The Liquid Review: August 2022

September 01 2022




The Liquid Review









Happy Thursday folks,



August gave Team Liquid fans a VALORANT miracle run that looks awfully familiar, a rare disappointing finish in the Quake World Championship, a rough DotA 2 major, an even rougher TSL, and of course, mustaches. It’s been a pretty up and down 30 days.





Starting with an up, Team Liquid raised more than $61,000 for charity this month. Liquid`Guild hosted a Mythic+ pro-am tournament, and raised an astounding $45,777! The tournament benefitted six total charities, including AbleGamers, Equal Justice Initiative, Girls Who Code, The Trevor Project, Women in Games International, and Doctors Without Borders. On top of that, during a 24 hour charity stream, eight Liquid players from across six different games raised $8,637.61 for Room to Read, an organization dedicated to creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality. Last but not least, Liquid linked up with advocates across the United States for the Power Up Abortion Funds charity event, which raised $7,034.84 for the National Network of Abortion Funds.



In sadder news, Liquid said goodbye to its PUBG roster this month after five years of top-tier competition from the Cavalry. During Liquid’s tenure in the scene, we won six A-tier tournaments, and competed at the PUBG Global Championships every single year. In 2018 - when Jeemz and Ibiza were accompanied by Scoom and Sambty – Liquid climbed all the way to 2nd place at the world final. Although they won’t be flying the Blue Banner anymore, the squad formerly known as Team Liquid is still together, and they’ll be competing for a spot in the European PCS7 this month.




As always, you can check out TL;DW for video updates on Team Liquid every Thursday (this month featuring Joey and special guest host Glitch)




Now back to your regularly scheduled update.




VALORANT EU







WE’RE GOING TO CHAMPIOOOOOOOOOOOOOONS!!! Armed with our new coach Emil, and fifth man dimasick, Team Liquid achieved the impossible. Again. Backs against the wall, Liquid needed to place first among eight of the best teams in the region to claim the last EMEA spot at Champions. This dire situation may sound familiar to people who have followed ScreaM and Team, because it’s the exact same situation we were in last year. Nivera had just joined the team, and the Last Chance Qualifier 2021 began Liquid’s undefeated streak that lasted until the semi-finals of Champions.



This year, Liquid ran the gauntlet again, beating BBL and Na’Vi before facing M3C in the upper bracket final. With four pieces of the Gambit team that made the finals of Champions 2021, M3C was indisputably the final boss of this tournament. Both teams managed to win the other team’s map pick, making the series come down to Icebox. M3C began the map in dominating fashion, putting Liquid down 6-12. Just one round away from the lower bracket, Team Liquid scrapped our way into overtime on the back of dimasick’s battle sage and Jamppi’s trusty Chamber. It took 10 more grueling rounds of overtime, but eventually M3C ground Liquid down, beating us 18-16, and kicking us to the lower bracket final against a dangerous G2.



Liquid traded blows with G2 on Bind and Icebox before eventually winning the tight series on Haven after a dominating second half on defense. We got our rematch against M3C.



The series began remarkably similar to the upper bracket final. M3C crushed Liquid on Bind, and Icebox once again came down to the wire. But in the last round of regulation, Jamppi stepped up to deliver three hugely important kills with his ultimate, securing Icebox for Team Liquid.




M3C nAts barely shows their head trying to get information safely. Jamppi hits this incredibly difficult shot, opening up space for Liquid take B site.



The next two maps spelled even greater success for Liquid. The Cavalry crushed M3C on Ascent, and once again won Breeze, avenging our loss in the upper bracket final, winning the tournament, and earning Liquid the final EMEA spot at Champions 2022.



So what changed between the upper bracket final and the grand final? The difference, it seems, was ScreaM. Adil Benrlitom has always been the central piece of Team Liquid’s VALORANT squad - the top fragger, the headshot machine. But going into the last chance qualifier, ScreaM had to juggle his new responsibility as in-game leader with his role as entry fragger. The new mix resulted in a relatively quiet tournament for ScreaM up until the last series against M3C. Then he unleashed. ScreaM finished the series with truly unbelievable stats: 91 kills, 199 damage per round, and 45% headshot percentage. FORTY FIVE PERCENT. Across the entire four-game series. On Ascent, his headshot percentage was 50%, and on Breeze it was 59%. That’s ludicrous, even for ScreaM.



