The Liquid Review - February 2023

February 02 2023

The Liquid Review

Happy Thursday folks,

January has always felt like a month of purpose to me. We make promises to ourselves in the new year: I’m finally gonna hit plat this year; I’m really gonna start that couch-to-5k program; oh God, I’m never drinking that much again. For the promises we actually intend to keep, it starts with small, manageable bricks that we use to build a strong foundation as we reach for our goals. And if we are persistent, and continue to work slowly and steadily on our foundation, we’ll eventually look back and marvel at the wonder we’ve built.

Team Liquid’s January was a month of promises like that. League and CS:GO both had slow starts, but that’s still a sign of room to grow rather than premature stagnation. Meanwhile, the core of the DotA roster has seamlessly integrated our new mid laner, Nisha, and continued to build on all our progress from 2022.

It’s been a pretty busy month for Team Liquid out of the server, too. Liquid’s one and only professional Age of Empires player, DeMusliM, is now officially engaged! Liquid’s LoL manager, Ben Zieper, released a short film about watching Bjergsen’s cat (which I’m pretty sure will be nominated for an Oscar).

Lastly, Liquid’s StarCraft core made space for one more as SKillous joined The Cavalry. At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Nazgul offered SKillous a place to stay in the Netherlands because SKillous was unable to return to Russia due to vocally speaking out against the invasion of Ukraine.

On to the Review. As always, you can check out video recaps of all things Team Liquid on TL;DW:


Even though we were just coming off a second place finish in the BLAST World Championship, Liquid walked into the Spring Groups last month with tempered expectations. In an interview before the tournament, YEKINDAR cautioned that the team only had a week to practice, and they wanted to try new things.

But even with the lowered expectations, Spring Groups did not go well. OG obliterated us on Ancient, and although we kept things close on Nuke, we couldn’t push through them in overtime, and lost the series 0-2. We maintained our spot as the best team in North America with a convincing 2-0 win against Complexity, but fell short again when competing against OG, and subsequently got obliterated out of the server by BIG in the Play-In Stage. Liquid’s poor performance in Spring Groups means that we’ll need to play in the Spring American Showdown in April for the final spot in the Spring Final.

But before we get there, there’s more Counter-Strike to play. Liquid is preparing for IEM Katowice, which starts today. We’ll need to march through the double-elimination group stage to earn one of the six spots in the single-elimination playoff bracket, fighting for a spot at IEM Cologne in July, as well as a share of the $1 million prize pool.

Rocket League:

Back on the horse after a middle-of-the-road finish in Copenhagen, the Liquid Rocket League triumvirate saddled up last month for the first of three Winter qualifiers. This season, instead of the dreaded Swiss system, Liquid began the tournament in a four-team group. After a round robin, Liquid emerged first in the group with a 2-1 record and a better game differential to break the tie. This automatically slotted Liquid into the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Unfortunately, the German Amigos had our number, and beat us 4-1 with every game decided by a single goal.

Does this look like the face of mercy?

Team Liquid will finish up the remaining two qualifiers this coming month, looking to improve on our performance and win enough qualification points to end in the top 5 teams in the region. A top 5 finish will earn the Cavalry a berth to the Winter Major in San Diego this April. Both of the remaining qualifiers will use the same group stage and single elimination playoff format as the Winter Open.


Liquid’s European VALORANT roster is headed to Brazil. Since we didn’t have our full roster at Homeground, the VCT Lock//In tournament will be the first opportunity we have to see all five members of Liquid together.

And what an opportunity it will be. All 30 VCT franchises from across the world will meet at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera to duke it out in one massive single-elimination tournament for pre-season bragging rights and a share of a $500,000 prize pool.

An ESL CS:GO tournament at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera in 2016.

Meanwhile, Liquid’s Brazilian VALORANT roster has begun to assert Liquid’s spot at the top in Brazil once again. daiki and bstrdd are now joined by bizerra, Joojina, and isaa to form the new roster, and with one Game Changers qualifier under our belt, we’re already back to our winning ways. Liquid dropped the first map in our first round against ferinhas dos teciados, but after that, the Cavalry went undefeated, including a dominating 3-0 win over ODDIK Bright. The victory secured Liquid about $2,000 in prize money and 400 qualification points that will presumably go towards this year’s international Game Changers LAN. Liquid’s next qualifier begins this weekend, and once again we are expected to dominate.

Rainbow 6 Siege:

Twelve days, 20 teams, one world champion. Liquid`Siege is going to Montreal this month for the Six Siege Invitational, the biggest Siege tournament of the year. The Squad will compete in Place Bell in Quebec for the title of Rainbow Six world champion and what will almost certainly be a multi-million dollar prize pool. Last year, Liquid had a strong group stage, but was only able to make it to the top 6 before being knocked out by mibr.

Team Liquid’s first hurdle of the tournament will be the group stage round robin against four other teams. If Liquid top the group, we’ll qualify directly for the upper bracket quarterfinals of the double-elimination playoff. A second or third place group finish nets us a slot in the first round of the upper bracket. Fourth place drops us to the first round of the lower bracket, and fifth place teams are eliminated. Liquid’s group consists of APAC qualifier Dire Wolves, European teams MNM Gaming and Wolves Esports, and the hometown heroes, North American Soniqs.

League of Legends:

Team Liquid began the 2023 LCS campaign on a sour note, losing to both the highly-rated FlyQuest and, much more concerningly, to TSM. But just remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s still early days, and Liquid has sixteen more games over the next seven weeks to bounce back from our disappointing start. That attempted bounceback begins today against Immortals and tomorrow against Golden Guardians, both of whom are also winless in their first week back. Plus, at least the team is bringing the heat off the rift. This squad can banter - and can handle the blowback too!

The battle of the bottom.

In the Salt Leagues, Liquid`Challengers and Liquid`First both made their debuts last month. In the four best-of-two series so far, our Challengers sit in 4th place right now with two wins and two draws, while First has had a much slower start with two draws and two losses. Just like Academy last year, however, the Challenger League has an obscene number of games, and both of Liquid’s teams have 22 games left to play in the next five weeks, including two games against one another this coming Sunday. I wonder if we’ll get double points for that…

Dota 2:


Team Liquid absolutely dominated the Western Europe DPC, finishing the league with a perfect 7-0 series record and only losing two total games. The win netted Liquid $30,000, 300 DPC points, and a trip to the Lima Major.

The most exciting thing about the team is that we don’t need to rely on Nisha to win. Nisha has played marvelously of course, putting on clinics and pulling off some crazy Aegis steals. But Micke has transitioned very well to the safe lane, and every member of Liquid has put the rest of the team on their back at some point. From Zai hitting crucial teamfight combinations to Boxi and iNSaNiA literally winning a 2 vs 4 fight as supports, Liquid is firing on all cylinders.

Now it’s time to take this momentum into the Major and bring back a win. The first step in doing so is the Group Stage. Liquid will join a group with 8 other teams looking for a top four finish after a round robin. Placing in the top four will earn us a spot in the upper bracket, while a 5th or 6th place finish will land us in the lower bracket. After groups comes the double-elimination bracket playoffs. Waiting at the end of the road is a portion of the $500,000 prize pool, and even more DPC points that will help us qualify for TI.

StarCraft II:

This month, Clem and Elazer will both head to Poland for IEM Katowice, AKA the Masters Championship, AKA the biggest StarCraft tournament of the year. Elazer’s journey begins first, and he will need to battle through 35 opponents in a double-elimination bracket for one of four remaining spots. His first test is against the British protoss TeebuL, and if he manages to win, he’ll face the winner of the matchup between soO and Ryung, two Code S Koreans.

