It is going to be a busy couple of months on the Counter Strike: Global Offensive circuit with the BLAST Premier Spring Finals and the inaugural Paris Major on the horizon, but for now it is all about the CS:GO Brazy Party.
The A-Tier event, which has a prize pool of $333,000, features 16 teams initially competing in four double-elimination groups before progressing to the single-elimination playoffs with all matches in a best-of-three format.
Running until next Wednesday, the Brazy Party features some big names from Astralis to Cloud9 and the event is already in full swing.
The group stage has already begun and while each team in Groups C and D has played just the one match so far, Groups A and B are further ahead.
In the first two groups, the opening matches, elimination matches and winners matches have already taken place, meaning we know Apeks and Into the Breach topped Groups A and B, while GODSENT and BIG have already been eliminated from them.
Second spot in each group will be determined by the decider matches on Sunday, but on Saturday it is the turn of Groups C and D to play out both their elimination and winners matches.
Here is a look at two of the games taking place on Saturday - the Group C winners match between Astralis and SAW and the Group D winners match between Cloud9 and 9INE.
|What||Astralis v SAW, CS:GO Brazy Party|
|When||16.00, Saturday 29th April 2023|
|How to watch||Twitch / Youtube|
|Odds||Astralis 1/3, SAW 9/4|
Astralis have not been overly convincing on the biggest of stages this season but one gets the impression that the CS:GO Brazy Party could be an event in which they can take control.
The Danes were comfortable in their opening contest in Group C, winning 2-0 against GamerLegion thanks to 16-8 wins on Ancient and Vertigo.
Coming into this event they had not exactly lit up any of the recent major events, having lost in the lower-bracket final of the ESL Pro League Season 17.
But since then they looked capable in qualifying for the IEM Dallas, finishing first in the Europe Closed Qualifier, and they are a respectable 21st in the HLTV world CS:GO rankings.
Portuguese outfit SAW, meanwhile, are down in 36th spot and they failed to make an impact at the BLAST Paris Major 2023 Europe RMR A recently, while they had to dig deep in their opening match of the Brazy Party.
They edged ENCE 2-1 but only just, having been outclassed on the first map - Vertigo - and only winning five more rounds than their opponents in that contest.
Astralis still have plenty of work to do to be considered among the CS:GO elite but they could go far in this A-Tier event and are a value selection to win this 2-0 at 6/5.
|What||Cloud9 v 9INE, CS:GO Brazy Party|
|When||19.00, Saturday 29th April 2023|
|How to watch||Twitch / Youtube|
|Odds||Cloud9 4/9, 9INE|
The winners match in Group D at the CS:GO Brazy Party could be a little more competitive than its Group C equivalent.
Cloud9 are 4/9 to defeat 9INE, who can be backed at 13/8 to prevail, and it could be an open affair.
On paper, Cloud9 are the much stronger side - they are sixth in the HLTV world rankings and have enjoyed some decent performances in major tournaments recently.
They placed in the 3rd-4th positions at the IEM Rio in April and were runners-up in season 17 of the ESL Pro League back in March.
As for Polish outfit 9INE, they are down in 19th spot in the HTLV world rankings and have not been mixing it with the best in major events with the exception of the IEM Rio in which they crashed out in the group stage.
But looking at their opening matches in Group D, this could be closer than the bigger picture suggests.
While 9INE cruised to a pretty comfortable 2-0 win over Imperial in their first match, Cloud9 ran into a few problems against Sprout, who they eventually overcame 2-1.
They only won the round count 51-50 across the three maps in that contest, though, having been beaten 19-16 on Overpass in the middle of the contest.
They could face some resistance from 9INE and over 2.5 maps is a worthwhile bet at 10/11.