Liquid Review 2043
Anyways, I’ve put this Liquid Review together so that it won’t haunt me anymore. Do with it what you will!
Healthy Wednesday folx,
A week or so ago, my buddies and I decided to take a cross-country trip to the east coast for the weekend. As I sat on the train to Coinbase Bay, I reflected on how far the world has come since I started these little Team Liquid fan-posts 22 years ago. Our younger readers may not believe it, but back then, you couldn’t go from coast to coast in less than 30 minutes. Instead of Honda Mixro Trains, you had to fly from place to place, spending hours on hulking steel airplanes that crammed hundreds of passengers within like a 50-ton can of sardines.
And think of how much the esports world developed in the last two decades too! Back then, they called the Netscape, “virtual reality,” and it was just barely being developed. Instead of the near-universal Alienware ‘Scape Servers adopted to eliminate lag and ensure fair play, organizers relied on LAN (literally “Local Area Network”), forcing competitors to physically come to the tournament locations (without Mixro Trains) to compete. In 2021, Very few people scaped on a regular basis, and when they did, they wore these goofy blocky headsets, holding some kind of wand to capture arm movement.
And how can we forget the huge developments of Team Liquid? When these posts first started, Liquid had grown to a global organization with dozens of rosters from its origins as a humble internet forum (think of a Scapem where people submitted written messages instead of the Verizon Subvoxal Mindchat we use today). And now, Liquid has expanded its reach even further. On top of its (literal) ground-breaking work with SolarQuest to create new oceans, Liquid Enterprises became the only non-state organization in history to become a permanent voting member of the United Nations. The Cavalry cherishes its role as Supreme Associate of Videomemes and Esports, and hopes to serve all peoples of all nations by cooking up the dankest memes.
League 2 // Results:
- LCS ‘43 Spring Playoffs
- Chrome Champions 3-0
- SolarQuest 3-1
- Cloud10 3-2
League 2 // Ahead:
- MSI - May 4th
Last year, Team Liquid marked a historic landmark in League of Legends 2 history by qualifying for RIOT’s Mid-Season Invitational for 15 years running. This past month, we kept the streak alive, beating Cloud10 in the LCS spring-split finals, and scanning our SIMToken to the MSI 2043 ‘Scape Server this May.
Liquid’s dominance in LoL 2 is nothing new. Liquid is coming off its 3rd straight world championship win, led by our indomitable amalgamation support CorEliGebox. Ever since the brain fusion, The Cyber-Cavalry hasn’t missed an MSI. Well, except the one RIOT had to cancel in 2036 due to the whole 3d printer “malfunction” that “accidentally” brought all the CertainlyZ champions to life. Boy is it hard to outrun a champion that has 17 dashes! Turns out it was even harder in meatspace.
There’s definitely still some uproar about whether or not an amalgamation like CorEliGebox should be allowed to play. Is it really just one player, if it has the knowledge, reflexes, focus, and emotional intelligence of three? RIOT launched a 3-month investigation, and LCS Commissioner Mark “TheeMarkZ” Zimmerman made the most important Competitive Ruling in LoL history:
Liquid’s 2043 MSI run begins in early May. There’s good reason to believe that this time around, Liquid won’t have it so easy. Royal Never Ever Give Up dominated the LPL with their new amalgo star XiaoUziShy, while T1000 has swept the LCK ever since Faker returned to League 2 after hacking his own BrainSIM and declaring that this time he would, “become God for real.”
VALORANT Strike: Siege:
VALORANT Strike: Siege // Results:
- IEM Double Dallas
- Group Stage
- 2-0 vs FaZe Warband
- 2-1 vs G3 Esports
- 2-1 vs Ben's Anime Team
- 2-1 vs Fnatic
- 2-1 vs Cloud10
- 2-1 vs Astrostralis
VALORANT Strike: Siege // Ahead:
- Grand Finals vs Vitality Corp!
Speaking of 20 years ago, it is kind of crazy to think about what things looked like before the Great FPS Summit and the creation of the perfect Tac FPS. Could you imagine, arguing over Valorant and CS 2 when the answer was right there, the whole time?