Now on the horizon sits Champions 2022. Remarkably, since Liquid missed Copenhagen, this will be the squad’s first tournament in front of a crowd. Team Liquid returned to the VALORANT world championship yesterday with a thirst for vengeance after our humbling defeat in the semi-finals last year. Their revenge tour will take place in the Volkswagen Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.




Get hyped for ScreaM on LAN.



The group stage began just yesterday with a match against Leviatán. Liquid played it close against the Chilean squad, but ultimately came up short, losing both maps of the series 10-13. Team Liquid have a few days to reset and prepare for the elimination match against EDG. A win will keep our tournament alive and set up a deciding match against the loser of Paper Rex and Leviatán. Winning both series will earn us a spot in the quarterfinals. If we lose either series, it’s lights out.



The rest of our group includes Paper Rex, the Asian-Pacific team that shocked the world with its second place finish in Masters: Copenhagen, as well as EDG, the first Chinese team to play at an international VALORANT tournament ever. Finishing in the top two of our group will earn a spot in playoffs, a double elimination bracket with the eight best teams in the world fighting for the championship.




VALORANT BR







At the risk of overshadowing Liquid’s Brazilian VALORANT squad’s achievements, I’ve decided to split the two teams into different sections. There’s simply too much to talk about.



Liquid ventured into the Tier 1 scene last month at the Gamers Club Elite Cup, and got thoroughly trounced by the higher level of competition



Let me start that over. Team Liquid’s Brazilian VALORANT squad is fighting to be recognized as a Tier 2 team. Despite Liquid’s dominance in the Game Changers tournaments, people often consider teams comprised of women and nonbinary people to be Tier 3. For more on this dynamic, I’d recommend reading (or re-reading) Liquid’s profile and interview with Daiki and coach Palestra. Programs like Game Changers and Liquid’s Eve Ascension tournament help combat this perception and provide platforms to players with genders that are traditionally unwelcome on the server. This dynamic also made the Gamers Club Elite Cup super intriguing. The GEC blends Tier 1 Brazilian teams from the actual VCT with teams from Brazil’s Tier 2 leagues: GC Liga Série A and Game Changers. Liquid’s Brazilian side has been diligently working to become a team that belongs in the VCT, and GEC was a chance to see how they were doing.



So with that said, Liquid ventured into the Tier 1 scene last month at the Gamers Club Elite Cup, and got thoroughly trounced by the higher level of competition. Liquid reliably beat other teams from the Game Changers tournament, but lost every match against teams from the other two leagues. The Cavalry only managed to take one map off of these teams in our 1-2 loss to UNION from the Gamers Club Liga. At the end of the day though, the GEC is just a milestone. It’s a measurement of how good we are right now. It does not mean that this Liquid squad will never reach its goal of making it to the VCT. It just means we’re not there yet.



While Liquid continues to work towards Tier 1, the qualification process for Game Changers has begun again, and Liquid is back to domination. Team Liquid tore through the first qualifier dropping only a single map, finishing the tournament 9-1, and winning 400 points towards qualifying to Series 2 - the main event for Brazilian Game Changers. Their second qualification tournament takes place September 22-25.



Quake







It just wasn’t rapha’s tournament. Liquid’s Quake legend began the Quake World Championship well enough with a clean 2-0 over toxjq, a Swede who qualified from the Quake Challengers league, rather than the QPL. In the upper bracket quarter finals, however, rapha suffered a major upset by maxter, losing two extremely close games, and falling to the lower bracket. He recovered with wins against nosfa and ZenAku, but then faced RAISY, his toughest opponent yet.



RAISY and rapha are a classic matchup - two of the favorites to win the whole tournament. The last time they played (in the QPL), rapha got the best of RAISY 2-1, but it was close. Before that, the last time the two played was in the Quake World Championship 2021, where RAISY eliminated rapha in the lower bracket final. Seeing this matchup in the round determining top 6 is massively unlucky.