If Elazer is able to make it through the round of 36, he’ll join Clem, who has already qualified for the group stage. The 24 remaining competitors are split into four groups, and after a round robin, 1st place seeds directly into the quarterfinals of the single-elimination bracket, while second and third place are sent to the round of 12. There, Clem and Elazer will play for a share of the $500,000 prize pool.


Liquid`Smash had an interesting and semi-successful January. Riddles took top 8 at Let’s Make Big Moves in New York City, falling victim to Tweek and Sonix, and Atelier put up a strong lower bracket run at Umebura in Tokyo, going on a 9-0 win streak with Wolf until he was finally stopped in a close 2-3 loss to Samus player Toura. Riddles and Dabuz both put in their best efforts at Genesis, but Dabuz went out at 13th, losing to a nemesis in form of Tea and narrowly falling to Marss. Riddles’s run ended at 33rd in two big upset losses. Naturally frustrated, Riddles threw his controller and became the topic of the day. In the end, though, most of the scene sympathized with him and defended the action as a one-off reaction to bad losses.

Finally, Hbox continued his streak of top 6 finishes at Genesis, beating his old nemesis Leffen but losing to Moky and Plup–his doubles teammate. Playing together, though, he and Plup looked unbeatable. The duo added a doubles gold medal to their collection, trouncing dream teams like Jmook and iBDW, as well as aMSa and Mang0 without losing a single game.

February puts Liquid back on the road for Smash. Riddles heads to Lombard, Illinois for the Frosty Faustings tournament, while Atelier goes back to Tokyo again for Kagaribi#9. Finally, Hbox will be in Vegas later in the month for LVL UP EXPO 2023.

World of Warcraft:

Cdew and crew began Liquid’s campaign in the Arena World Championship with the first of four open cups last month. After a well-fought 3-1 victory over toaster town in the first round, Liquid faced off against Golden Guardians, a team that was able to qualify for the AWC circuit last year, but failed to make the NA Finals.

Liquid’s first game against GG couldn’t have gotten much closer. About three minutes in, the Guardians were able to focus down Mes’s DK while Cdew’s Evoker was stunlocked and unable to heal. But just as Mes fell, Trill dropped a huge burst of damage, immediately crosskilling GG’s healer, Absterge, and finishing off Wizk shortly thereafter. Once we gained a 2-1 advantage, the writing was on the wall and GG gg’d. Liquid went on to win the rest of the series 3-2, securing a top 6 finish, and sending the Golden Guardians to the lower bracket.

Liquid samiyam on Twitter: "ggs 3-2 @GoldenGuardians ofc they are insane as always TOP 6!" / Twitter

Team Liquid then earned a spot in the grand final after a 3-1 win over Where’s Gordy? and a 3-2 win over Luminosity. But Luminosity battled back from the lower bracket, and bested Liquid in the grand finals 4-1.

The second open didn’t go nearly as well. The Cavalry lagged a bit behind the assassination rogue meta, and got punished for it. Both Where’s Gordy? and Golden Guardians got revenge on Liquid in the second of the four open tournaments, and we fell in the top 12.

Still, halfway through the open tournaments, Liquid scooped up 112 qualification points towards the AWC Grand Finals, putting us in 4th place overall. With two tournaments left to earn qualification points, we’ll need to finish in the top 3 to automatically make Grand Finals. If we finish 4th-8th, we’ll need to make it through a gauntlet to earn the last qualification to finals.

Teamfight Tactics:

Robin was just two points away from winning the Defender Cup. Unfortunately, in game 6, he failed to switch a key item from Zoe to Ekko, and he took 4th place. Still, Robin earned his spot in the Mid-Set Finale, and won $1,750 to boot.

Next up in competitive TFT esports, Kurumx prepares for the Corrupted Cup in the third week of February. Just like the Defender Cup, the top 4 finishers secure their spot in the Mid Set Finale.

This month’s article is being donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.


This month’s article is being donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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

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