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Photos of Team Liquid Dota 2 team at the ESL Katowice Dota 2 Major in Katowice, where Team Liquid took 3rd
NEWS

Monster Gaming Weekly

Mar 292018

March was an eventful month with our regular programming slightly altered by WESG. China’s big festival of esports included many of the world’s biggest games — of course, Monster teams were there in attendance!

CS:GO

After multiple months of qualifications and regional finals, starting all the way back in September, the World Electronic Sports Games reached its conclusion this March with the offline finals held in Haikou, China.

 

The tournament had not yet started and already, a shocking string of visa issues, player withdrawal, and so on, shook the balance and the expectations ahead of the games. Fnatic had been spared any player absences, and entered the finals as one of the big contenders for the title, especially after their recent victory in Katowice that saw them defeat FaZe to claim the IEM trophy. Alongside the swedes, and aiming for nothing less than the title, were the last Major champions Cloud9 and the Brazilians of SK. 

 

However, the first group stage already yielded unexpected results, as SK Gaming had to bow down after losing, first to BIG, then to the Dmitry “hooch” Bogdanov led Russia mix. Cloud9 and Fnatic landed in the same group, and made quick work of their opponents to advance to the second phase, where both teams once again prevailed in their respective groups, booking two spots in the final bracket.

 

The second big upset of the tournament took place in the quarterfinals, as Cloud9 was forced out of the tournament by the surprising Team One, hailing from Brazil. As the last favorite alive in the tournament, Fnatic’s road to the trophy looked much easier all of a sudden, but the Swedes would have to face one last obstacle. Coming from the other side of the bracket, and themselves on a pristine run with a single map loss, Space Soldier would prove a fierce opponent. 

 

Known to rise to the occasion and sporting great aimers like Buğra “calyx” Arkın and Can “xANTARES” Dörtkardeş, the Turks made the final a hotly contested battle. All three maps went the distance as each unfolded in more than 25 rounds. In the end Fnatic managed to close the grand final and claim the WESG 2017 trophy, alongside the lion’s share of the $1.5 million prize pool, adding yet another title right after the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice.

 

Dota 2

Monster was present at WESG’s Dota 2 tournament too, and despite the lack of DPC Points, some impressive stacks and teams showed up to claim part of the $1.5 million prize pool. paiN Gaming surprised the competition to claim the biggest pot in the Brazilian team’s history. They defeated HappyFeet, Team Leviathan, Keen Gaming, and Rock.y to reach the grand finals. Unfortunately, 4/5ths of DPC leaders Virtus.pro proved too much for the tournament’s dark horse, and paiN were resigned to second place. It was an impressive tournament for the team, and hFn, in particular, turned heads around the world.

 

GESC: Indonesia

Returning to the DPC Circuit, Monster nearly swept the podium in Jakarta during the GESC: Indonesia Minor with EG claiming first, VGJ.Thunder 2nd, and Na`Vi 3rd/4th. Fnatic trailed just behind in 5th/6th after losing to Na`Vi 2-1 in the quarter finals. If we were to go back to January 21st we would see a similar scene playing out in front of us, EG vs VGJ.Thunder in the finals of another tournament, Galaxy Battles. However, unlike the dominant performance of VGJ.Thunder earlier in the year where they won without losing a game, EG would get their revenge, winning 2-0 and earning 150 DPC points in the process. EG stood triumphant in one of the quickest finals to date, proving that the team’s current upward trajectory continues at a time where the rest of NA is showing signs of weakness. EG’s position at the top of NA has remained unchanged for years and after their recent performance it looks like it will remain that way for a long time to come.

 

For VGJ.Thunder and Na`Vi their top 4 placements held a lot of weight as we approach the halfway point of the season. VGJ.Thunder sits 6th and Na`Vi 8th overall with EG between them in 7th. Each tournament where things go their way is another sigh of relief as they solidify their position for a TI invite come the end of the season. Fnatic, who barely missed out on a top 4 finish, would have to wait for their haul until the next weekend. 

 

DreamLeague Season 9

Fnatic made up for their near-miss in Jakarta at DreamLeague Season 9, where they finished 2nd behind Secret. The silver medal netted them 90 points each which moved them only 16 points behind Mineski. After that, only a small gap remains between them and a direct invite to TI. 

 

Fnatic had to take down OG, Empire, Newbee, and Team Liquid to make it to the finals which is quite an accomplishment on its own. While Team Liquid had to play with Heen — the team’s coach — standing in due to Miracle’s absence, it is still no easy feat to defeat even a disadvantaged Team Liquid. Due to Miracle being away for DreamLeague, Kuroky had the opportunity to return to a core role for the tournament and he took full advantage of it. Kuro added a few more heroes he’s never played in competitive Dota to his repertoire, and he overtook Fear for the player with the single most number of heroes played competitively. Not only did he play them well, it also drove Liquid to 3rd place — an incredible performance for a team missing its star player. 

 

At the upcoming DAC Major, Team Liquid will be attending in full force. Another top 4 placement may give them the needed points to secure their invite to TI8, which would leave only 6 slots remaining for the rest of the teams.

 

Street Fighter

The Capcom Pro Tour 2018 kicked off in Atlanta, GA this past weekend at Final Round 2018. The star studded affair saw international competition make the global trek to compete in the first CPT Premiere. With rule changes and a condensed schedule this year — momentum matters — and nobody is charging into 2018 faster than our very own, Seonwoo ‘Infiltration’ Lee. 

 

Fresh off the monumental victory at EVO Japan, Infiltration has done it again as he dominated the field and secured the first premiere win of the tournament season. Infiltration has always been a player that goes on near unrivaled streaks of pure destruction and 2018 is starting to look like 2012, and 2016 in that regard. It’s no secret Infiltration had a rough 2017 but winning the first two major Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition events back to back leads us to believe Infiltration is back on course. 

 

While Final Round 2018 was full of familiar faces and new challengers as over 370 competitors signed up to give it their best. In the end, it became a repeat of Final Round 2016 — Infiltration vs Tokido — a match-up fans have come to expect. These two are arguably the most consistent performers since SFV released in Spring 2016 and both influence the meta game like no others. 

 

Grand Finals were an intriguing clash of styles and stories. Infiltrations ‘keep away’ Menat versus Tokido’s oppressive Akuma and the storylines leading to the thrilling conclusion were just as interesting as the match itself.

 

The community was enthralled — will 2018 be another ‘Year of Infiltration’ after he set pace by winning EVO Japan? Has Tokido mentally recovered from his devastating loss at Kemonimichi where he lost an intense set to FGC God, Daigo Umehara? After the loss, the community saw an extremely emotional Tokido, the likes we’ve never seen before and fans didn’t know what to expect out of him so soon. 

 

In the end, Tokido fought valiantly and reset the finals but Infiltration was able to adapt first and close out the series 3-1. 

 

Team Liquid was also present at Final Round, with their new additions, Nemo and John Takeuchi, placing 5th and 25th-32nd respectively.

 

Smash

Team Liquid’s Hungrybox defended his title at Full Bloom this weekend by defeating Leffen and Mango in the final bracket. With only 2 games dropped during the entire event, Hbox dominated the opposition on the way to his second big win of the month. After placing 2nd to Plup at Genesis 5, it seems like Hbox has shifted into a higher gear by earning two golds in March, proving to everyone that he is worthy of his #1 MIOM ranking. With his win at Full Bloom, Hungrybox is now tops of the Smash Masters League leaderboard with 200 pts.

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