Anyways, hopefully you got the FPS fan Heart Stabilizers from the Liquid++ store, because if you watched our IEM Double Dallas series against Astrostralis, you needed them! The best of 3 went the distance, with us losing on our map pick of Dust 3, winning on their pick of Ancient-Lotus-Clubhouse, and going into octuple overtime on Mirage.
After hitting the sixth overtime, Liquid fans were pretty worried that CorEliGEBox might overstimulate and memory-hemorrhage, given the three-brained amalgo would be competing in three events simultaneously once the Pound Infinite Smash bracket began. But as the Amalgo began to flag, veteran IGL TurboDaiki stepped up and began to frag like she had four BrainSIM’s (which she does)!
The win puts the Cyber-Cavalry in the Grand Finals, against a very tough Vitality Corp. The French superteam has really taken off after La République began a nationwide tac FPS draft six years ago. But if anyone can manage the win, it’s TurboDaiki and the squad.
Smash // Results:
- Pound Infinite - Smash Infinite
- Punished Dabuz - 1st! :TurkeyShuffle:
- Riddles - 4th, Smash Infinite
- Pound Infinite - Melee5
- CoreLigeBox - 1st! :wowge:
- ChuDat - 9th
Smash // Ahead:
- AtelierV2 in Sumabato#3000 - April 15th
- Riddles and Punished Dabuz in MindSIMHack New San Diego - April 22nd
- CoreLigeBox in High Tide City - April 29th
There’s rarely a dull month in Liquid Smash—and April was no different. Well, depending on your definition of dull.
At Pound Infinite: The Re-Return, Liquid’s smash squad set two records, with Punished Dabuz and Riddles simultaneously playing the longest and shortest 5-game Smash matches in history. Riddles’s Kazuya closed out a set against Almond’s Turbo Little Mac in just under 30 seconds (excluding loading, stage-striking, and menu time, which took just under 10 minutes). Meanwhile, Punished Dabuz narrowly triumphed over SpinMash, a fast-rising Chaos Emerald Sonic player, in a set where all 7 games went the full 9 minutes.
Punished Dabuz’s record-breaking set would presage a curse-breaking run for the omega-zoner. After emerging from a 3 year Meditation Pod journey in the Brain SIM Gardens, Punished Dabuz would win his first Turbo Major in a bit over a decade. With wins over King Dank, stockrobber530, WhyDoBadThingsStillHappenToGoodPeople, BigCromby, SpinMash, smallcromby, Light, and MkLeo, it was perhaps Punished Dabuz’s hardest bracket ever - and he overcame! The win also heralds, according to the chat scientists, a new golden age in copypasta literature.
Riddles did pretty well too, getting 4th place. Which is pretty impressive given he’s been playing a low tier like Kazuya. And everyone’s spirits seem up after the recent wave of bans that includes 4 of the 5 recent DLC characters, and also Steve (again).
Meanwhile, in Melee, CorEliGeBox only grows more indomitable. The famous God Gamer Amalgamation was RTC resting, bair spamming, and spacing with more efficiency than ever at Pound Infinite, where they swept through Clifton, Mew3King, StartGGAIStoleMyBrainSIM, TurboPlup, and SFAT to get to Grands. There, they would face PROJECT J-SHEIK. When Solarquest announced their plan to unify the consciousnesses of the J-sheiks (and Ben) via BrainSIM fusion, everyone was hoping the two amalgos would meet in Grands.
And the battle of the conjoined consciousnesses did not disappoint! The set went to Game 10, with CorEliGeBox clutching it out. The crowd had been pushed back 30 feet from the stage—per amalgamation pop-off safety measures, but CorEliGeBox’s powerful wail still destroyed the CRTs on stage. That sparked no small argument around whether or not the TOs properly amalgo-proofed the set up beforehand or whether CorEliGeBox was not respectful of the pre-established decibel limiters.
