The Liquid Review - June 2023

June 08 2023

The Liquid Review

Happy Thursday folks,

What an unbelievable month. Team Liquid has so much to brag about, I don’t even know where to start. The WoW Guild picked up its first Race to World First win since joining the Liquid banner. Liquid’s European VALORANT squad also won the VCT, hoisting Team Liquid EU’s first VALORANT trophy ever, and qualifying for Masters: Tokyo. The DotA and R6 Siege teams each took silver medals in their respective Majors, and the DotA and Rocket League teams qualified for their world championships! Add in rapha’s continued dominance in the QPL and you’ve got Team Liquid’s best month of the year.

Sadly though, June also spells the end of an era for Team Liquid CS:GO. Nick “Nitr0” Canella announced he was stepping down from the team after 8 years with Liquid as Captain America. Team Liquid’s in-game leader played a pivotal role in all the Cavalry’s successes, and shared in all our bitterest defeats. In 2019, he helped Liquid win four back-to-back premier tournaments, earning the team the fastest Grand Slam there ever was, and ever will be. As he departs the team to spend more time with his family, Nitr0 will forever be remembered as a legend at Team Liquid, and in all of Counter-Strike.

O Captain! My captain! our fearful trip is done / The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won.



Team Liquid have come a long way since LOCK//IN. Sent packing from Sao Paulo after a humiliating defeat, Liquid entered the regional VCT season as massive underdogs. And then two months later:

Eat your heart out, Ender.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Team Liquid finished the regular season in 3rd place, losing a narrow series to Na’Vi after Sayf was unable to compete due to illness. In the first round of playoffs, Liquid began the series against Vitality by getting completely owned on Lotus, a map we looked completely lost on all year. The next two games were absolute slugfests, with both teams trading blows back and forth the whole way through. But Liquid snatched 13-11 wins on both Bind and Ascent, leading Liquid to a rematch against Na’Vi. This time with a healthy Sayf in the server, Liquid was able to eke out a close 2-0 victory, securing Liquid a spot at Masters: Tokyo.

In the upper bracket final against Fnatic, Liquid looked much better on Lotus, and we were able to push the LOCK//IN champions to overtime. But it wasn’t enough; Fnatic won out in overtime, and on Bind, Liquid got completely rolled over by Fnatic’s attack.

The loss sent Liquid to the lower bracket final against Turkish squad FUT. Liquid was able to take the series 3-0, winning an epic quadruple overtime victory on Lotus, and completely crushing them on Ascent and Split. The win earned Liquid a bye straight into the playoffs of Tokyo, and a rematch against the Goliath of EMEA.

Does this look like the face of mercy?

The odds were stacked against Liquid in the Grand Final. Coming from the upper bracket, Fnatic had a 2-map ban advantage, taking away Split, one of Liquid’s best maps. Fnatic drew first blood on Lotus, though Liquid were able to keep it close once again. On Ascent, Fnatic took an early 4-1 lead, but Liquid turned on the gas, winning 11 of the next 12 rounds to take a 12-5 lead, and map point. Somehow, though, Fnatic was able to claw their way back from the deficit, winning 7 rounds in a row and forcing overtime. The Cavalry kept its cool however, and won both rounds of overtime to secure the map.

Then came Haven. Liquid had looked frankly terrible on Haven, losing it 6-13 both times we played it in the regular season. In the finals, however, the roles reversed. Liquid pounded Fnatic on Haven, featuring nAts bringing out the Killjoy for the first time all year and Soulcas’ triumphant return to Skye. Finally, on Fracture, Liquid took a commanding lead that capped off with an 8-4 half. Fnatic put up a stalwart defense in the second half, but Team Liquid was able to close the game out in regulation, taking the map, the series, and the championship.

Now, Team Liquid are getting ready for their international redemption. The team has landed in Tokyo, and the tournament starts this Sunday. Liquid won’t play until the week of June 16th however, since the Cavalry’s regional win earned us a spot directly in the playoffs. Our opponent is yet to be decided, but whoever it is, Liquid will be ready.

World of Warcraft


Team Liquid won the second Race to World First in the Dragonflight expansion, slaying Scalecommander Sarkareth. This time over, the race was brief, but intense. Lasting less than a week, Liquid and long-time frenemies Echo both finished the race in less than a week, before the reset. It took Liquid only 114 pulls to finish off Sarkareth too. (For reference, it took Liquid 364 pulls to bring down Raszageth, the final boss of the last raid). 

That said, the margins were razor thin. Liquid made the call to wake up hours earlier than usual on the final day to get more pulls in. Even then, it was a photo finish. Just 20 minutes before Liquid finally felled Sarkareth, Echo had the boss down to 5%. When the race is that close, both guilds know that the next good pull on either side could mean the end. That kind of uncertainty builds massive amounts of tension, which explains the explosion of relief you can see when Liquid finally got that “next good pull.”

Yeah, I know I already linked it, but the video is just so good.

On top of the incredible race, this month, Team Liquid was also featured by World of Warcraft for its Liquid Women in Warcraft initiative.

Liquid Women in Warcraft is an initiative aimed at narrowing the gender gap in the high end raiding scene. It provides one-on-one mentorship for women and gender minorities who want to raid at the highest level, and has a certification system for guilds that uphold the values of gender-inclusivity and opportunity for women. Pretty cool!

Dota 2:

Team Liquid are bound for The International!!

Banished from the upper bracket in the first round by OG, Liquid put on a monumental lower bracket run. After crushing every other opponent 2-0, we found ourselves in the lower bracket final against RAMZES’s new team, 9Pandas. The teams split the first two maps, leaving the fate of their tournaments up to one more game of DotA. With everything on the line, Liquid snap-picked Io and Witch Doctor–an incredibly cheesy lane with an absurd amount of healing. The Squad completely rolled over 9Pandas in a 21 minute stomp, punching their ticket to the grand finals.

At some point during this run, Team Liquid officially locked in enough DPC Qualifier Points to guarantee the Cavalry a spot at The International, the biggest esports tournament in the world. The International 2023 is headed back to Seattle this October, and Team Liquid will be there.

But back to the Berlin Major. Team Liquid faced Gaimin Gladiators in the finals once again. And once again, GG humbled us. Liquid fell 3-1, earning another silver medal, and $100,000 in consolation.

But DotA doesn’t stop for anyone. Last month Liquid finished up the third and final Pro Circuit, finishing 4-3 and winning a spot at the Bali Major at the end of this month. Bali will be the last Major of the year before The International, and a $500,000 prize pool and a truckload of qualifier points are on the line.


What a swan song for Nitr0.

At the last ever CS:GO Major (and Nitr0’s last Major period), Team Liquid were confident going in. The Squad had finally had a successful bootcamp, and Nitr0 infamously said before the tournament, “I don't see a world where [we start slow] with how we're playing right now.”

Then we lost our first two matches in the Challengers stage to Apeks and Forze.

After that, we lost the first game of our elimination match to Fluxo. But when things looked their bleakest, we turned it around. It wasn’t the prettiest and it wasn’t the cleanest, but Team Liquid came together to grind out two hard-fought wins against Fluxo, buying another life in the tournament. Then the Squad took off like a rocket.

Slingshot: engaged.

Through the rest of Challengers, Liquid crushed the competition, beating both Complexity and Grayhound Gaming 2-0. Liquid comfortably won the first two matches of the Legends stage, including an upset win over Na’Vi. The Cavalry were just one best-of-three away from making Playoffs at a major, something the team hadn’t achieved since before the pandemic. Liquid came close against Heroic, but fell short against the Danish team. But we rallied in the 2-1 match against Into The Breach, the rising stars of UK Counter-Strike. After a tense overtime win on Overpass, Team Liquid took care of business on Anubis, locking in a playoff spot that was long overdue.

Unfortunately, that’s where Team Liquid’s momentum petered out. Liquid got thoroughly handled once again by Apeks in the quarterfinals, bowing out of the tournament in the top 8. Then the team had little to say at IEM Dallas, dropping games to Astralis and Faze to exit the tournament in the group stage.

As we head into the player break, Liquid hasn’t announced who will take up the Captain’s shield. Liquid doesn’t have a tournament scheduled until Fall Groups next month, so there’s still plenty of time. But I’m sure I’m not alone holding my breath for what the future of Team Liquid Counter-Strike holds.

Rainbow 6: Siege:

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

This whole year, Liquid`Siege has been plagued by silver medals. Second in the new Brazil League, second at the Major – hell, we even got second at the charity showmatch for Gamers Without Borders. And don’t get me wrong, when you’re playing in a premier international tournament with 23 of the best other teams in the world, second place is an incredibly impressive achievement.

But it’s not first place. And the Cavalry has been hunting for that first place trophy for years now. It wasn’t to be at the Copenhagen Major, though. When we last left off, Liquid had qualified to the single-bracket Finals stage of the tournament, finishing 3-2 in the Swiss system Playoffs stage. Liquid’s path to the grand finals was a veritable revenge tour. We got back at G2 for beating us during the Playoffs stage, and completely crushed FaZe in the semifinals after they walloped us in the Brazilian regional final back in April. 