And both competitors played the matchup so close for all five maps. Punch and counterpunch, rapha and RAISY traded maps by the skin of their teeth, with games three and four both going to overtime. The series came down to Blood Covenant, and although rapha held a lead going into the last 30 seconds of the game, RAISY tied it up, and then pulled ahead 5-4 with 12 seconds left. rapha desperately took one last engagement while RAISY was an inch from death to bring the series to sudden death. But RAISY was able to grab enough armor to weather rapha’s assault, and get one more kill to secure rapha’s elimination.





RAISY fires one last rocket to end rapha's tournament as he desperately tries to finish RAISY off with his Lightning Gun.



RAISY ended the tournament in second place after losing 3-4 in the grand finals against another favorite to win it all - German phenom k1llsen. rapha takes top 6 at the tournament, earning $8,500, and almost certainly putting a chip on his shoulder when next season rolls along.



LEAGUE OF LEGENDS







We’ll start this massive League section with apologies to Spawn and the Academy squad for how brief their portion is. TLA deserves all the praise in the world, having now won back-to-back Proving Grounds (on top of their Academy World Champion title last year). But Team Liquid Academy has been victimized by how much I have to say about the LCS. If you feel bad for the boys like I do, you should go watch this hilarious video of the team trying to 1v1 after eating the world’s hottest chips. Liquid`Academy finished up the summer group stage on a high note, beating both C9A and 100A 2-0, and began the Summer Proving Grounds tournament with a bang. TLA was able to march through amateur Team Pending and EG Academy in the upper bracket before falling to DIG Academy 2-1 in semis.



With the lower-bracket run of a lifetime, Team Liquid Academy won the whole tournament, and $30,000 to boot. Liquid pulled off an amazing reverse-sweep against IMT Academy in their first lower bracket match, and then marched all the way through the rest of the tournament with clean 3-1 wins over 100T academy, C9 academy, and revenge against DIG academy. This huge achievement cements the whole year as TLA’s, with them winning both Spring and Summer Proving Grounds. Now, maybe some esports orgs will finally pick these lads up and give them a shot in the LCS.



Speaking of, let’s move on to those Playoffs. RIP Mustache Era, August 6, 2022 - August 14, 2022. We hardly knew you, but you will be greatly missed.




Draven_irl




Whether it was superstition, content, or just a simple nod to the 1980s, Liquid’s LCS roster played out the last two weeks of the split as mustachioed macho men. But whatever the reason, you can’t argue with the results. Liquid rounded out the first week of the Mustache Era by giving EG the biggest shellacking of the season. Bwipo’s Sett counter-pick stomped Impact and Inspired both into the ground, and the game was over in less than 25 minutes.



Superweek started off well too with convincing wins over two bottom teams, and with one game left in the season, Liquid was in a position to force a tie-breaker with 100Thieves for second place if we won. But 100T proved to be a thorn in our sides yet again. Liquid began the match with a commanding lead, and the game looked all but over within fifteen minutes. But some bad teamfights allowed 100T back into the game, and the monster scaling from Seraphine and Senna outlasted Liquid’s lead. The loss meant that there would be no tie-breaker for 2nd place, and the Cavalry would need to begin playoffs without a bye into the second round.



Instead, we faced down FlyQuest in the first round of playoffs. The series started off shaky. FlyQuest’s rookie top-laner, Philip, put on an impressive performance on Aatrox, completely nullifying Bwipo’s Olaf, even though Bwipo counterpicked him. Team Liquid was still able to build up a decent lead around the 15 minute mark, but fumbled it as Fly’s late-game carries took over.



Liquid bounced back quickly, however, and completely dominated for the rest of the series. Hans sama took over game two with his patented Draven pick, and Liquid ran a funky composition with Seraphine and a gaggle of bruisers in game three. On the surface, the composition looked odd without a traditional physical damage marksman. Coach Guilhoto explained Liquid’s reasoning for the comp this way:




If you haven't checked out the Team Liquid Discord, you're missing out on Guilhoto's insightful post-game Q&A sessions after every series.



