The Liquid Review: October 2022

November 03 2022




The Liquid Review









Happy Thursday folks,




It’s been a busy month for the Big Blue Wave. Liquid+ reached 100,000 users, and the LA Times did a profile on the LoL squad. Mendo re-signed with Liquid, Alixxa had a treasure hunt, and Lex Veldhuis–a professional poker player who streams under the Team Liquid banner–became a father!





Although there’s no League of Legends matches on the schedule, the Academy Team is planning to hold open tryouts early this month from November 7-13. Joey joined up with Cap to co-host Monster Mornings - a TI pre-show. IMC Trading and Team Liquid ran a tier 2 Valorant tournament featuring our very own former IGL, ec1s. Our WoW squad ran an interesting arena tournament where they had top PvP players break off and make their own teams - dodgeball style. And we got a brand new partner in the form of Thorne!



Once again, you can catch updates from this past month on the TL:DW, tweeted weekly for your viewing pleasure





DotA 2







It’s been a hell of a month and at the end of it, we’re the third best DotA team in the world.



Liquid’s run through The International 2022 was a miracle, full stop. All year long, Team Liquid has been demolished at tournament after tournament after tournament, losing in the group stage, or failing to get past the first round of the lower bracket. We did so poorly at majors that we failed to secure an invitation to TI. What was worse, Liquid’s carry, matumbaman, had announced that this would be his last year of professional DotA. With only one shot left to make it to the biggest tournament of the year, and send matu off with a bang, Team Liquid finally showed how good we could be.



Liquid put up a strong group stage in the Last Chance Qualifier, earning a spot in the upper bracket. After a close 2-1 win over Polaris, we fell 0-2 to Virtus.pro, one of the favorites to qualify. Backs against the wall, Liquid beat both Chinese squads, Xtreme Gaming and Vici Gaming, and got a chance to play a rematch against Virtus.pro for the very last spot at The International. Liquid got revenge against the Russians, beating them 2-0 and securing our place at TI.



This performance alone defied all expectations. And I cannot emphasize how important it was. The Last Chance Qualifier had 12 incredibly good teams, and the Liquid boys were massive underdogs. Just qualifying for TI guaranteed them a cut of the near-$19 million prize pool. Coming in third at the LCQ would have gotten us nothing, though.



But we hadn’t even begun to peak. Liquid crushed through the group stage of the international with a 13-5 record, one of only two teams to beat EG 2-0 during groups. Disaster struck in the first round of the upper bracket however, and Team Aster brought Liquid back down to earth, beating us 2-0 and sending us to the lower bracket.



Liquid rallied, though, beating Entity 2-1, and eliminating OG (and sadly Taiga) 2-0, securing the Cavalry a top 6 finish. The battle for top 4 against Peruvian squad Thunder Awaken could not have been closer. No I mean, literally, the last game couldn’t have possibly been closer. Joe Chilen wrote a whole frickin’ article about it. After clawing our way back from a massive deficit in game 3, Liquid broke into Thunder Awaken’s base, trying to finish the game. Thunder Awaken jumped on m1cke, and their combo brought him down to exactly 1 hp before matumbaman saved him, allowing Liquid to finish the game.








The nail-biting 2-1 win over Thunder Awaken earned Liquid another chance at revenge, this time against Team Aster. The series went the distance again, but with the help of matumba’s unorthodox Night Stalker core pick, Liquid was able to prevail and move on to the lower bracket final against Team Secret, who had also taken their spot at TI from the Last Chance Qualifier. But Liquid’s Cinderella story ended in the lower bracket final as we fell 1-2 to Secret. All told, Liquid’s bronze medal resulted in a $1,703,810 prize, an amazing end to matu’s storied career, and a hell of a lot of good DotA.



I want to take a moment to highlight the deeply rooted and robust support from the whole Team Liquid organization that kept the squad steady through the TI storm. Like some other tournaments in the past, Liquid printed new jerseys for the players with the names of Liquid fans printed on the back. As part of this process, the fans had the opportunity to send their messages of support to the team, and wish them good luck on this grinding journey.



Support came from everywhere in the organization too. From streamers like Jonas and BSJ to TL.net icons like Hot_Bid and Nazgul, everyone under the Team Liquid umbrella came out to support the DotA team. YEKI from Liquid`Counterstrike, the whole remaining LoL squad, the whole R6: Siege and BR VALORANT squads, Elazer from StarCraft, Oski from Rocket League, everyone. When Blitz said “We all believe in this lineup,” he meant all of us.





With matu stepping down from professional DotA, the team is going to look different next year. We’ll never get to see this squad play like this again. But something magical took place in Singapore in October 2022. Liquid`DotA did something no one thought they could do, and–in every sense of the phrase–we did it together.




VALORANT







Team Liquid’s Brazilian VALORANT team has qualified for the Game Changers World Championship!! Liquid’s squad has dominated the Brazilian Game Changers scene all year long, but the last qualifying event for the championship was a close affair. Liquid stayed in the upper bracket the whole tournament through, but dropped maps to the B4 Angels and ODDIK Bright in the upper bracket semifinals and finals, respectively. Then in the grand final rematch against B4 Angels, Liquid got crushed in the first two maps, putting them on match point. Game 3 went to overtime, but Liquid was able to clutch out their first win of the series. From there it was smooth sailing, and Liquid comfortably won the last two maps to secure a reverse sweep and their spot in the championship tournament in Berlin.



Since 2021, the Game Changers scene has been defined by dominance by one particular team in three regions. Liquid won every single event in Brazil; G2 Gozen in Europe finished in the top 3 of all five tournaments it attended, and won three of them; and Cloud9 White won all six Game Changers tournaments in North America. This will be the first time that the three attend the same tournament and have a chance to compete head-to-head. It will be exciting to see how Liquid stacks up against the equally-dominant competition





CS:GO








YEKINDAR IS OUT OF CONTRACT JAIL AND OFFICIALLY PART OF TEAM LIQUID!!!





Mareks Galinskis, the 23 year old Latvian has been an incredible addition to the team. YEKINDAR takes aggressive duels and wins them for no comprehensible reason. He’s helped the team fix issues that have been plaguing us since the 2020 online era. Since picking him up Liquid has risen back up to the 3rd best team in the world, and has started becoming a serious threat to win any tournament they compete in.



Speaking of which, when we last left off, Liquid was in the middle of playoffs for the ESL Pro League, a $300,000 tournament with the best teams in Europe competing. Liquid handily dispatched Mouz in the quarterfinals, and bested Cloud9 yet again in the semis after three back and forth games. Liquid arrived in the finals against ZywOo’s Vitality. The teams traded stomps on the first two maps, and busted out an absolute banger on Mirage that needed three overtimes before Liquid finally snatched the series lead. Liquid lost a nail-biter on Overpass, and then got shut down by Vitality’s defense on Vertigo.



The series was incredibly close, thanks almost solely to ZywOo’s unreal performance. NAF, YEKINDAR, and oSee all finished the series with more than 110 kills. ZywOo had 143, as well as a +50 K-D. At this point, it’d be fair to say that ZywOo won ESL, Liquid took second place, and the rest of Vitality was a distant third.



Still, there was more CS:GO action to follow in October, and the Cavalry is headed to Rio!





Team Liquid breezed through the first three rounds of the RMR, and took a close 2-0 series against EG to qualify for the Legend Stage of the Rio Major. Liquid’s win over EG in the RMR got us a spot in the second stage of the tournament, guaranteeing a top 16 finish, and only forcing us to go through one Swiss System stage. With the Challenger Stage finishing today, Liquid’s first match will be announced shortly, and their road to the major begins this Saturday, and runs through the 8th. If we get three wins, Liquid will qualify for the single-elimination bracket for another chance to directly qualify to IEM Katowice 2023 and BLAST Premier Final 2022 (and a $500,000 first place prize to boot).






Rainbow 6 Siege







The Cavalry rides to Sweden. Team Liquid’s Rainbow Six: Siege squad hit a late-season surge in the Brasileirão, winning four of their last five matches (including a crucial last match against FaZe) to just barely qualify for Copa Elite Six. There, the team secured their spot in the Jönköping Major in Sweden by beating out the Mexican squad ALPHA Team, as well as FaZe Clan once again. Liquid bounced between FaZe and w7m for the rest of the tournament, beating FaZe twice, and losing to w7m twice, and finishing the regional tournament in second place



Ultimately, the team still earned their place in the upcoming major, where they’ll fight for a share of the $500,000 prize pool, as well as the incredibly important SI points. The top 16 teams with the most points earn direct invites to R6’s world championship–the Six Invitational. After two majors, nine teams have locked their spot at the Six Invitational, so Liquid is battling for one of the seven remaining spots. There are 11 teams remaining who can still qualify, so Liquid needs to beat out four of them to earn a spot in Montreal next February. The Swedish Major will be our last chance to earn more points.




Age of Empires IV:







DeMusliM took an early exit in the first major AOE4 tournament, failing to advance from his group. He began with a solid 2-0 win over Capoch, but then got absolutely brutal draws for the rest of the tournament. In the winners round, he faced TheMista, who ultimately finished 2nd place in the tournament. Then in the decider’s match, he hit MarineLorD, who won the tournament. DeMusliM played both of them close too; he was the only person to take a game off both finalists, and one of only two people who took a game off either one. So while I’m personally a little salty that Liquid’s first (and so far only) AOE IV player got so shafted by a weird and kind of dumb tournament format, at least I can cope by saying that DeMusliM is technically third, if you tilt your head and squint.




StarCraft II







Clem has qualified for DreamHack Atlanta and won EU Masters! A strong group stage performance landed Clem in the upper bracket, but he unfortunately drew Serral, a possible GOAT Western player who has been a consistent thorn in Clem’s side at tournaments. Clem bounced back, however, beating MaxPax, HeRoMaRinE, and ShoWTimE to climb all the way to the lower bracket final, a rematch against Serral. Clem showed up big time, beating his Finnish nemesis 3-1, and making it to the grand final against Reynor. Clem started the series down a map since he came from the lower bracket, and things looked grim after Reynor took the first two games. But Clem pulled off a reverse-sweep, winning the next four games in a row to take the title and his spot at the Georgia World Congress Center late this month.





Over in the World Team League, Liquid has had a middling start. The Cavalry has been able to get close wins against Good Game Gaming and Team GP, but got absolutely clobbered by Alpha X and Dragon Phoenix Gaming (although in fairness, Alpha X is undefeated, and DPG has only lost once). Liquid also took a close loss against Shopify Rebellion, putting us at a record of 2-3, and sitting in 10th place. To make playoffs, Liquid will need to climb to 7th place, but with six matches left, there’s still plenty of StarCraft to go.



Smash







Riddles finally got his win! After all his hard work and dedication, Liquid`Riddles finished first at The Big House 10. It was no easy road, either. The Kazuya main had to chew through Dark Wizzy, Tweek, and Light twice before securing the first place finish.



The other big story in Smash this month is the Ludwig Smash Invitational. Hbox, Riddles, and Dabuz all headed to Vegas for the (relatively) massive Smash prizepool of $52,502. Hungrybox cruised through to the winners’ bracket final before falling to Zain, but he recovered well, beating Wizzrobe, SluG, and Leffen to secure his rematch against Zain in the grand finals. In beating Wizzrobe and Leffen, Hbox had bested two of his major demons in 2022. Unfortunately, the biggest demon was still waiting in grands. Zain would ultimately beat Hbox - but second place in what was called “the hardest Melee tournament ever” is still pretty good.





On the Ultimate end of things, the demons were even stronger. Dabuz did admirably - notably defeating Kurama and Cosmos and taking acola - second best player in the world currently - to game 5. However, Dabuz earned a brutal draw, having to fight MKLeo, then Kola, then Sparg0. Riddles fared just slightly better, getting drawn into acola (also taking him to game 5) and Sparg0. Riddles made a resurgence at Let’s Make Moves Miami later in the month, earning a 4th place finish and managing a nasty 3-0 on Tweek.



This month, Hbox will head to LA for Smash Summit 14, looking to improve on his 3rd place finish at Summit 13. If he can win the whole thing, he may even have a chance at the rank 1 spot for 2022. A few weeks later, he’ll head across the country to Secaucus, New Jersey with Dabuz for the Apex 2022 tournament. Meanwhile, Riddles is set to compete in Seattle in the Port Priority 7.





Rocket League:







Liquid has had a slow, but promising start to the RLCS circuit. We managed to make it to the quarterfinals of the first tournament, but fell to the eventual winners, Moist Esports 2-4. In the second regional event however, we failed to make it past the initial Swiss Stage, putting the Cavalry in a precarious situation for qualifying to the upcoming Rotterdam Major in December. Only the top 5 teams in Europe get invited to the major. Liquid is currently in a 3-way tie for 7th, and just 2 points behind the 5th place team. To get to Rotterdam, Liquid will need to outperform all four of those teams, and to make sure that the two teams that trail us by a single point don’t jump over us. Our last chance to earn points towards the major comes next weekend, where Liquid will once again brave the Swiss System to earn as many points as possible to make it to the major.




Apex Legends







I haven’t heard anything to the contrary, so I’m just going to assume we still have our Apex team. The Apex Legends Global Series starts back up again this weekend, and Liquid will begin the two-month grind of the ALGS. Each team in the league has been sorted into one of three groups of 10 teams. On any given day, two teams form a lobby and play six rounds, with teams earning points for placing high and getting kills. At the end of the nine competition days, the 20 teams with the most points make the Final, where they’ll battle it out for over $125,000 in prizes and nine spots in the international Split 1 Playoffs.




Teamfight Tactics





The whole TFT season boils down to this last tournament. 24 players, with five different ways of qualifying, will congregate this Friday to play six games of TFT each. On Saturday, the top 16 players will play another 6 games. Sunday, that number cuts down to 8. The final lobby will play 6 games; the top 2 finishers qualify to TFT Worlds, as does the player with the best average placement across the entire event. From there, the remaining top 2 players qualify to the Western Last Chance Qualifier. Kurumx and robinsongz have both worked all year to qualify for this tournament, and this weekend will show how much that work has paid off. If they can make it to the final lobby, they’ll have decent odds to qualify either to Worlds itself, or to the last chance qualifier next weekend. If either goes to the LCQ, they’ll compete in a lobby with two representatives each from EMEA, NA, BR, and LATAM. From those 8 players, two will get the last two spots in the Dragonlands Championship starting November 18.



Postscript:



The payment for this month’s Review is being donated to Fòs Feminista and Paws Your Game.




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























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