The Liquid Review July 2022

July 28 2022




The Liquid Review









Happy Thursday folks,



We’ve officially passed the half-way point of the year, and through the record-breaking heat and surging inflation, it can feel nice to stop for a moment, and relax with a tall refreshing glass of video games. July gave us the biggest Apex tournament of the year, ups and downs for the LoL squad, and a new hope for CS:GO. Meanwhile, on the horizon lay the last chances for DotA, PUBG, and VALORANT, and the biggest tournament of the year for Liquid`rapha in Quake.



Off the server, Liquid launched a new series “The Next Wave,” a competition to find an FPS player to join Team Liquid as a content creator! The show features Tiffae, Liquid`Apex’s coach, hodsic, legendary CS:GO commentator, stunna, and Esport’s most beloved cringelord host, Ovilee. Four of the five episodes have been released so far, with the last one dropping today, so check them out!





Ovilee explaining that it's Aimlab, not Aimlabs.



I also want to highlight Liquid`Guild’s WoW charity tournament, the M+ Pro-Am, raising money this weekend for ablegamers, The Trevor Project, Girls Who Code, and the Equal Justice Initiative. Stop by for a good time, and donate if you can!



As always, you can check out videos tracking Liquid’s 20 or so esports through this past month’s TL;DW! Just be careful that you don’t get lost in Joey’s eyes.





Apex







Liquid`Apex stayed around the middle of the pack through all of ALGS Championship. Nocturnal’s squad qualified in 9th place from the group stage to the winner’s bracket, where the team needed to finish in the top 10 to make the finals. Liquid just barely missed the cut at 11th, and headed to the second round of the loser’s bracket instead. Liquid dominated there, placing 3rd and winning one of the last ten spots in the finals. But after that, Team Liquid couldn’t find the same magic they had in Stockholm. While the boys had a couple of great games in the finals, they unfortunately stayed firmly in the middle of the pack, only barely reaching match point before Dark Zero stole first place from a dominating FURIA.



Liquid finished the tournament in 12th out of the 40 teams that made it there. It was a decent finish, objectively, but a bit disappointing considering Liquid’s incredible performance at the Split 2 finals in May. Still, for many Liquid APex fans, this tournament will be more about resilience than results. The squad had a very unlucky tournament, getting their starting spots sniped out and falling into big deficits in the early matches, only to scrap their way back up. The bad luck ran so deep that, at the start of a crucial match, both nocturnal and FunFPS disconnected and EA refused to restart the round. Despite the misfortunes, the squad never threw in the towel, taking swings at the top until the very end. The end of the Championship also spells the end for Liquid`Apex’s season, and the Cavalry heads into a break until the next ALGS. tThe 2021-22 season began in mid-October, so nocturnal, Fun, and Gild have some time to relax and recharge before the grind begins all over again.



CS:GO








-Three syllables, eight letters; say it, and I’m yours.





YEKINDAR



With only two weeks of practice, Team Liquid returned to Cologne with very little expectations. But there were also rumblings that the team had put in an absurd amount of effort in that short time, practicing something like 10-13 hours every day. Still, things started slow as Liquid dropped its first match to Spirit in a heartbreaking 20-22 loss on Ancient. The first map against 00 Nation was somehow even worse, where Liquid lost a grueling Overpass 22-25. But YEKINDAR brought a never-quit attitude that kept Liquid in it. With the tournament on the line, Liquid faced overtime yet again, this time on Mirage. But this time, the Cavalry pulled through, winning the map and cruising through map three to take the match overall.



In a way, that overtime on Mirage was a turning point for this team. Imagine being in their shoes. In the last two maps, you’ve played 89 rounds of Counter-Strike, and fell short in both games. Now you’re 119 rounds deep, and you have to find a way to overcome the weight of those losses, the sheer fatigue from playing so much CS, and two of the most celebrated Brazilian stars to touch the game. And you do it. Imagine the euphoria, the confidence, the momentum that comes with that. YEKINDAR explained it this way.



The longer the game the more stressful it becomes … I came from a team that’s come back so many games, and we always played super long games. And I just explained that don’t fucking surrender until the end, and everything is possible. And I think it clicked, and everybody started to believe. When one person believes–truly believes–then everybody starts believing, and every win, they start believing more and more and more.




Liquid won out the rest of the group stage. Their run included a comfortable 2-0 win against Cloud9 -, a nice bit of revenge against the team that single handedly knocked us out of IEM Dallas in June. Liquid also beat FURIA 2-0, winning one more overtime for good measure, and earning their spot once again in the Cathedral of Counter-Strike.