The idea worked perfectly, and Liquid took the third game in just over 30 minutes. Team Liquid would run this comp again with great success into 100Thieves, completely stuffing their star jungler, Closer, who went 2/10 on a thoroughly-punished first-pick Vi.



One part of Liquid’s recovery this series came down to preventing Philip from having another pop-off performance. This focus is most easily spotted in game four. Team Liquid was able to counter-pick Philip’s Camille with Gragas, a match-up that – as Bwipo notes here – becomes extremely uninteractive in a very bad way for Camille after level 7.






I love watching Bwipo explain stuff.



The Cavalry jumped out to an early lead in game four, and never let go until the nexus fell in less than 25 minutes. Liquid secured the 3-1 victory over FlyQuest, and earned a rematch against 100Thieves in the upper bracket semi-finals.



The matchup against 100T was hugely important because the winner automatically qualified to World Championship in October. The series started off badly. Liquid got completely crushed in the first two games, and the Cavalry was one game away from the lower bracket. With our upper bracket lives on the line, Liquid turned to Bjergsen’s signature pocket pick.



via GIPHY



Live footage from Game 3.



Bjergsen’s Zilean dominated game 3, pulling off clutch double-bombs, saving key members of the team from death, and buying Team Liquid life in the series. In game 4, Liquid’s beef-ball Swain-Seraphine-Nautilus core pounded Closer’s Vi into the dirt, and the series went to Silver Scrapes.



Despite reaching the game 5 beat drop, it wasn’t meant to be. Some macro miscues allowed 100T to dominate early objective control, and in mid-game Teamfights, Closer’s Lee Sin found clutch ultimates to obliterate Hans sama, and crush Team Liquid’s upper bracket dreams.




This kick is actually illegal.



But we still have a path to Worlds. Liquid plays CLG today in the lower bracket quarter-finals. If we win this series, we’ll be up against either EG or TSM for North America’s final spot at Worlds this Sunday. Winning the lower bracket semis will also guarantee the team the chance to play live in front of a stadium for a chance at the LCS championship at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.




It'd be fitting for the Michael Jordan of the LCS to win a championship in the home of the Bulls.



It’s no secret that Liquid’s LCS team is supposed to be a super team. We built this roster to win the LCS and overcome our 3-3 curse at worlds. It’s easy to look at our 3rd place regular season finish and our loss to 100T, and feel disappointed. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that we’re not done yet. Until the last nexus falls, Liquid still has the potential to live up to its monumental expectations. So keep cheering, keep believing, keep つ ◕◕ ༽つ sending your energy つ ◕◕ ༽つ. In the words of Yogi Berra, it ain’t over til it’s over.




DotA 2







Liquid`DotA is down bad, but not out either. Liquid took a disappointing string of Ls at the Arlington Major this month, barely making it to playoffs, and failing to win the only series we played; the only series we needed to qualify for TI through with DPC points. Had Liquid beaten BOOM esports, we would have had enough points to qualify to The International. But we couldn’t manage it, leaving only two avenues left to qualify for the biggest tournament of the year.



Our first line to TI begins September 13th with the Western EU Qualifier. If we’re able to win the entire event, we’ll qualify, full stop. If not, finishing in the top 3 will earn Team Liquid a spot in the Last Chance Qualifier, which has not yet been scheduled. If Liquid makes it to the last chance qualifier, we’ll need to finish in the top 2 of the 12 teams competing to grab the last spots available. The competition at the Western EU Regional is fierce. Liquid will need to outpace Entity, Secret, Nigma, Alliance, and Brame to win the direct seed.



CS:GO








The boys are back on the server, and already looking even better than last month. Armed once again with our Latvian liberator YEKINDAR, Team Liquid began the BLAST Fall Groups with much better results than last February in Spring Groups. Despite consistently slow starts stemming from issues in pistol rounds, Liquid was still able to beat both G2 and Complexity to make it to the grand final in the group stage against Na’Vi.



Liquid lost the match in what I can only describe as the closest 4-16 I have ever seen in my life. And that’s not even copium. By the end of the map, Na’Vi only had 14 more kills than Liquid did (76-62). Compare that to Na’Vi’s 16-3 win against Complexity, which sported a kill-gap of 33 (87-44). More importantly, just watching the rounds, you can see how close we are. In several rounds, Liquid successfully retook a bomb site, but lost the round because it was too late to defuse. (Okay, maybe this is a little copium.)



But unlike me, Team Liquid didn’t spend all day moping about the loss. A fresh-faced Cavalry attacked the play-in stage, winning a close series against NIP, and thoroughly whomping Heroic in the finals. These wins are a huge deal. By beating Heroic, Liquid qualified directly for BLAST Finals in Copenhagen this November. Later this year, we’re headed to the Royal Arena with 7 other teams to fight for a share of the $425,000 prize pool. Liquid also proved themselves in a way they haven’t all year - reaching 4th in HLTV’s global rankings.



Before the BLAST Finals, however, the ESL is back, and Liquid has been placed into the Group of Black and Blue.






It was surprisingly annoying to figure out who was playing who each day, even with the teams' names literally right there.



There are a couple of interesting storylines in this group. You may recall that in July, Liquid beat both Cloud9 and FURIA at IEM Cologne 2-0, and you may also recall that the Movistar Riders beat Liquid in the quarterfinals of that very same tournament. Group D is a revenge party, a party that ends with somebody crushed and alone (and ugly crying).



More accurately, I suppose, three teams in Group D will end up ugly crying, since only the top three in the group will make playoffs. First place seeds directly into the quarter finals of the single-elimination bracket, while second and third places head to the Round of 12. On the line is a hefty $835,000 prize pool, and a direct seed to both the BLAST World Final and IEM Katowice 2023.




Rainbow 6 Siege







The Cavalry will begin the last leg of the Brasileirão this month, with eyes set on the next Copa Elite Six in October, the next Six Major in November, and ultimately, the Six Invitational early next year. The familiar format pits Team Liquid in a round-robin best of one against 9 other top Brazilian teams, where the top four teams qualify to the Copa Elite Six. The match dates haven’t been set yet, but they run on the weekends beginning at 12:00 EDT with two matches per week over the first three weeks, and one super week from Friday-Sunday on the last week.



Fortnite







Over in Brazil, the Fortniters are thriving in the Season 3 Finals. Seeyun and Persa both popped off with their respective duos and made top 3 finishes. That’s pretty huge in a Fortnite Championship Series event, where the competition is at its highest! Persa is still pushing hard to show that he can be the very best in the region - and the world - at the game. Meanwhile, Seeyun might just be eyeing a transition to Valorant. Suetam struggled a bit more in the FNCS but still finished 16th out of 50 teams overall - so not bad all things considered!




Free Fire







Rounding out our battle royales is Liquid`Free Fire, which has returned to the LBFF. The LBFF has a nine week regular season with three groups of 6 teams, who all play twice each week. The top 12 teams at the end of the season qualify for the LBFF Finals, where the teams have 8 rounds to win as many points as possible. The winning team qualifies for the Free Fire World Series in November, and the teams are also fighting for a share of around $140,000 in prizes.



Since the last LBFF, the Cavalry has replaced Boss with last season’s MVP, Yago, who earned the title by getting the most kills across the entire season. Yago also earned the Seleção LBFF award, given to the best players as voted by coaches and players.



So far, the team has had middling success. Liquid has consistently put up around 30 points per game – not too bad, but certainly not close to the teams at the top of the table. Yago has already been a bright spot for the team, leading the Cavalry in kills so far. As it stands now, Liquid is on the outside of the top 12 looking in, but there’s still plenty of time to climb up in the standings.



