Top 11 moments at the Blast Premier Spring Final 2024

TaZ Blast Premier stand-in

In this special series of articles, Esports News UK’s coverage of the Blast Spring Final 2024 is in collaboration with the betting partner GGBET UK | Photo by Jonathon Yau

From the homecoming of UK Counter-Strike hero William ‘mezii’ Merriman, to the raucous London crowd brushing shoulders with Counter-Strike’s elite, here are Reece Barrett‘s favourite moments from the Blast Premier Spring Final, in no particular order.

Return of the TaZ

G2’s young AWPer m0NESY was stuck out of the country with visa and passport issues, so for the second consecutive event after playing with a stand-in at IEM Dallas, the European side had no choice but to play without their full five.

Legendary Polish player and current coach Wiktor ‘TaZ’ Wojtas stepped up – promising to bring the heat in his first competitive game since retiring in March 2023.

Team Spirit awaited the 38-year-old, who admitted to Esports News UK that he had not gotten much practice beforehand.

TaZ only dropped seven kills on the first map Ancient, but G2 managed to still pick up the win 13-8.

All eyes in the Counter-Strike world were on the three-time World Cyber Games series champion, and they wanted to see some improvement in the second game. TaZ did actually pick up the pace and finished above Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač on the scoreboard, but G2 lost the second and third maps on Dust 2 and Anubis. 

m0NESY would arrive the next day, with just minutes to go before their Group B lower bracket final started against Vitality.

G2 were knocked out of the tournament and were winless in London – but TaZ did at least make the most out of his return to the roster.

Watch our full interview with G2 Esports coach TaZ here.

Mezii is serenaded on stage

The homecoming of UK Counter-Strike king Mezii was a highly anticipated moment, and Saturday’s Wembley Arena crowd came alive before the semi-final between Vitality and Spirit.

Birmingham’s finest led the team out onto the stage and slapped the hands of fans as he passed, all while “Mezii, Mezii, Mezii” was ringing out around him.

The crowd were absolutely up for it, and while the match result did not go the way that he would have wanted it, we do not think that Mezii will forget this moment any time soon.

Speaking to Esports News UK after Vitality’s Blast Premier semi-final exit, Mezii said: “The crowd was special. Today was insane.

“Coming out into this crowd, it was extremely loud. Having the whole crowd chanting my name… it’s what everyone dreams of when playing the game, wanting to be professional and getting into the big stages.”

Mezii, Vitality

“I couldn’t ask for more. Hopefully we can go further next time and win in front of the crowd.”

apEX keeps the crowd entertained

Vitality’s in-game leader Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire learnt to have fun with the crowd very quickly, throwing his arms out to fire up the onlookers in London just one round into their quarter-final versus Faze.

apEX fires up the crowd in one of the top moments of Blast Premier Spring Final
Vitality’s apEX eggs on the crowd. Photo by Jonathon Yau.

apEX popped three heads in quick succession with the USP-S on the first round of the first map, a play which got him 37% of the eight kills that he dropped on Inferno as Faze battered the Bees 13-4.

Vitality ended up winning – giving us that fantastic moment of Mezii’s walkout the next day for the semi-finals – and the 31-year-old enjoyed getting the crowd on board throughout.

It isn’t often that the British will cheer the French – enjoy it while it lasts apEX!

Wembley Arena crowd mingle with Counter-Strike’s best

With this being the first Counter-Strike LAN at Wembley Arena since 2019, the London fans needed to show their strength and prove why they deserve another one, and they did that spectacularly by putting themselves out there and mingling with some of the game’s famous faces.

James Banks was particularly impressed with the turnout at the Vitality signing session at the GG.BOOTH, and Alex ‘edeninho’ Holder got snapped standing a whole head above caster Mohan ‘launders’ Govindasamy.

You can read more about how fans partied in London at the Blast Premier Spring Final 2024 with GG.BET here.

One fan showed his support for Jack ‘Jacky’ Peters, who has spent the last year lobbying for a chance to voice one of the game’s characters – we are not surprised this crowd sign at the Blast Premier Spring Final caught his eye.

There was plenty of fan involvement on stage too, such as The Binmen’s Tyler ‘oTY3LR’ Hewstone being brought up by Jacky – not his first appearance on a Counter-Strike broadcast!

