other orgs supposed to grow if the rankings mean nothing and you just want to invite the biggest orgs over the most deserving.
2019-12-26 23:52
I mean whatever he said is just PR talking. The reality is money talks. BLAST has those teams because they had the money talk. Even horrible teams like Complexity or OG or even MIBR wouldn't mind throwing some money so their teams have a shot to compete for some big prize. There is no easier win than a Bo1 fest. BLAST is just exhibition tournament for me, similar to WESG. Come and grad free money style. Garbage format. Shady team agreement. Horrible broadcasting setup. Anyone would think this kind of tournament holding any prestige or value in term of competitiveness is sadly misinformed.
2019-12-27 07:20
2019-12-28 00:13
Iraq DuncanAK 
they exclude fnatic and mouz from the invitation list so astralis doesn't get rekt by them What a sold organization
2019-12-28 09:30
Romania SoooS1cK 
No FNATIC?! F U, i'm not interested!!!
2019-12-28 14:53
Estonia f0ntz 
Just sad that CS will be p2w.
2019-12-28 18:19
Turkey Thunderball 
Not gonma watch this shitty TO’s events. Hope they ll vanish asap on cs:go
2019-12-29 21:07
2020-01-12 15:52
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