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Published: November 15, 2022

Written by: Isabella Aslam

  • Outsiders win the IEM Rio Major 2022
  • This automatically qualified them for the BLAST Premier World Final next month
  • There is a condition Outsiders must follow if they want to compete in the event

Outsiders will have the opportunity to win another half a million dollars at the BLAST Premier World Final, after winning the IEM Rio Major 2022 this weekend.

Outsiders Win Rio Major

The IEM Rio Major 2022 concluded with the unpredicted victory of the Outsiders, who lifted the trophy above their heads. The whole competition was full of ups and downs for many teams, as well as underdogs performing against everyone’s expectations. Perhaps then it’s appropriate that the aptly named Outsiders won the event.

Not only do the Russian players win glory and the grand prize of half a million dollars, but they have also automatically qualified for next month’s BLAST Premier World Final. The eight-team event will be held in Abu Dhabi between December 14 and 18, and Outsiders will have the opportunity to win yet another $500 000.

Outsiders now join three other teams who have already qualified for the BLAST Finals – Natus Vincere, FaZe, and Vitality. These three have earned the right t participate in the event by winning the BLAST Premier Spring Final, the PGL Antwerp Major and ESL Pro League Season 15, and ESL Pro League Season 16 respectively.

The other four slots are reserved for teams from the BLAST World Final Leaderboard. It grants them points based on tournament finishes throughout the year, with teams like G2, OG, and Heroic currently in pole position to secure qualification. They will have to do better than Ninjas in Pyjamas and Liquid, who are also in the running but need deep finishes in the BLAST Fall Final to gather the points required.

Outsiders Will Compete on One Condition

Outsiders’ participation in the BLAST Premier World Final will be subject to one specific condition. The team, which was formerly known as Virtus Pro, will have to compete “under their neutral name and identity.” The reason for this is that the organization and its players are from Russia, and BLAST premier banned Russian-based teams from all its events earlier in the year.

This was a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Virtus Pro had links to several oligarchs, who have ties to the Kremlin regime, and BLAST banning Russian teams from its events was an attempt to distance itself from suspicious actors. 

Many other tournament organizers did similar things, but many still allowed Russian players to participate in their events under the proviso that they remove ties to their former organization, which may have had ties to the Russian government. Although on September 17, Aram Karamanukyan became the CEO of the former oligarch-tied esports organization, BLAST still seems to be holding its stance on the matter.

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