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Photos of Team Liquid's Counter Strike team playing in DreamHack Masters in Dallas Texas at the Key Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. They placed 1st place after beating ENCE who knocked them out of of the last Counter Strike Major event in the semifin
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Monster Gaming Weekly

Jun 192019

A lot of Smash has been played over the past couple of weeks, both in Melee and Ultimate and we do mean a lot. We also had Alliance qualify through to the last Major of the Dota 2 circuit by making the finals of the Minor and Team Liquid’s CS:GO team has claimed the #1 ranking spot in the world. It has been a very busy June indeed.

Dreamhack Dallas 2019

 

Team Liquid had done a lot to beat their Grand Finals curse before they went to Dreamhack Dallas, but their reputation for losing when it mattered most still preceded them. It didn’t help that earlier Team Liquid had lost two Finals in one weekend, one at the Summit and the other in the ECS League. It also didn’t help that they were an NA team, still being judged as coming from a weaker region.

 

Team Liquid performed well in the early stages of the tournament, making quick work of their first opponents. Faze gave them their first challenge by taking an early lead on the first map, Dust2. Liquid fell into a 6-round deficit at 2-8 before they began to claw it back. The teams battled through 2 overtimes before Liquid came out on top. Faze would win map 2, Nuke, after nearly throwing a 12-1 lead. In map 3, Team Liquid brought the victory home in a much cleaner fashion on Inferno.

 

Next, Team Liquid would fight Furia. A relatively unknown team coming up from Brazil and they looked to upset all expectations by beating Liquid. Furia fought well and showed a lot of raw talent. They lost a close contest in map 1 at 16-13. The next map was a total rout, with Team Liquid stampeding over Furia, 16- 4.

 

In Grand Finals, Team Liquid would face ENCE. The first map was fairly dominating from Team Liquid as they won with a clean 16-8. Afterwards, we had Overpass, one of TL’s strongest maps. It seemed like the finals might wrap up with an early 2-0, with ENCE down a map. However, Dreamhack Dallas was full of surprises and ENCE won in overtime, 17-19. 

 

The teams agreed to Inferno as their final map. Team Liquid came out to a strong 10-1 start. However, ENCE stormed back with 7 straight round wins and it looked like Team Liquid’s old Finals curse would haunt them again. EliGE and Stewie2K had other ideas. EliGE secured the most kills on the map and the MVP award while Stewie2K provided the clutch, momentum-turning plays he’s known for.

The victory was huge. Team Liquid faced a team of their own caliber in Grand Finals, with the title of best in the world on the line. The pressure was never higher and Team Liquid rose to meet it.

 

StarLadder Minor

 

The final Minor of the season has come to an end, but thankfully Alliance's season didn't come to an end with it. Alliance has struggled in recent months due to injuries forcing them to play with substitutes, but they've finally regained form with the return of miCKe. Going into the qualifiers for the final Major, Alliance knew that they would need a strong showing at said Epicenter Major if they wanted to avoid playing in the regional qualifiers for The International. Unfortunately, Alliance missed out on direct qualification to the Major due to how stacked the EU qualifiers are, forcing them to reach the finals of the Minor to earn their spot at the Major.

 

The upside of not making it through the EU Qualifiers is that you're probably one of the strongest teams in the Minor. Alliance showed this off in the group stage, cleaning up the stronger of the two groups and earning a first-place seed going into the playoffs. This led to them facing Team Sirius, and though Sirius was another championship-contender, Alliance was still able to take the series 2-1 on the back of miCKe's Troll Warlord play in games 2 and 3. 

 

Next, the most important match of the tournament for Alliance. Matched up against NiP in the Upper Bracket Finals, the winner would qualify for the Epicenter Major, while the loser would be sent to the Lower Bracket. The going got tough, and Alliance sent NiP packing. After NiP took a very one-sided game 1, Alliance bounced back, crushing NiP in the following games. This was in large part thanks to Qojqva's absolutely dominating performances on Storm Spirit, going a combined 22-2-33 in games 2 and 3. 

 

 

With qualification secured, Alliance could rest easy. Though they ended up losing the Grand Finals to NiP in a nail-biting five game series, they still accomplished what they came to do. Alliance is playing the best they have since the beginning of the season, so look forward to seeing them at the Epicenter Major in the coming weeks. After all, qualification is right around the corner.

 

Smash Summit

 

To the joy of Melee fans everywhere, Smash Summit returned this year for its 8th tournament. Smash Summits see the best of the best of the Melee ladder come together to compete, make comedy skits, and play Mafia. This year the Mafia, the skits, and the Melee were as great as they’ve ever been.

 

Let’s start with the Doubles bracket where Team Liquid’s Hungrybox got off to a strong start. Teaming up with the Summit newcomer, iBDW, the two beat the Canadians - Moky and N0ne - and the Europeans - Leffen and Trif. They would end at a respectable 3rd place, losing to the Panda Global boys Zain and Plup and Mang0 and S2J.