The road ended there, however. Liquid ran into a brick wall against Movistar Riders on Ancient, where SunPayus had a sensational performance on the AWP. We clawed back, winning Inferno by the skin of our teeth, but couldn’t keep enough momentum to win the series, and fell 12-16 on Vertigo



Of course it’s disappointing every time Liquid falls out of a tournament. But IEM Cologne stimulated a lot of hope for the future of Team Liquid Counter-Strike. The boys outperformed expectations, and seemed to overcome a huge mental block. They’ll be back this month for BLAST Fall Groups. And since we haven’t heard any official roster announcement yet, let me add my voice to the chorus on social media platforms everywhere:



SIGN HIM.




LEAGUE OF LEGENDS







July didn’t do the LCS squad any favors. Tough losses to 100T, EG, and CLG led to a 3-3 month, bringing Liquid to 3rd place, and 7-4 overall. This puts Team Liquid two games back from first place with seven more games to go. August will spell the end of the regular season, as well as the beginning of playoffs. Liquid is shooting for a top 2 finish, which will give us a bye going into playoffs. If we place 3-6, we’ll begin our journey to worlds in the upper bracket quarter-finals, and a 7th or 8th place finish will mean we have to crawl all the way through the lower bracket.



In Academy-land, Liquid continues to dominate the league. Although CLG Academy’s 2-0 over Liquid snapped our streak of not losing both games of a series, Liquid is still saddled squarely in first place with a record of 23-7 overall. This has secured TL a spot in Proving Grounds without having to go through play-ins. There are only two matches left in the regular season, today against Cloud9 and tomorrow against 100 Thieves. Winning these matches is still important because if Liquid finishes first in the group stage, we’ll earn the top seed of Proving Grounds, presumably leading to a more favorable matchup early on.



DotA 2







InSaniA and company began July in the middle of the pack for the final DPC of the year with two critical matches left to play. Although Tundra had already locked in first place, Liquid, OG, and Entity were all fighting for 2nd place to collect those sweet sweet DPC points needed to qualify to TI. Liquid faced both prospective rivals to finish off the season, and really stepped it up. Liquid handily won both matches 2-0, and won the tie-breaker rematch against OG 2-0 too. This secured Team Liquid second place, winning them a spot at the major, and 300 DPC points.



Up next is the last chance for Liquid to earn points to qualify to TI: the Arlington Major. Right now, Team Liquid stands right on the cusp of qualifying to The International directly. The team is 13th, and we need to be in the top 12. If Liquid places in the top 8, we’ll automatically pass one of the teams ahead of us. This means that if Liquid places in the top 8 of the major, and finishes equal to or better than the teams below us, we’re guaranteed a place in Singapore for The International in October. If we don’t finish in the top 8, we’ll have to play in the Western Europe qualifier for a chance to play for a share of the biggest prize pool in all of esports.



Rainbow 6 Siege







The Cavalry had its back to the wall in Stage 2 of the Brasileirão. With only five four matches left to qualify for Copa Elite Six, Liquid had only the slimmest margin of error: we had to win all four matches, and at least three of those wins had to be in regulation. We began this herculean task on the right foot, demolishing Team oNe, and handily beating mibr. But against 00Nation, we won in overtime. This meant that everything came down to the last match against FaZe. If Liquid won in regulation, we would qualify for Copa Elite Six and a chance at making the Berlin Major. If the game went to overtime, or Liquid lost, FaZe would take the spot instead. Well It came down to the absolute wire on Theme Park. Liquid began with a commanding 4-1 lead, but FaZe found five consecutive rounds to secure overtime and eliminate Liquid from major contention. With that, the Cavalry has a couple of months to recover from the loss and prepare for Stage 3, which will begin in mid-September.



VALORANT







As expected, Team Liquid`Brazil completely dominated Series 1 of Brazil’s Game Changers. We crushed every single team we played without ever dropping a single map. Out of the 9 maps Liquid played, only 3 teams got double-digit rounds against us. This month, however, they’ll face much fiercer competition. Liquid has won a spot in the Gamers Club Elite Cup. The tournament begins with the Diamond Stage a swiss system round featuring 8 teams from Game Changers, and 8 teams from the Gamers Club Liga Série A.



The top 11 teams from the first system move on to join 5 VCT Brazilian teams in the Immortal Stage. There, the remaining teams will play another round of the swiss system until the top 8 teams remain for the Radiant Stage, a single-elimination playoff to crown the winner of the tournament. The GC will hopefully give Team Liquid another chance to test our mettle against tier 1 competition. Liquid is off to a 1-1 start so far, with a win against a Game Changers team (TropiCaos) and a loss against a Gamers Club Liga team (puGG). The team could potentially qualify to the next stage off of their wins over other Game Changers squads but their true goal is to start beating those tier 2 Liga squads and eventually taking it to the tier 1 squads in the Immortal and Radiant Stages.