Smash







One of the many beautiful things about Super Smash Bros is that by reading this sentence, you don’t know which game I’m talking about. Since the original Super Smash Bros was released in 1999 (!), the game has gone through many iterations. Normally, when I look through the Smash brackets to do these recaps, I check Melee for Hbox, and Ultimate for Riddles, Dabuz, and Atelier. But Hbox has been increasingly entering Ultimate brackets, and doing pretty well in them. He managed to make the Top 24 for Ultimate at Wavedash, a tournament that he won in Melee. And early this coming month, Hbox has signed up for both the Melee and Ultimate sections of Riptide 2022.



Then of course, there’s Smash Con. Super Smash Con hosted tournaments for nearly every iteration of Smash Bros. Dabuz entered the Ultimate, Brawl, and WiiU brackets. In Ultimate, Dabuz took an early loss in round 2 of the upper bracket, but rallied by winning the next two series against Regalo and (with an unfortunate team kill) Riddles. Dabuz couldn’t figure out Light, however, and finished the tournament in the Top 6.



Like Phase 3 of their longstanding rivalry, Hungrybox’s journey through the Smash Con Melee bracket got repeatedly stuffed by Mang0. He breezed through the upper bracket until meeting Mang0 in the semifinals, where he lost a close 3-2 series. Juan then won an incredibly impressive set against Zain, who had been a painful thorn in his side since 2020. Hungrybox also beat out lloD in the lower bracket finals to earn a rematch against Mang0, but he lost yet another close series 3-2. Hbox would get his revenge against Mang0 at Shine 2022, though, this time mirroring Phase 4 of the rivalry. Unfortunately, Zain and Jmook would both get their revenge against Hbox as the bracket went on.



Super Smash Con held one more surprise for the Cavalry, as Liquid’s YouTube Strategist and Hungrybox’s YouTube Manager Liquid`Chia was able to finish in the Top 8 of the Brawl section of Smash Con. With 121 Competitors in the field, Chia made it out of both pools and into the upper bracket. Piloting R.O.B., she dropped to the lower bracket (also a victim of 686M), where she was able to win one more series before bowing out in the Top 8.



Riddles rounds out our Smash section with a trip abroad! He took on the European and Japanese scenes at Ultimate Wanted 4, in France. He fared well against the Europeans, but fell to the top Japanese competitors - first against Shuton and then in an electrifying KAZUYA MISHIMA ditto versus Tea.




StarCraft II







The Eighth installation of the Team Liquid StarLeague went just about as badly as it could possibly go. Every single player from the Cavalry lost in either the first or second round of the lower bracket. The last time Team Liquid took such an abject and thorough L, we made a documentary about it.



The WardiTV Summer Championship went much better overall. Clem, Kelazhur, and Elazer all cruised through the group stages without too much grief. After all three lost their upper bracket quarter final match, however, Clem unfortunately had to team kill Elazer to move on through the lower bracket. Both Kelazhur and Clem were eliminated by ByuN, leaving Clem with a 4th place finish, and top 8 finishes for Kelazhur and Elazer.




Teamfight Tactics





The first half of Set 7 comes to a close, and neither robin nor Kurum were able to get the coveted spot to the TFT World Championship at stake for the Mid-Set finale. However, both are in an extremely good spot to qualify for the regional finals, where the rest of the North American Worlds spots will be determined. Without getting too much into the nitty-gritty, placing highly in the Jade Cup and the Mid-Set Finale earned both tacticians qualifier enough qualifier points that it’s extremely likely (if not mathematically certain) that they’ll both have enough to qualify. Now the mid-set update has arrived on beta, introducing TFT players to champions they’ve never seen before because they don’t play League anymore.




Who the hell is that?



Since Kurum and robin have basically already qualified for the regional finals in late October, they don’t need to sweat this set for anything other than practice for the tournament. On the other hand, Goose and Saintvicious need to prep for the Dragon Cup in late September and early October.



Postscript: Charities



Editor’s Note: Tortious Tortoise, the writer for this piece, started donating the payment we normally give to the writer after the June article. Tortoise gave to Fòs Feminista in July, and is splitting the money up among some of the organizations involved in Team Liquid’s charity events this month (AbleGamers, The Trevor Project, Women in Games International, and Room to Read). We encourage you to donate too, and have hyperlinked the donation pages for each charity.






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






















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