Berlin Breakdown: SuperMassive Blaze
Masters 3 in Berlin is rapidly approaching and to set the scene, I want to provide a little insight on some of the top teams from different regions. Aiming to bring a very brief view of the team on their main map pick, what to expect from them, and who to watch the closest. To start I’ll be looking at the Turkish stars, SuperMassive Blaze (easily the best name at the LAN). The dark horses stormed through the EMEA playoffs beating FPX and G2 2-0 to qualify for Berlin.
How do they play?
The key to SMB’s prowess lies in their fantastic synergy and trust, especially considering how long they’ve been together. They merge together trademark Turkish aggression and insane intelligence. It’s clear both the players and staff put in a lot of work to understand the game and how to maximise every part of it.
To examine their tendencies I’m going to focus on their most picked map, Ascent.
This graph shows us the player positions for the first 20 seconds of their full buy attack rounds and is a great demonstration of how they like to play. They will happily take early and aggressive fights and make sure to control what they deem vital areas of the map. We also see lots of variety, which is so crucial for teams at this level; say what you like about this team but you definitely cannot call them predictable. This in-your-face style is mixed nicely with solid defaults and is all backed by near-perfect fundamentals. When watching SMB lookout for excellent use of the buddy system particularly with the pairing of Turko and Izzy. They are often given the freest reign to get creative and they take space wonderfully together.
While SMB is incredibly potent on the attack, what makes them particularly unique is how they play their defender side. More than any other team, they have a tendency to stack a site. The theory behind this is very much high risk equals high reward. If the enemy walks into your stack, they’re going to find it almost impossible to take the site from you, but if the enemy goes the other way, you’re stuck in a tough retake.
The reason SMB manage to make this work so well is simple. They play a composition very well-suited to this style: Sova, Sage, Killjoy, Omen, and Jett. They are able to save a lot of utility for the retake as well as set up traps with the Killjoy’s kit. With a deep understanding of this control-based comp, we see staggeringly good results. Looking at the numbers we see a 43% retake success rate on A and 50% on B from recent games. To put into context just how good that is, in this patch the average retake success rate is 31% on A and 27% on B. Of course, SMB understands all this, and when watching them play this map, don’t be surprised to see them take a risk and put 4 players on a site together.
Who to look out for?
When looking for a standout player in this roster it’s a difficult choice, let’s not forget this is literally a Turkish superteam. It’s a pick and mix, all-you-can-eat buffet of big brains and bigger Aimlabs scores. However, I’m going to have to pick Izzy as my one to watch. Playing the duelist role, he perfectly sums up why the rest of Europe is afraid of the “Turkish Jett”.
He averaged 243.5 ACS in the EMEA playoffs, the 5th highest in the tournament (This is particularly impressive considering how many more games he had to play than some of those above him). However, the numbers simply don’t do him justice. On attack, he consistently manages to make space for his team, as well as having a fantastic understanding of how to play Jett and Raze, allowing him to still bring impact even if he is not top of the scoreboard.
His usefulness doesn’t stop on the defender half either. He’ll happily put a quick end to your plans with his swift peeks and silky-smooth Operator plays.
Just look at his Operator kills on recent Ascent games. He feels comfortable using the OP on almost every angle and will happily be the one to peek you. This aggressive attitude helps collect more information and feeds into their style as a whole. Izzy is an underdog, but don’t be surprised if he stands toe-to-toe with the other Jett stars at Berlin.
In my opinion, SMB is coming into Berlin as big dark horses. Nobody gave them a chance to qualify at first and not many people will give them a chance at LAN, but that doesn’t mean they should be underestimated. Their good, fundamental understanding of the game and surprisingly unique gambling style of play could be a problem to deal with if teams don’t give them the respect they deserve. I do think there’s a chance they could be upset by the very quick teams, like F4Q, but I would hope their superior aim should be able to bail them out of some tougher situations.
I for one am very excited to watch them play on LAN and will be rooting for them all the way. Turkey has earned their representation on the biggest stage and I’m sure they’ll make their country proud.
Graphs used are generated using the runitback.gg API