Notable players missing the BLAST Paris Major 2023

Let's hope some can make the showmatch.

Image via Cloud9

Sixteen of the world’s best CS:GO squads will descend upon Paris on May 8 for the BLAST Paris Major Challenger Stage, with a further eight waiting in the New Legends Stage.

History will be made in what has been confirmed to be the final Major for Global Offensive, with Counter-Strike 2 set to release this summer. But while some of the globe’s best will go head-to-head in the coming weeks, there are players that didn’t make the cut, some that fell embarrassingly short of qualification, and others that will say farewell to one of the greatest chapters in Counter-Strike esports history from home.

While certain players in this list can be excused, others entered the various Paris Major qualifiers with high expectations and a heavy favorites tag—neither of which would aid in their qualification attempts.

Here is a selection of notable players who will be absent come the BLAST Paris Major 2023’s opening ceremony.

Dmitriy “sh1ro” Sokolov and Cloud9

Photo via PGL

Many argued Cloud9 sniper sh1ro deserved better in HLTV’s player rankings last year, but the third-best voted player for 2022 will not be present to compete in Paris—and neither will his squad.

Slated as easy Legends Stage favorites going into their qualifier, Cloud9 fell in shocking circumstances at the European RMR B, with the world No. 5 losing to Monte, G2, and ENCE.

Given one last shot in the EU Decider, they would defeat B8 and BIG, but fell at the last hurdle to FaZe Clan, wiping the Russian squad out of Major contention. Let it be known it was through no fault of sh1ro’s, who was at his consistent best throughout the RMR. Missing the final CS:GO Major will no doubt hurt the 21-year-old, who remains one of Counter-Strike’s best in 2023.

Dzhami “Jame” Ali and

Photo via BLAST

This goes for the entirety of the Virtus Pro squad but specifically their sniper Jame, who will fail to defend his Major title and MVP performance from IEM Rio. VP will go down in history as one of the few squads that won a Major but failed to even attend the next.

Their RMR run was almost as easy as it gets; palming off SAW in their opening best-of-one, the Rio Major champions were downed by B8 and Into the Breach in their following matches, despite outranking each by an easy 50 places.

The pressure would get to Virtus Pro, with the squad making an emergency change midway through the RMR by benching Kair0N- and bringing on n0rb3r7. But it was too little, too late. MOUZ finished VP off once and for all in an utter demolition to send Jame and Co. packing early.

Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz and Astralis

Image via BLAST

The most successful organization in CS:GO Major history will be absent in Paris and with them one of the all-time greats in device, who will now miss his third straight Major. 

Eyes were on Astralis following device’s return to the Danish organization after a year out of the game, and the Danish maestro certainly didn’t disappoint, posting a 1.22 rating (eighth overall) across his seven maps.

What did disappoint, however, was Astralis as a whole. Winning just one map, the three-time Major champions were left to lick their wounds after a dismal RMR campaign. The squad will now look to the stars for answers in what has been an underwhelming start to 2023. We’ll see device and the Astralis team next take to the server at IEM Dallas.

Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and Marcelo “coldzera” David

Photo via PGL

The Godfather of Counter-Strike may have played his last Major following Imperial’s exit at the Americas RMR in Mexico.

A +9 kill differential and a 1.07 rating just weren’t enough for FalleN, with Imperial losing to 9z and Evil Geniuses in their Major qualifier, knocking the Brazilian legend out of the running for Global Offensive’s final Valve-sponsored tournament.

The two-time Major-winning Brazilian mastermind won’t get a chance to replicate his miracle run from the PGL Antwerp Major, and with rumors of his retirement in the air, we may have well seen FalleN’s last Major appearance in Rio last year.

The same may well go for Marcelo “coldzera” David, who fell in straight sets at the RMR with 00NATION. The world’s best player in 2016 and 2017 sees his run of Major qualification end at the final hurdle in CS:GO, meaning none of the famed Luminosity, SK, or MIBR players of yesteryear will appear in Paris.

Kenny “kennyS” Schrub

Photo via BLAST

Arguably the greatest AWPer to touch Counter-Strike, kennyS will undoubtedly be in the French capital—but he won’t be competing for the BLAST Major crown.

Making a glorious return to CS:GO after a stint in rival FPS VALORANT, kennyS and Falcons came oh-so-close to making a fairytale run at the EU RMR. Up 2-1, the squad could not take out best-of-threes against GamerLegion or OG, meaning a last-ditch attempt at the Last Chance Qualifier against BIG.

Alas, it was not to be for kennyS, nor for veteran countryman teammate Nathan “NBK” Schmitt, with Falcons nosediving against the Germans to end their hopes for a second French representative at this Major. The home crowd’s hopes for a French victor rest with shox and ZywOo at Team Vitality.

Team Spirit

Photo via PGL

It’s quite the fall from grace for Russian squad Team Spirit, who demanded respect after an incredible top-four finish at PGL Antwerp in May 2022. While the rest of their 2022 lacked consistency, another Champions Stage finish at the Rio Major kept them among the best by the season’s end.

But Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov’s men are yet to awaken in 2023. Group stage exits at IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League Season 17 tempered expectations but faithful fans had them bouncing back at the RMR to qualify for Paris.

That was until they went winless in Copenhagen to the likes of Aurora and 500. A capitulation of epic proportions, it’s back to the drawing board for Spirit who are unlikely to appear at a major CS:GO tournament again as CS2 appears on the horizon.

Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer

Photo via BLAST

Does olofmeister really deserve to be on this list? Probably not, but there are those among the fanbase that were hoping for a shimmer of CS:GO’s greatest magicians one last time.

Olofmeister was one-fifth of the iconic Fnatic roster that set the tone of CS:GO back in 2014, claiming both ESL One Cologne and ESL One Katowice in 2015. Olofmeister cemented himself among the proverbial Mount Rushmore of Counter-Strike but has well and truly begun to wind down his competitive career.

Olof linked up with some of Sweden’s greatest in GeT_RiGhT, f0rest, and friberg for one last ride in the Paris Major European Open Qualifier with “boomer demons” but their 16-12 loss to Viperio saw their run end early.

About the author
Nicholas Taifalos

Aussie Editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career as a commentator, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly CS:GO and Dota. Email: [email protected]