In the past few months, CoreLigeBox has looked tough to stop. They hold a winning record on every top player except Fox main Cody “RoboCody” Schwab, who has not lost a game to Jigglypuff since switching to the MindBoxx controller and mapping his jump to whenever he thinks about the need for an air-time limit.
Rocket League // Results:
- 4-2 vs. Cloud10
- 4-1 Barney’s Strongest Soldiers
- 4-3 The Kids Who Brought The Ball So You Have To Be Nice To Us Or We Could Just Leave At Any Time
- 4-0 Emperor Jerma Esports
Rocket League // Ahead:
- The Rocket League Afterschool Championships - April 10th
The pig goes oink, the cow goes moo, and the preschooler prodigy is going to the RLCS 2043 Afterschool Championship.
It’s no secret that Rocket League’s competitive scene keeps getting younger! The average fell to 8 years old just last year. But when Liquid signed 2-year-old prodigy Chadton “FastCarVroomVroom” Kronkle, even the diehard fans were curious how it would play out. Would the undeniable skill be worth the inevitable mid-game tantrum and having to build scrim schedules around nap time?
FastCarVroomVroom has since put those doubts to rest. The Cyber-Cavalry has been on a tear in the last few months, easily qualifying for The Rocket League Afterschool Championships. It seems that things can only get better for this team; Liquid’s in-house scientist has even developed a machine able to translate toddler babble into English, meaning that our players can actually communicate with team staff, instead of making vague noises at each other as they execute perfect double-flip resets and win every 50/50 they get.
Be sure to check out our interview with the new rocket league prodigies, where you can learn about their favorite colors, shapes, and how CocoMelon inspired them to compete.
It’s been a pretty quiet week in Dota 2 because… There is no more Dota 2!
Last month, the Grand Dota Council decreed that it was time to return to Dota 1 after Dota 2 had simply become too accessible. Liquid fans will remember that our very own BSJ led the debate to stay in Dota 2, but the debate was pretty much over once the MOBA scientists determined that, after Patch 7.33, Dota was objectively more accessible than League of Legends 2.
Right now, we’re all stuck in the Original Dota waiting chamber. But Valve says that it should release this Summer, with enough time to prepare for The Intergalactic 4.
There might not be any games happening—but there is something to celebrate. Matumbaman is back! After uncovering great relics from the sunken city of San Francisco, Matu had basically reached the peaks of New Climate Archaeology and retired, so that he could un-retire from Dota. After playing with Team Secret for a year, Matu’s back on Team Liquid for our Original Dota debut.
QuakeScape // Results:
- raphatron-6000 in Quake Pro League: Unleashed Season 5 - 3-0
- 4-0 vs. SIMHacked Raisy
- 4-0 vs. RE-Vengeurr
- 4-0 vs. K2llsen
QuakeScape // Ahead:
- Week 4 vs. AI-v3k
- Week 5 vs. cYpheR.exe
- Week 6 vs. Fa2l1ty
- Week 7 vs. 3D-Printed Thresh
Another season of QPL: Unleashed and another string of raphatron-6000 vics!
It’s been five years on the dot since rapha chose to go the robotic bio-mod route for QuakeScape VR: Unleashed and a lot of people had doubts. Sure, the cybertronic arms would feel more natural inside ‘Scape and the left-eye scanner would allow for close-to-instantaneous reactions. But this is QuakeScape Unleashed. It's anything goes when it comes to bio-mods! Naturally, most people thought rapha could have gone a better route–like the genetically engineered clone or hacked BrainSIM or hand-trained AI.
And now… well, let’s just say that Liquid’s favorite cyborg just trounced K2llsen, 3-0. Over the course of three games, Raphatron-6000 outpaced his clone counterpart in a stunning 329-4 victory, including an unreal 155-0 stomp on Blood Covenant in map 3.
The disembodied consciousness of D.J. Wheat said it best when he called Raphatron-6000 the, “unstoppable God-Emperor of the QuakeScape.” If raphatron-6000 keeps it up, the cyborg scaper will likely sweep the QuakeScape World Championship again, collecting a grand prize of 13 ScapeBucks and premium selects of tech-scrap from the Silicon Wastes. Imagine the upgrades raphatron could make with those!