Social platforms have been full of praise and messages of thanks from fans in attendance – it is definitely safe to say that London is ready for more Counter-Strike.

About that…

Blast confirms London return and unveils Austin Major

In a blockbuster announcement between the quarter-finals, Blast revealed a revamped esports circuit for 2025, which will see Counter-Strike return to London from August 26th to September 7th 2025.

America will also get its first major since Eleague Boston seven years ago, with the Blast Austin Major 2025 set to take place next June.

Blast’s new circuit sees the launch of three new events: the Blast Premier Bounty, Open and Rivals, each with new sets of rules and regulations as teams fight for a bite of the $8.5m up for grabs across the year.

The Bounty is a cool concept to look out for in particular, as teams come into the tournament with a bounty on their head based on seeding, allowing lower ranked teams to select who they would like to play from the higher seeds, which is reset each round of play.

For learn more about the circuit, see our full breakdown of the Blast Premier Bounty, Open and Rivals events here.

Blast give fans in attendance a James-Bond style treat

We could not help but enjoy the light trolling that Blast’s production team had partaken in for the Spring Final, as fans in the arena quickly noticed that a James Bond filter would be added to the webcam of any player that had zero kills, zero assists and seven deaths.

The filter was not viewable on the live broadcast, so this was a gift to the English fans in attendance at the Wembley Arena, and one which they certainly enjoyed.

Smooya holds his tongue over new Into The Breach roster

UK CS personality Owen ‘smooya’ Butterfield is known for speaking his mind, and with his new Into The Breach roster still yet to be fully announced, the fans and hosts of HLTV Confirmed expected him to give something away while appearing on the live show.

His poker face was solid, though, as when pressed about the rest of the line-up, smooya managed to keep cool when Nicolas ‘Keoz’ Dgus was suggested as a potential player on the roster.

The very next day, the Blast Paris Major 2023 finalist was announced as a new Into The Breach player.

Counter-Strike Cosplay

While costumes are commonplace at some events, such as the cosplay showcase at ESL One Birmingham 2024, Counter-Strike is obviously not a cosplay-centric esport.

There are always a couple of fans up for it though, and these two fans did particularly well in recreating the infamous terrorist player model ‘Number K’, with matching pillow to boot.

w0nderful purges around the pillar in the semi-final

Do not rub your eyes.

Numbers in their names are not the only thing that Ihor ‘w0nderful’ Zhdanov and Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyljev have in common – they also know how to make a standout play.

Three counter-terrorists closed in on w0nderful on the B site of Anubis, and as the AWPer danced around the pillar, he used his sniper to get the jump on Jame and the flick onto fame.

If that was not impressive enough, he then blasted an oncoming electronic with a close-range noscope that brought the London crowd to their feet.

His noscope put Navi ahead 10-0 and kept their flawless start alive, and was the best play of the weekend while firing his side into the grand final past Virtus Pro.

Counter-Strike takes over the wifi waves

We also saw Counter-Strike hijack the wifi options around Wembley Arena, as fans had a bit of fun by renaming their personal hotspots.

They filled the screens of the 8,000 fans in attendance on Sunday, with either countless fans working in tandem to have their networks named the same, or hotspots somehow duplicating!

Team Spirit lift the Blast Premier Spring Final trophy

Finally, Blast Premier Spring Final 2024 winners Team Spirit lifting the trophy.

Their win at Wembley and Spirit’s earlier victory at IEM Katowice 2024 means that the dragons have won the final event in this Counter-Strike season.

Spirit were worthy winners having topped Group B to jump straight to the semi-finals, dumping out fan favourites Vitality and then battering Navi 3-1 in the grand final.

The loss for Navi also means that in-game leader Aleksi ‘Aleksib’ Virolainen is now 1-17 on maps in best-of-five grand finals across his career.

It was a heartbreaking moment for Justinas ‘jL’ Lekavičius, who was spotted visibly upset as he watched on.

With the season concluded, the Lithuanian will have to wait until the Blast Premier Fall Group at the end of July to get his revenge on Spirit.

Related article and honourable mention: Footballer Neal Maupay visits Counter-Strike Blast Premier Spring Final in London

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments