Due to their somewhat lackluster performance at last year’s MSI, Team Liquid was forced to play through the MSI play-ins stage finals in order to qualify for the group stage — that was the easy part. They beat the hometown team in an easy 3-0 allowed Liquid to qualify for groups with little fuss.
Groups, however, was where it became tough. Liquid’s group stage competition included the reigning World Champions, the team universally considered to be the best Western team in the world, and the Dynastic Gods of League of Legends with their Demon King still reigning over his dominion in the mid lane. Even the two Wild Card teams were still champions of their regions who were not to be underestimated.
Despite having a late start and some tough matchups, Team Liquid did the unthinkable. They broke the week 2 curse. With their destiny firmly in their own hands Liquid beat the so-called “Best in the West” and landed themselves in the final qualifying spot, 4th place.
What was once a curse had become a blessing. By placing 4th in groups, Team Liquid had become the 4th ever NA team to make it to the semi-finals round of an international competition. It also just so happened to have been the 4th time an NA team made it to the semi-finals round of an international competition. While 4th place is familiar to Team Liquid, it’s not enough.
Doublelift said so himself despite finally breaking his curse and helping both the team and the region making it out of groups,
“Your region will never be happy with you, your fans will never be happy with you, if you just make it out of groups. It’s not enough, it’s never enough. No one remembers 4th place.”
The tables have completely turned this MSI. But not just for North America, MSI no longer means what it used to for any of the top regions. This time Korea is looking to claw themselves back into the international conversation with their first international trophy in over a year. Conversely, China is looking to keep their stranglehold on all international competition by bringing home their third consecutive international title. Europe is looking to show that their second-place finish at Worlds last year was not a fluke. And NA is looking to show that they are finally a region that’s ready to tango in the big leagues.
Team Liquid has found their footing. And though their semi-finals opponent is very likely the strongest team in the world, they will fight. They will fight with the knowledge that curses have been broken. That the future is limitless. That they’ve finally made NA proud.