But that’s getting ahead of things. Next weekend, Raphatron faces off against Team Endpoint’s new and improved Polish superstar AI-v3k, sporting an iteration of GPT-25 customized for Quake. The AI even generated a new model for AI-v3k to use in game, but unfortunately, it couldn’t seem to get the hands right.
We all knew the Race to World First for the Slogged Trenches of MechaPandaria would be tough, but nobody was expecting it to last this long. Just a week after releasing the second raid of the War of Attrition expansion, Blizzard’s lead game designer and literal steam-punk goblin Wendyll Wiggum announced the company’s Neo-Fantasy Department would be going on an indefinite sojourn into the SIM Garden Meditation Pods. Wiggum explained that after releasing Diablo: Immortal Season LXXXIX, they “needed to search the Mind Tomes to figure out what roman numeral came next.”
The move ultimately meant that the top WoWScape guilds would have a year to conquer the Slogged Trenches, as released, with no nerfs. At first, the challenge seemed exciting, especially with how back and forth the first 14 bosses were.
But after five months on the 15th and final boss, you can definitely feel the morale slipping. The four enrages were one thing, but the half-hour long VR quick-time event that requires perfectly syncopated breathing rhythms across all raiders for its entire duration seems a little much even for the professional Scape-raiders at Liquid Guild, BiggerDumberGuilderGuild, NewMethod, 101 Thieves | PoptartCorndog, and Echo-echooo-echooooo.
Liquid`Guild is one of the few guilds still pulling six months later. As of the time of this article, the raid finished the day with its 12,566th pull (Phase 8 62.3%). As Imfiredup logged off to go to bed, he could be seen leaping from tile to tile on the floor, muttering to himself, “Gotta dodge the circles. Gotta dodge the circles.” Meanwhile, cdew was spotted handwriting a jaundiced letter to his family, telling them to remember his legacy if he didn’t make it back.
It seems like an eon ago that cooking shows featured real people, who stood in real locations, and handled real ingredients. You know, before Cooking Mama VR took the world by storm—and before Kitchenetic, Epic Games’ metaversal kitchen sim-turned-global franchised league.
Team Liquid will officially be one of the fifteen teams participating in the inaugural season of the Kitchenetic Cooking Tour (KCT)! This worldwide league is going to be one of Epic’s biggest attempts at creating a successful esport, and though we don’t know much right now, the involvement of major orgs like Liquid and Cloud10 is encouraging.
Diehard Kitchenetic fans have already voiced their concerns about how a franchised league might impact some of the most beloved aspects of the existing scene, such as the five-judge format, the audience vote, the open bracket ecosystem, and broadcast segments like Name That Appliance. Epic has reassured fans that they’re working hard to preserve the heart of the scene while also growing it into something that even meatspace chefs can approach. Your grandma might even stumble upon it and wonder aloud how the judges can assess food that they can’t actually taste. Don’t bother trying to explain it to her; she won’t understand.
As for the players who’ll be representing Team Liquid, the team is currently in the process of conducting trials with prospective contestants. Liquid’s head coach, DoughKneader, is confident that whoever they choose will be someone that can make all the fans proud.
“We’ve got some great virtual chefs coming in,” DoughKneader said. “What’s really impressed me, with some of these pro players, is that they have such precise control over the micro aspects of the game, like managing their i-frames when dicing onions. It’s amazing to watch.”
TFT // Results:
- Kurumx Dreaming Things Into Existence:
- Pity-odds - added
- VALORANT Strike: Siege Agents - removed
- Unskippable cutscenes - removed! :TurkeyShuffle: :TurkeyShuffle:
- Preset Ladder Marathon - 3rd
- Quarterset Pre-Pseudo-Semiregional West - 7th
- Triset Miniround Pre-Midset Jamboree - 12th
- Alpha-Microset Invitational Last Chance Qualifier - 2nd
- Alpha-Microset Invitational - 3rd
- Pre-Mid-Quarterset Friendly - 3rd
- Quarterset Miniround Pre-Triset Open - top 16
Alex “Kurumx” Tompkins has played Teamfight Tactics professionally for nearly 25 years now. And like every TFT player who has ever touched the game, he hasn’t stopped bitching about it since day one.