For Liquid’s European VALORANT squad, it’s been pretty quiet through Masters. Liquid is still missing a fifth player and a coach, but there are some teasers appearing on Twitter that indicate some kind of event happening this Saturday. The announcement can’t come soon enough, since our last chance to qualify to Champions begins August 7th. Liquid will need to run the gauntlet in this stacked double-elimination tournament, beating out the likes of G2, Acend, Guild, and M3. If the VCT uses a seeded bracket, Liquid’s first matchup will be against the Turkish team BBL, a team that we’ve historically dominated. But we can’t take anything for granted since everything is on the line.




Quake







The dust has settled on the Quake Pro League, and rapha finished out the season strong, defeating cha1n 2-1, and beating Spart1e about as badly as the contestants on The Next Wave. rapha finished the league in second place, earning him a bye in the first round of the Quake World Championship taking place in Bucharest. The World Championship will be the first major offline Quake tournament since rapha won the Stage 2 finals of QPL Season 1 in Katowice in February, 2020.





Esports is just so much cooler in person.



In Bucharest this month, rapha will begin his tournament in the second round, facing the winner of two players from Quake Challengers - Strongsage or toxjq. Assuming he can take care of business, maxter, vengeurR, ZenAku, and cha1n are all on his side of the bracket. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The tournament runs from August 18-20.



World of Warcraft







The MDI didn’t quite go as planned for Baldy, and the Mythic Dungeon team of four Liquid members got kind of dumpstered in the finals, losing in the first round of the upper bracket, and dropping out of the tournament in the first round of the lower bracket as well.



Over in arena land, cdew and co. fared better, but still ultimately fell short of their goal. In the North American finals, Liquid was able to climb its way up to the lower bracket final, but unfortunately lost to Cloud9. This gave Liquid a third place finish and a $25,000 prize. In the cross-region showmatch tournament, Liquid`Arena began the tournament with a narrow 3-2 win over SK, but dropped to the lower bracket after a tough loss to American powerhouse kawhi. After rallying against CGN, Liquid lost the rematch against SK in lower semi-finals, leaving us with a fourth place finish overall.



And although official WoW esports for Shadowlands now comes to a close, Liquid isn’t done yet! Team Liquid will host the M+ Charity Pro-Am tournament this weekend, raising money for four charities by killing some bosses:


Smash







July was a crazy month for Hungrybox. He spent his Independence Day weekend with a stellar performance at Get On My Level, winning the tournament, and ending his 840 day drought. The most incredible part of GOML is that Hbox’s gold medal is only the second most entertaining thing to happen there, falling just short of iBDW’s jaw-dropping anti-popoff.







Like any good roller-coaster, however, Juan’s month began to dive after GOML, and at Double Down, Hbox became too sick to compete. Even after going to urgent care, Hbox still attempted to compete in the tournament, but eventually disqualified himself and left the venue. Hungrybox recognized after the fact that he should not have tried to compete, and apologized for remaining in the tournament as long as he did, and for “half-assing mask protocols.” Fate wasn’t done with Hungrybox yet, however; as he returned from Double Down, Hbox accidentally left his GOML trophy in Las Vegas.



The month was hardly less strange for Liquid’s Ultimate players. At Double Down, both Dabuz and Riddles would fall into the lower bracket very early - each getting upset by regional hidden bosses (frawg and shoe respectively). Riddles would mount an impressive losers run, winning 5 sets (including one over Marss) just to get 25th. Dabuz, meanwhile, would go on an absolute tear, winning 11 sets in a row, beating Chag, Ned, Kurama, Jakal, KEN, and getting revenge against Sonix. It was one of the best losers runs, and easily the best solo-Rosalina run, in Ultimate thus far. All just to claw back to 4th place.



Afterwards, both players would return to their regions to compete - Riddles at GOML and Dabuz at Tri-State Smash. Riddles lost in a game 5 set to Onin, a top Steve main, and (much more surprisingly) to Ice Climbers main and fellow hometown hero, Big D. Losing a home game is always tough but in the current landscape of Ultimate, no win is a given and few characters can go ignored. This is what made it all the more impressive that Dabuz tore through his region at Tri-State Smash, 3-0ing 2 top 50 caliber players in Jakal and Zomba. He might not have conquered Vegas but Dabuz is still the King of New York.



This weekend, Dabuz heads south of the border to Smash Factor 9 in Puebla, Mexico. Then, later in the month is Super Smash Con in Chantilly, Virginia, and Shine 2022 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Finally, Riddles will head to Waco, Texas for the Rise ‘N Grind tournament the weekend of the 19th. Keep an eye on both competitors. Riddles has been on a steady path upwards and though Dabuz has yet to manage his big national win, he’s looking in better form than ever.





