jks stars as G2 close out year with BLAST Premier World Final title

Two S-Tier wins across two teams for Australia's greatest CS:GO export.

European squad G2 shocked the CS:GO world in October when the highly decorated squad failed to qualify for the IEM Rio Major. With no Major appearance and limited in-server time, the squad were all but written off ahead of BLAST’s end of year $1 million USD event in Abu Dhabi.

To compound the pressure, embattled captain Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen landed in the UAE capital to terrible news — the passing of his father at home in Europe.

It would take the impossible, then, for G2 to emerge from nowhere and claim the World Final title for themselves.

But after a 1092 day wait for a grand final map win — let alone an S-Tier title — G2 emerged victorious over Team Liquid 2-0 (16-7, 16-12) to claim the lion’s share of the million dollars.

17-year-old wonderkid Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov took out the event MVP, but Australian rifler Justin “jks” Savage (40-24, 1.35 rating) topped the server in the grand final in a stellar return to form.

“Started the year strong, ending the year strong — nothing more to say, really,” said jks immediately following G2’s grand final win.

His 1.35 final rating was accompanied by a 1.12 event rating and a +40 kill differential across the tournament — a stark contrast to what has been a rollercoaster of a year for the Aussie.

jks was a late stand-in due to COVID back at IEM Katowice, where he & FaZe Clan halted G2 in the grand final to take out the first S-Tier tournament for the year.

He would join G2 shortly after his Katowice win, with success seemingly within reach early: a top six finish at BLAST Fall Groups and a semi-final result at ESL Pro League S16.

But things turned grim for jks and G2 in October, where the squad fell to 1win and GamerLegion in the European RMR to miss the IEM Rio Major.

Many had been calling for jks’ head, with the Aussie failing to fill Audric “JACKZ” Jug’s shoes over the course of the year.

But he battled back at the BLAST World Finals this past week, posting year-high ratings across the tournament.

G2 fell to FaZe in the group stage opener, but the squad bounced back in elimination to defeat Rio Major champs Outsiders 2-0 — including a 16-1 decimation on Mirage.

jks & co. brushed off Vitality in the round-of-six before narrowly downing FaZe in a semi-final rematch 2-0 (16-14, 16-13) — where “Juzzy” joined Nemanja “huNter” Kovač at the top of the server.

jks would repeat his efforts in the grand final; the Aussie went 21-9 in a 16-7 rout of Team Liquid on Inferno, before a +4 effort on Mirage broke the backs of the North American side — who were also hunting their first big event win of the year.

The conclusion of the BLAST World Finals in Abu Dhabi spells the end of the Counter-Strike year for 2022, with the IEM Katowice Play-In’s kicking off in January 2023.

Nicholas Taifalos
Nicholas Taifalos
Nicholas "Taffy" Taifalos got his start publishing the escapades of some of Australia's pioneers in Counter-Strike and Dota overseas. Now, he turns his eye to events closer to home, from grassroots projects to the height of Oceanic competition and everything in-between. He still hopes for the day Dota makes a glorious return to the pinnacle of OCE esports.



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