 

From there, Singles Pools opened up and in truth, most of the day went as expected. Hungrybox won cleanly against Drephen and Moky but got upset by aMSa. While the loss was unexpected, it had happened before and didn’t mean too much for Hungrybox’s bracket.

The real surprises came in the bracket. Hungrybox beat n0ne’s flashy falcon in a convincing 3-0 and then continued his long winning streak against Sheik players by 3-0ing Plup as well. His competition got a lot hotter after that set though, as he went against his long-time rival, Leffen. While Hungrybox kept the matches close, he fell 3-1 to Leffen.

 

Up next, Hungrybox would face iBDW. Normally, any Fox outside of top 10 isn’t an issue for HBox, but iBDW is a different kind of player and Summit is a different kind of tournament, where newcomers often leave levelled up. Unlike other foxes that rue the Puff matchup, iBDW loves it and plays other top Puffs regularly. After 3 brutal losses in Pools, iBDW found his next level and used it to beat Moky, Mang0, and aMSa. By the time he reached Hungrybox, he was red-hot and ready for the Puff matchup. He won 3-1. It was bittersweet for Hbox, who hugged iBDW post-set and gave his teammate the blessing to win the whole thing.

 

In the end, however, this would be one tournament where a Fox player wasn’t the one who shined. Two mid-tier characters would meet in the Grand Finals, and this Summit belonged to a character that had never ever won a major before: Pikachu. Axe, a Summit main-stay came out to play and put on a Pikachu performance like none had seen, taking the tournament while only dropping one set in Grand Finals.

And for the fans that missed seeing an HBox win, they just need to watch the skits, where he very much dominated.

 

Smash n Splash 5 Melee + Ultimate

 

Smash N’ Splash is one of the most fun tournaments in the FGC. Smashers from across the country come to the waterpark capital of the world to compete and relax. This year, the tournament was even more notable for its waterfall swiss brackets, which extended the pools stage and gave players a guaranteed 5 games to play, while giving the best players a quick ticket to Top 64.

 

As expected, Hungrybox, Dabuz, and ChuDat punched in their tickets to Top 64 early with a 5-0 each in pools. In 2018, ChuDat had his fair share of struggles but in 2019 he’s gradually been returning to vintage Chu form and taking it to the best players in the game. He placed 13th this tournament, but that was no small feat. He beat PewPewU and Mike Haze and nearly beat Amsa in a reverse 3-0. True to form, he ended up the highest ranked Ice Climbers at the tournament.

 

 

Not to be outdone, Hungrybox got 2nd in Melee Singles and he only lost sets to an unstoppable Wizzrobe. Wizzrobe played with the same calculating, smart style with a renewed vigor. He performed better than he ever had and became the first player to ever place top 8 in both Ultimate and Melee. While Hungrybox couldn’t quite beat him, he brought every match in the Grand Finals down to last stock, giving Wizzy his first major win and Captain Falcon his first major win in almost 15 years.

 

Though Hungrybox didn’t beat Wizzrobe, he handled the rest of the competition. He beat Plup in a stylish 3-0, Leffen in a classic 3-2, as well as SFAT, and iBDW. With little time to rest, he even got called in to cast Ultimate’s final matches.

 

In Ultimate’s top 8, Dabuz would avenge his teammate by 3-0ing Wizzrobe in convincing fashion. The crowd cheered, “3.1” as he won, since the coming patch would bring significant nerfs to Olimar, Dabuz’s main. Dabuz stood up and asked the crowd for more.

 

 

Still, it wasn’t a perfect tournament for Dabuz. In Winners, he was forced to change from Olimar to face Shoyo James, one of the world’s best Chroms and best counters to Olimar. Forced onto a nerfed Rosalina, Dabuz lost to Shoyo James in a 3-0 that came to lost stock, with last hit situations each match.

 

Afterwards, Dabuz would face Marss, the 2nd seed in the tournament. Each match, Dabuz played a different character - going from Olimar, to Rosalina, to Palutena - and each match he got closer and closer to a win. In the third match, he was just a hit away but still lost in a hard-fought defeat.

 

Rainbow 6 Vegas Minor

 

This past week in the gambling capital of the world, Team Liquid tried their luck at finding themselves a finals victory during the Allied Vegas Minor. After a remarkable run through the swiss stage, and a fantastic victory against Spacestation Gaming in the quarterfinals, their run was cut short by Team Secret in the semi-finals. 

 

Fans of Liquid hoped they had the capacity and ever-growing momentum to take down Team Secret, but their driving power proved to be too superior. Team Secret beat the boys of TL on the first map Consulate, 7-2, and then nailed the coffin on Clubhouse, with a scoreline of 7-4. Though Liquid remains extremely high on the regional and global totem pole for R6 rankings, Secret is a force not to be reckoned with.

 

This was Team Liquid’s first outing without their long-time captain Ziguera and instead was fielding a former rival in HSnamuringa in Zig’s place. A semi-finals appearance at an international competition is nothing to scoff at when you consider that this team should only improve as they get used to playing together.

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