But two months ago, Kurumx discovered that he had “effective dreams” – his dreams had the power to change reality. Since then, he has been scheduling sleep hypnosis therapy sessions with TFT Game Design Director Stephen “Mortdog” Mortimer. The two began these sessions with the stated purpose to “fix this bullshit RNG game,” and the results speak for themselves.
Thanks to Kurum and Global Head of RIOT Esports Stephen “Mortdog” Haber, TFT now has a built-in pity-odds adjuster, so now players will be more likely to hit the units they’re rolling for. The pair used effective dreams to remove VALORANT agents from the TFT pool. And in the most meaningful change, Kurumx successfully dreamed those unspeakably cringe unskippable cutscenes out of existence.
But the sessions have also produced an unfortunate victim as well. Under the ministrations of Kurum’s dreams and Supreme Ruler of the Universe William “Mortdog” Haber’s psychotherapy, the competitive format has become a tangled mess, frankly too complicated to explain here.
Instead, we’ll just focus on Team Liquid’s path to Worlds.
Kurumx has already qualified, thanks to his work with Supreme Ruler Mortdog, may He live forever.
In a huge win for the golden age of TFT, robinsongz has also qualified for Worlds. At the spry age of 112, robin bested his greatest foe–arthritis–to grind his way through the Alpha-Microset Invitational to earn a SIMToken to Worlds. Originally, his 12th place finish at the Triset Miniround Pre-Midset Jamboree only earned him 15 Midset points, which normally would have left robin in the lurch. But thanks to his impressive 3rd place Preset Ladder Marathon finish, those 15 Midset points got a 1.5x multiplier when converted to Microset-bucks. And remember that last month, robin earned an extra 10 Microset-bucks he got from the Quarterset Pre-Pseudo-Semiregional West. Since robin also competed in both the Doubleset Dash and the Full Moon Intraset Open, he also earned one Microset-buck for every 1st place he got on the ladder on Tuesdays. All together, robin made 43.5 Microset-bucks, putting him just over the edge to make the Alpha-Microset Invitational Last Chance Qualifier.
At the AMILCQ, robin showed that, much like Bryce James, he’s got a well-developed old-man game. Though his creaky fingers and cataract-ridden eyes failed robin during the Hyper Roll portion of the tournament, robin quickly made up ground in the traditional games. He had to play slower than his competition, but robin was still able to make it through the AMILCQ by outthinking them. Over the course of the last four games, robin landed first twice and second twice, getting the coveted spot at the Alpha-Microset Invitational, where 8 players entered, and 4 (including robin!) left with tokens to Worlds.
Things are looking tougher for Liquid`Duckling. The prodigy TFTer started the season hot with a top-4 finish at the third Pre-Mid-Quarterset Friendly, and a top-16 at the Quarterset Miniround Pre-Triset Open. But around the second Triset, Duckling’s momentum flagged. She put up disappointing results at the Peridoubleset Quasi-Invitational Open, but she still has a few chances left to qualify. Duckling’s biggest opportunity comes in the form of the Second Spring Season Midset Thirdset Invitational Qualifier Set, starting next week. If she manages to make the top 2, she’ll qualify directly to Worlds. But even if she only makes the top 15, Duckling will still have a chance to qualify with ladder points. Her odds get even better if she rolls a Nat 20 at the TFT Nonset Gambling Tournament, which would give her a Doubleplusgood Extrabonus Multiplier.
StarCraft // Results:
- IEM Langley Inaugural StarCraft III Tournament
- Grack - 1st
- Clem - 3rd
StarCraft // Ahead:
- StarCraft III World Team League
Well, we won. But at what cost?
