Liquid are doing it!
The iconic line when they beat LGD in TI3. It has been repeated again and again in The International as Team Liquid made their way through a lower bracket, after a surprising upset from IG in their very first main stage series.
Liquid had a mountain to climb – two of the strongest Chinese teams in LFY and Newbee, in their quest for the Aegis this year. There’s multiple endings here – Newbee takes their 2nd TI win as an organization (they win in the TI4 Deathball), along with faith possibly being the first player to become a repeat TI champion (he won with Invictus Gaming in TI2).
On the other hand, it’s Team Liquid vs China (or China vs The Rest of the World), and KuroKy is hungry for his first TI win, after coming so close in TI3. Only GH is new to the TI stage, but he’s quickly become a key player in all of Team Liquid’s wins, with his IO being respect banned every single game, and his Earthshaker making mind blowing plays. His KotL gets a respect ban here and there as well.
LFY vs Team Liquid
Result: 1-2 (Winner: Team Liquid)
The first of two giants to beat, Team Liquid fell to LFY, having no answers for a Sniper pick for Super. Super has generally been touted as a midlaner who picks safe heroes that can contribute to LFY’s gameplan even without much farm, but he was the star of Game 1 as he demolished Team Liquid, who just was not able to overcome the Sniper and Lifestealer combo. It seems that Team Liquid picked Bloodseeker for Miracle just to take it out of LFY’s hands, but this did not work for them.
Team Liquid then decided to just stick to what worked for them – the Nature’s Prophet on Mind Control. Funnily, I thought that LFY liked the NP pick. Liquid quickly found success with the NP, with Mind Control leading in both Kills and Kill Participation in Game 2. TL was winning fights as a group of 4 while Miracle eventually farmed up on the Alchemist, who dismantled Newbee when he started joining fights.
LFY tried a curveball in Game 3, picking the Earthshaker away from Team Liquid but still leaving Nature’s Prophet up. Team Liquid went off to one of the fastest starts we’ve seen in the game – a 2 minute tower, and a courier kill shortly after. Monet’s Morphling did not have any farm in the beginning of the game and was 7th in net worth due to Team Liquid’s pressure. LFY however was able to close in, and delay the game. However, Team Liquid gets mega creeps off a fight by the top Dire side jungle, which left an opening for Mind Control to buyback and finish the last open Melee Barracks.
Grand Finals: Newbee vs Team Liquid
Team Liquid still got away with a Nature’s Prophet pick in Game 1 – which allowed them to dominate Newbee, along with GH’s insane playmaking on Slardar.
Newbee then decided to ban GH’s IO and the Nature’s Prophet, which allowed GH the Earthshaker for both Games 2 and 3. In Game 2, Newbee looked poised to even out the series, but a critical fight at around 29:30 turned everything around after two diebacks from Newbee.
For Game 3, Newbee went out of their comfort zone and picked the Venomancer just to take it out of Team Liquid’s hands – but to no success. Team Liquid were simply ahead of the game and were able to get what they wanted – Earthshaker, Lich, and Necrophos. This was rounded up by Miracle’s Juggernaut, as we’ve seen him play the scaling hard carry in Liquid’s games.
TEAM LIQUID HAVE DONE IT
TEAM LIQUID ARE YOUR TI7 GRAND CHAMPIONS!
Team Liquid complete the first ever Grand Finals clean sweep in The International, taking 3 games straight against the Upper Bracket giants in Newbee. The team takes home $10,8oo,000++, catapulting Team Liquid as the highest earning organization for DotA.
This also continues a few “curses”:
- No organization has won a TI twice.
- No player has won a TI twice (faith from Newbee had a chance)
- Western teams still win every odd TI (and Eastern teams win every even TI)
The Team Liquid roster has no superstars (besides Miracle-, arguably), and were groomed under the leadership of KuroKy, Heen, and team manager Mohammad Morad. They deserve this win, and have gone very far.
- KuroKy has finally raised the Aegis, 4 years after a crushing Game 5 loss against Alliance.
- Miracle- has proven that he’s not just all hype.
- MATUMBAMAN quickly became one of the most versatile and best carries out there.
- Mind Control came from competing in local tournaments, to one of the most reliable offlaners.
- GH, who I personally feel was the hidden star of the team. He was a pub midlaner who at one point reached the highest MMR in Europe, and was picked up last November by Team Liquid.
Congratulations to Team Liquid!
If you’ve missed the previous Main Stage days, you can read up TL;DRs: