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Photo: By Macjiej Kolek for BLAST

The first round of matches are set to kick off today for BLAST Pro Series Madrid. The Vodafone Giants and MoviStar Riders are currently competing in the play-in match which gives us some time to talk about the first round of matches.

Cloud9 will play the winner of the Iberian Play-In at the same time Natus Vincere take on ENCE and Astralis compete against Ninjas in Pyjamas for our first round of best-of-ones.

Cloud9 vs. Giants/MoviStar Riders:

While it hasn’t been decided who Cloud9 will be playing quite yet (Giants lead 1-0 at this time) or the map they’ll play, I’d still probably put my money on the North American / European mix. We haven’t seen too much from them with this lineup, but I think they still hold the advantage in the in-game leader role, experience on stage and in general, as well as firepower.

Both Play-In teams have almost no experience against top teams in recent matches with MoviStar’s 16-14 win over ENCE in an online Mountain Dew League match being the only blip on the radar.

Cloud9 may still be working out some kinks and therefore I wouldn’t exactly bet my lifes allowance on it but I’m favoring Jack’s team 65-35.

ENCE vs. Natus Vincere:

Now this match should be a good one. ENCE took down Na’Vi to end their run at the IEM Katowice Major 2019 (and won Mirage to do it!), but revenge was sought and achieved at the StarSeries i-League Season 7 Finals in Shanghai.

ENCE hasn’t seen much action since with only two matches to their name, both resulting in losses to Movistar Riders and Vitality respectively in the Mountain Dew League.

While that doesn’t seem to bode well for the Finnish side, I do believe they will still bring a better game into their match against Na’Vi and Mirage is a great map for them.

Swapping over to Na’Vi, they’ve played 10 matches since taking down the Fins and have been their usual hit or miss selves throughout. After defeating Renegades and fnatic on their way to being crowned champions in Shanghai, the team bounced between wins and losses at BLAST Pro Series Miami. The team played Mirage five times in Shanghai and took home four victories but ENCE still holds a better record and the head-to-head in the last three months though it was 16-14.

The squad finished 2-3 with wins over MIBR and Cloud9 and losses to Astralis, FaZe, and Liquid. Not exactly the worst three teams to take a loss to. Following it up, they managed a 2-1 over Windigo who are no slouch in their own right and a 1-2 over G2 which is a little more concerning.

The problem with predicting any match that Na’Vi participates in is the fact that they seem to have two very different identities. You have the team that 3-0’s fnatic and looks like they’re finally ready to battle for the top spot in the world and then you have the fnatic that can’t 2-0 a single team and even winning matches looks to require every ounce of effort.

If ENCE had stronger performances or more matches played since, I’d probably lean towards them (if the results weren’t terrible), but without much to go off of and an 0-2 record, I’m going to have to go 55-45 for Na’Vi.

Astralis vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas:

This matchup COULD be interesting but at the surface level, you’d be hard pressed to go against the Danes even with their rough go in Miami.

The two squads will be battling it out on Dust2 which is certainly a map that puts question marks around Astralis. The reason that doesn’t draw too much concern in this match, however, is due to NiP being 3-5 on it in recent months. The team lost their last three matches on it 16-5, 16-4, and 20-22.

It may not be the strongest map in the pool for Astralis but it seems they still have a better grasp on it than their Swedish counterparts. Astralis is 8-2 on it in the same time period (3 months) with losses to Liquid and FaZe. So unless NiP have something up their sleeve this one is 80-20 for Astralis.

Full BLAST Madrid schedule:

Round one
 Cloud9 vs.  Iberian Play-In | TBD
 ENCE vs.  Natus Vincere| Mirage
 Astralis vs.  NiP | Dust2

Round two
 NiP vs.  ENCE | Nuke
 Cloud9 vs.  Natus Vincere| Mirage
 Astralis vs.  Iberian Play-In |TBD

Round three
 Astralis vs.  Natus Vincere | Dust2
 Cloud9 vs.  ENCE| Nuke
 NiP vs.  Iberian Play-In | TBD

Round four
 Astralis vs.  ENCE | Dust2
 Cloud9 vs.  NiP| Nuke
 Natus Vincere vs.  Iberian Play-In | TBD

Round five
 Astralis vs.  Cloud9 | Inferno
 NiP vs.  Natus Vincere| Dust2
 ENCE vs.  Iberian Play-In | TBD

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