Age of Empires IV







DEMUSLIM IS GOING TO WOLOLO!!! After qualifying to the monthly final with a couple of strong finishes in the weekly tournament, DeMusliM got his revenge against Wam01, who knocked him out of the June qualifier. Perhaps even more impressive, he won his spot in the Wololo the same weekend he was casting the Homestory Cup, using borrowed equipment from Liquid`Kelazhur. DeMusliM’s qualification this month means that he no longer has to worry about the qualifiers for the next two months. The next time we see our AoE star in an official, it’ll be in the Heidelberg castle at the end of October.



StarCraft II







As a staunch proponent of getting the bad news out of the way first, let’s start with the World Team League. Liquid barely missed the playoffs, finishing 8th when we needed to place at least 7th. The last two matches of the season against NV and Freecs also came down to the wire, with Liquid`Clem losing both ace matches against DRG and soO, respectively. That said, even winning both ace matches wouldn’t have been enough, as NV was too far ahead in the standings for us to catch.



But apart from the World Team League, Clem had a hell of a July. He and Elazer began the month by making it to the quarter-finals of DreamHack Valencia–the first major SC2 LAN since the pandemic began. Then everybody on Team Liquid–Clem ,Elazer, MaNa, and Kelazhur–earned their spots at the Team Liquid StarLeague. And to cap it all off, Clem was able to get all the way to the finals of the HomeStory Cup XXI, where he ultimately fell to Serral. Still, Clem’s silver medal earned him $5,500, so, you know, not a bad day at the office.



But now, for Liquid`StarCraft fans, all eyes are on the TSL. Clem will kick off the tournament bright and early tomorrow with a rematch against soO, and a potential rematch against Serral if he can win his first match. An immediately brutal bracket for the young Frenchman, but you’ve gotta beat the best to be the best. Then on Saturday, MaNa, Elazer, and Kelazhur all have their first matchups. Everyone who wins their first match will be able to relax until August 5th. If anyone loses their first matchup, however, they’ll play the first round of the lower bracket on July 31st.




Fortnite







Chapter 3 Season 3 of the Fortnite Champion Series belongs entirely to Brazil. Scoped wasn’t able to qualify over in NAE, and it looks like Stretch is taking the Season off from the FNCS. So that leaves all eyes on Seeyun, System, and Felipersa (and their respective duos) a couple weeks from now as they battle for a share of a $240,500 prize pool, and the regional championship title.



PUBG







I’ve never been happier in my life to report that Liquid got 10th place. The Cavalry’s star-studded PUBG roster has long been considered one of the best in Europe, and a perennial contender for each Global Championship. But G-Loot Season 6 didn’t go very well. That’s an understatement; G-Loot was, and I’m quoting Jeemz here, the “[w]orst tournament from us in history of PUBG. First actually really bad tournament in my whole career.” Through the whole tournament, it felt like nothing went right. Liquid would begin a game with a promising few kills, and then get completely obliterated. Map after map after map, the circle shifts completely ruined Liquid’s plans, and we couldn’t get anything going at all.



With just 3 games left, Liquid was in 14th place out of 16 teams. And how do you recover from that? When you’ve already played 15 games, and none of them has gone right at all, you start to feel like you’re kind of cursed. But all credit to the PUBG squad, Team Liquid overcame that baggage, and played a phenomenal game, winning a chicken dinner, and proving to the world that nobody dumpsters Team Liquid 16 times in a row. Liquid’s chicken dinner (and the subsequent 15 points it won in the next two games) proved crucial, lifting Team Liquid from 14th place up to 10th. And those few extra spots actually matter. Liquid’s 10th place finish means we got into the prize pool at $1,200, and it won us 35 PGC points instead of 15. Eight teams with the most PGC points will qualify to the Global Championship. Right now, Liquid has a 135 point buffer above the 9th place team, with just the PUBG Continental Series 7 left to go. That tournament will take place in September.




Teamfight Tactics





This weekend, Goose, robin, Kurum, and Saintvicious all continue their journey towards eventual worlds qualification with the Jade Cup. If any of them can finish in the top 4 of the tournament, they’ll win a spot in the Mid-Set Finale directly. But placing as high as possible is still important, even if we don’t finish top 4. Placing high in the Jade Cup earns players qualifier points, and the 24 players with the most qualifier points will also get an invitation to the Mid-Set FiInale.




For all of Liquid’s players that manage to get there, the Mid-Set Finale will take place the weekend of August 19-21. 32 players will battle it out until the top 4 of the tournament directly qualify to the Regional Finals in October, the tournament that determines who is going to Worlds.





I don't get it, what's so hard to understand about this format?




Writer // Tortious Tortoise
Graphics // Stacey "Shiroiusagi" Yamada






















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