iBuyPower Masters IV
The Major is drawing near, the Minors are slowly unfolding, so it was time to get back to business for teams that aren’t currently locked in the Major qualification process. Eight of them thus participated in the iBUYPOWER Masters IV in Los Angeles. A medium-sized tournament, with a couple of top teams such as Astralis, FaZe, Fnatic, and Team Liquid, matched with local, underdogs, yet dangerous squads such as Ghost and Luminosity.
Although the event was unfortunately marred with issues, this was an opportunity to see how some of the refreshed lineups would perform, with Fnatic continuing to practice with some still-fresh faces and most importantly Team Liquid with their recent acquisitions, Jake “Stewie2k” Yip and former Liquid IGL, Eric “adreN” Hoag, as their new coach.
Team Liquid quickly put all concerns to rest by topping their group with comfortable victories against Ghost, and the Brazilians of Luminosity Gaming. In the other group, Fnatic’s road was much more contested, as they lost their opener to Cloud9 and former teammate, Flusha. The Swedes bounced back, winning back to back 16-14 games, the first against compLexity, then claiming revenge on Cloud9. A close outcome, but they got the job done nonetheless, and thus Fnatic earned their semifinals spot, where they ended up against Team Liquid.
It was fair to consider Liquid as the favorites in this matchup, especially after their firepower upgrade with Stewie, but Richard “Xizt” Landström led Fnatic to fight against the odds and made it anything but a walk in the park for Liquid. Although the first map was nearly a no-show for the Swedes, Mirage was much more contested thanks to a solid T side. Numerous chaotic situations seemed to always eventually resolve with Fnatic coming on top, and despite a valiant fight back from Liquid pushing the game to overtime, Fnatic held strong Unfortunately for Fnatic they couldn’t hold back Liquid on the third map and conceded to the NA favourites 2-1.
Thus the first important finals of the year pitted… Astralis against Team Liquid. What has become a familiar classic would unfold once again in 2019. The first map, Inferno, began with Astralis never letting Liquid get a hold of the game, and it was over before it even started. Dust 2 began in a similar fashion, but this time around Nick “nitr0” Cannella and his men were able to turn the tides mid-game and put on a clinic to quickly reach map point. The Danes tried to muster a comeback, but had to give up the map, meaning the series would be decided on Overpass. There again, the red stars took off rapidly, quickly taking a 7-0 lead and leaving Liquid looking helpless in the early rounds. However, as on Dust 2, the tables were then turned by Liquid — who managed to close the gap in the first half and ride their momentum on their CT side — to eventually close the match out and finally, at long last, claim their first victory in a series against the best team in the world after eight months of struggle with their nemesis.
It may not have been the perfect context, but this was still a landmark victory for Team Liquid, that can only instill confidence in the team. A welcome trophy, right in the honeymoon period with Stewie and adreN, that will be key for them as they go into the Katowice Major.
Six Invitational Latin America Qualifier
We're one step closer to 2019’s Six Invitational, and with the Latin Qualifier under wraps, Team Liquid has inched closer to a major victory. The recent qualifiers provided an entertaining insight into how action packed the upcoming Major should play out.
On the 19th, Team Liquid and NiP began their final fight for the top qualifying slot, both showing extreme aggression against the other. Liquid managed a quick map one victory with a 7-4 scoreline, and with momentum on their side, the second map of Clubhouse played out the same way. With a 2-0 series victory, TL had quickly sent NiP down to the lower bracket. NiP would go on to blowout Black Dragons on Border 7-1, and take an impressive 7-4 victory on the series decider, making them the runner up in the finished seeds for the qualifier.
Team Liquid’s undefeated run through the qualifier comes amid roster changes as Paluh and gohaN recently joined the team in place of Bullet1 and psk1. While fans weren’t sure what to expect from the new roster, TL has proven that they belong at the Six Invitational and that they’re ready to get revenge on G2 for eliminating them from the last Six Invitational back in 2018.
Congratulations to Liquid for their fantastic performance, and we recommend all of our R6 fans tune in to watch 2019 SI which will start on February 11th. With the obvious additions of the recent Brazilian victors, teams such as Fnatic and Evil Geniuses have both been invited, so there will be no shortage of extreme talent in the pool of challengers.