In the grand finals, however, w7m proved too much for us. Liquid kept things close on the first two maps, but got blown out of the server on Chalet. The loss left Liquid once again one series short of a Major gold medal, and even hungrier going into the second half of the season, starting this August.

League of Legends

There were no games, but there’s a lot to talk about this month, huh? 

I guess I’ll start with the easy part – Liquid announced there would be no roster changes going into summer split, but we’ve said goodbye to Marin as head coach, promoting Reignover to head coach.

Then, there’s Challengers.

Independent journalist Travis Gafford does a nice job summarizing the situation, but here’s the gist:

At the request of all 10 teams, Riot removed the requirement for teams to field a Challenger roster. Steve announced fairly quickly that Team Liquid would field a Challenger team for the summer split. Unfortunately, Liquid was one of only three teams to make such a commitment. The LCS Players Association criticized the decision and called for its reversal. Riot didn’t budge, and the Players Association held a vote to walk out, making five requests of Riot to resolve the dispute. This past Sunday, the walkout vote “overwhelmingly passed.”  After reportedly allowing teams to hire strikebreakers, Riot eventually announced a two-week delay to the LCS, presumably to negotiate with the Players Association.

Ever the optimist, I choose to believe that there will be an LCS to return to this split, and that Riot management and the Players Association will be able to work out a solution before the first game begins next Thursday. If there is a solution, we’ve got a massive block of games this month, and an exciting start to a new split.

One last note, Team Liquid Challenger’s top-laner, Bradleyyy recently announced that his mom was diagnosed with a rare and serious form of cancer. He’s offering coaching lessons to help raise money – if you’re interested, DM him on Twitter.  You can also donate directly here.

Rocket League:

For the first time ever in the 7-year history of the game, Team Liquid is going to the Rocket League World Championship!

This exciting news is brought to you by math! Qualification for the world championship is pretty complex. There are 24 teams total – 8 go straight to the group stage, and the remaining 16 qualify through Wildcard Spots. The RLCS uses regional performance at international tournaments to decide which regions get the 8 group stage slots. Essentially, the better a region performs at majors, the more group stage spots that region will get at the world championship. With Moist taking 2nd in the first major, and Karmine winning the second, Europe is already guaranteed to have one group spot. For the WIldcard Spots, every region gets a set number – Europe has three. That means that at the very least, Europe will send 4 teams to the world championship, and Team Liquid’s consistently high finishes mean that we cannot place lower than 4th in the region. Ergo, one way or another, this coming August WE’RE GOING TO DÜSSELDORF!

But back to this month. Liquid completed two of the three Spring regional tournaments, scoring second in one and a top 8 finish in the other. There is one tournament left beginning this weekend to earn more points towards qualifying for the Boston Major in July. Currently, there are four spots left, and fourteen teams that are still in the running. Right now, Liquid has an 11-point lead over the first-team out. So if my math is correct, a 4th place finish at the Spring Invitational would guarantee a spot at the major.


The Liquid`Smash team finished up their stint in Japan last month with a respectable finish for Riddles and Dabuz at Kagaribi in Tokyo. Both Dabuz and Riddles had to fight all the way through the lower bracket before they eventually met each other in the top 8. Dabuz triumphed over his teammate in a reverse sweep with every single game going to the final stock. He was then able to push past Bowser-main Hero before falling to Spargo in the lower final. For Dabuz, it’s been the best showing he’s had in a while, and it might be the best losers run any NA player has had in Japan.

Back home a couple weeks later, Hungrybox Dabuz, and Riddles fared less well at the Battle of BC. In the Melee world, Hbox made the top 8, but got eliminated by Leffen after a back-and-forth series. Over in Ultimate, Riddles and Dabuz both fell to the lower bracket earlier on, with Dabuz losing a last stock, last hit set against Acola — one of the best players in the world. In the lower bracket, Riddles drew Tweek in the first round and couldn’t overcome him, while Dabuz took a tough loss to Yoshidora in the second round.

But neither Dabuz nor Hbox would be deterred and would pick up wins at smaller tournaments later on. Just a week later, Dabuz mounted a perfect run through Combo Breaker 2023, winning the tournament without losing a single game. His string of 3-0s included victories against ravenking, ESAM, and Kobe. And a week after that, Hungrybox won a smaller event in DreamHack Dallas Melee (and breached the top 32 in Ultimate). Juan’s run included a 3-0 against Bungo, and two wins over bobby big ballz.

This coming month, Hungrybox and Riddles will head to La Miranda, California for Wavedash 2023. Hbox will be defending his title at the tournament after winning it last year, while Riddles will make his debut at the tournament.

Age of Empires IV:

Liquid’s resident AoE IV player has had a solid showing so far in the 16 player round-robin group stage of The Elite Classic. Since the tournament began in late May, DeMu has gone 8-4, putting him in 8th place–the very cutoff for playoff qualification. DeMu stands one game ahead of RecoN, the only player who can catch him at this point. So to qualify for playoffs, DeMu will need to win one more game than RecoN over the last three matches. This is a tall order, as all of his last three opponents are in the top half of the table, including MarineLorD, who is first overall with an impressive 11-1. If DeMu retains his spot (or moves up in the tables), he’ll qualify to the quarterfinals of the single-elimination bracket, playing for a greater share of the $30,000 prize pool.


Last month, I noted that Strongsage was a newcomer to the QPL. Although they didn’t meet until Week 11, rapha still gave his countryman a warm welcome to the league. Liquid’s Quake God completely obliterated his opponent 41-13 over three maps, earning another 3-0. rapha also got his revenge against RAISY, beating him 2-1. All told, rapha retained his 1st place position in the league, staying a game up over vengeurR with three matches left to go.

rapha’s got a two-week break before his next match, however. On June 25th, he’ll face maxter, currently 7-4 and 6th in the league. After that, he’ll square off against serious, currently 6-4 and 9th place.

StarCraft 2

After a rocky start to the WTL Summer, Team Liquid has completely righted the ship, winning six straight after an opening day loss to Onsyde (who are still undefeated). The surprising win streak includes a clutch victory over Shopify Rebellion. SR’s ace ByuN opened the match with a convincing 2-0 over Liquid’s newest member SKillous, but Clem replied with a 2-0 over the German Zerg Lambo. Elazer split his match 1-1 with Harstem (a former Liquid member too!), and it all came down to the ace match, where Clem prevailed over ByuN.

Apart from Shopify Rebellion, Liquid’s wins have come against bottom-of-the-table teams, but they’ve been convincing 5-1s all around. The road ahead will be much more challenging, however. Liquid have an undefeated PSISTORM on their plate this morning, then after a 2 week break, a 5-2 DKZ gaming. You can find more detailed recaps of the WTL on the forum that made Team Liquid famous,

Over on the individual side of things, Clem has punched his ticket to Masters Jönköping, but everyone else in Liquid just barely missed the mark. Unfortunately, Clem and Elazer also matched up in the quarterfinals, and Clem teamkilled Elazer in a tight 3-2 affair, earning his bid to Masters, and snatching away Elazer’s. PSISTORM’s Danish Protoss MaxPax was also a Liquid-killer through the event, eliminating MaNa in the final round of the Swiss stage, and beating SKillous in the quarterfinals to gatekeep Liquid’s protoss from qualifying. Ironically, MaxPax then withdrew from Masters, and the four eliminated quarterfinalists played for his spot, but neither SKillous nor Elazer won out the bracket.

In the Americas, Kelazhur started the event with a bang, beating both Scarlett and Astrea 2-0 in the Swiss stage to advance 3-0. But unfortunately, Scarlett got her revenge on Kelazhur, eliminating him in the semifinals. With only 2 Masters spots available for the Americas, Kelazhur’s 3rd place didn’t cut it.

So Clem stands alone at Masters this month, which starts next week, and runs through the rest of the month. The event begins with a Seeding Stage. Clem and the 15 other qualifiers play in one of two double-elimination brackets. The top 2 from each bracket go directly to the single-elimination quarterfinals, and the rest head to the Knockout Bracket, four gauntlet-style single-elimination brackets where the winner of the previous round faces a higher-seeded challenger. Four rounds of each gauntlet will determine the final four players of the single-elimination quarterfinals.


Liquid`Persa made the podium for the second Brazilian FNCS Grand Finals in a row, but was once again just shy of winning the event outright. Persa and his duo Diguera finished 2nd overall, just barely missing the direct qualification to the Global Championship in October awarded to the winners. EdRoadToGlory also had an excellent tournament, placing 7th overall with his duo KING. Liquid’s fortnite players will have one more Brazilian Major to qualify to the FNCS Global Championship, but the schedule hasn’t been released yet.


In the Worlds-qualifying tournament held last month, it wasn’t Kurumx’s day. Though he was able to sneak into the top 16 with three 4ths and a 2nd, low rolls in the first two matches of day 2 led to an 8th and 7th, respectively, ultimately sealing his fate. Kurumx finished the day just 3 points away from the 8th place overall needed to qualify for the final lobby. Ultimately, his 12th place finish earned Kurum a $5,000 prize, but the consolation prize means little in the face of missing Worlds. Still, with the new set 9 on the PBE, Kurumx will be hungry to prove his abilities in Runeterra Reforged.

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

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