In just two years that he’s been with Liquid, Andrew “Grack” Fields, the prodigy son of Greg “IdrA” Fields, has racked up 140 ESL Open Cup wins, two semifinal SIMHack Masters finishes, and gold at HomeStory Cup LXIX.
As decorated as Grack was in his short time with SCII, he became absolutely unbeatable in the beta for StarCraft III. So it was no surprise that he was invited to the first ever major StarCraft III tournament at IEM Langley. Grack rocketed through the bracket, picking up every single map he played until the upper finals, where he faced his teammate Clem, who will turn 41 next week.
The teammates traded blows for a full five games before Grack was able to complete the teamkill, sending Clem to the lower bracket. There, Clem faced a foe that pretty much no one had heard of before—KrexxPrime—playing a race that no one had seen before! A secret fourth faction called the Krexxlons, with a very defensive, very powerful, and strangely visceral playstyle. The French Terran fought hard, but got overwhelmed by KrexxPrime’s stalwart defense and counter-attack, and conceded the series 1-3.
Grack avenged his teammate in the grand finals with a swift 3-0. In the final game, Grack made mincemeat of KrexxPrime’s base with a series of well-timed nukes, ruining his opponent’s economy, and allowing him to march to victory.
The tournament concluded with cheers and confetti, but the joy didn’t last. Grack received the trophy from the tournament organizer, Hyrum Graff, and learned the horrible truth. The games were real. The Terran troops he commanded, the Protoss army he battled, the nuclear destruction–none of it was a game. KrexxPrime wasn’t a player, it was a description, and Grack… killed them all. With confetti still falling from the ceiling,
Ender, shit, I mean Andrew Fields contemplated his victory, and his crime. With his win, Grack takes home a first-place trophy, 25 ScapeBucks, and a xenocidal shame that will follow him—and humanity—for thousands of years.
In the understandably low-energy post-match interview, Grack said, “I should have known. I should have known that StarCraft III was too good to be true.”
Next month, Grack will need to put that world-shattering revelation aside as he leads Team Liquid off in the first ever StarCraft III World Team League. Starting next weekend, Grack will be joined by his teammates Clem,TL0-B0T, Khamûl, and Lazer to compete in the expanded 20-team teamleague hosted on the Chinese Netscape. The devs over at Blizzard International Space Defense insist that this time the game is really just a fun new VRTS title, and the coming World Team League will definitely not reshape geopolitics as we know it.
Yeah. We got Dave.
Yes, you read that right. When Dave “Dave” Johnson announced that he was becoming a free agent, the world of competitive Google Sheets started buzzing with anticipation. And yes, the wait is over—Dave will officially be joining Team Liquid for the 2043 Google Sheets season.
For those of you that aren’t yet acquainted with the high-stakes world of spreadsheet warfare, this is a pretty big deal. Few had heard of Dave this time last year, but through a series of qualifiers he made it to Google Sheets Worlds as the 64th seed. Typically you don’t expect players ranked that low to even make it to the later stages of the competition. Dave, however, blew everyone away by not only making it to the double-elimination playoff stage, but even going on a tear through the lower bracket against the competitors from Deloitte and PWC.
Dave displayed amazing potential throughout the tournament. His APM (actions per minute) and APM (audits per minute) were among the highest of all the competitors, and his hip fire accuracy—what we call a spreadsheeter’s ability to move columns across the spreadsheet—was second to none. He was eventually stopped in the lower bracket finals by former world champion Andrew Ngai, but it was still a totally incredible run that took Dave from being just some guy representing a local accounting firm to being Dave, one of Google Sheets’ rising stars.
“I’m excited to join Team Liquid,” Dave said. “It’s going to be fun to play for an organization that doesn’t make me put together a cost-benefit analysis every time I want to enter a tournament.”
Dave’s first tournament will be a big one: the Google Sheets Summer Invitational in Katowice. Let’s hope Liquid helps him hone his potential so he can go for the gold this time!
Writer // Tortious Tortoise, Austin "Plyff" Ryan, Bonnie Qu
Graphics // Zack Kiesewetter