Liquid edge past Renegades; Virtus.pro survive marathon vs. MVP PK
Liquid and Virtus.pro are now 1-1 at the StarSeries i-League Season 4 event after defeating Renegades and MVP PK, respectively, by 2-1 scorelines.
The clash between the two teams competing in North America kicked off on Train, where a team ace from Liquid in the pistol round set themselves up for a 3-0 lead. The first gun round appeared to be swinging in the North Americans' favour, but Karlo "USTILO" Pivac rescued his team by clutching a 1v3.
That was the start of a great run from Renegades, who eventually overcame the deficit, but Liquid picked up the pace and laboured to a 9-6 lead after losing just one of the last seven rounds of the half.
Liquid further added to their lead after taking the pistol round with a quick B execution. The North Americans continuously ran all over the Renegades defence, with a quad-kill from Keith "NAF" Markovic putting the team on map point.
Cache, the second map in the series, saw a livelier Renegades side get out to a massive seven-round lead before Liquid could get their first on the board. It was a much-needed round for the North Americans, but they struggled to get a hold of the game, with the half ending with an 11-4 advantage for Renegades.
The Australian team picked up where they had left off, winning the second half pistol, but then they were caught off-guard by Liquid's force-buy. The North Americans tried their best to mount a comeback by stringing three rounds together, but Renegades kept their composure and locked down the map to take the series to Mirage.
Carrying their momentum into the final map, Renegades got out to a 3-0 lead on the Terrorist side following a quad-kill from Aaron "AZR" Ward in the pistol round. But the rest of the half was all about Liquid's near-impenetrable defence as they kept things very tight to secure a massive 12-3 lead.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, with Renegades winning the pistol round and the subsequent anti-ecos. But a comeback was not on the cards as the Australians continued to struggle in gun rounds, with a quad-kill from nitr0 setting Liquid up for a great run that only ended when they reached 16 rounds.
|Renegades||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Karlo 'USTILO' PivacUSTILO||55 - 57||-2||79.7||1.15|
|Justin 'jks' Savagejks||49 - 46||+3||76.4||1.04|
|Aaron 'AZR' WardAZR||49 - 52||-3||70.0||0.94|
|Joakim 'jkaem' Myrbostadjkaem||42 - 54||-12||67.7||0.83|
|Noah 'Nifty' FrancisNifty||31 - 51||-20||41.8||0.70|
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF||57 - 46||+11||95.9||1.33|
|Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz||63 - 44||+19||77.2||1.23|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE||53 - 49||+4||81.2||1.17|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannellanitr0||42 - 43||-1||70.7||1.13|
|Lucas 'steel' Lopessteel||44 - 44||0||61.6||0.97|
Meanwhile, Virtus.pro and MVP PK played out a nail-biting match that saw the last two maps go to overtime. The first map of the series, Train, began with the Poles getting out to a quick 5-0 lead on the CT side. The Koreans then finally got a round on the board, following an outer bombsite rush, but they struggled to get to grips with Virtus.pro, with their other round wins of the half coming off of individual plays from Hae-Sung "HSK" Kim and Keun-Chul "solo" Kang.
MVP PK kept themselves in it by taking the pistol round and one anti-eco, but then a third-round buy put Virtus.pro in control once again, with the Poles going on to win three more rounds to seal an easy win.
Next up was Inferno, where Virtus.pro got out to a 4-2 lead after responding to a pistol round loss. But then they completely lost control of the game as MVP PK won seven straight rounds to take a 9-4 lead before the final two rounds went the Poles' way.
The second half pistol and the first gun round would go to MVP PK, leaving Virtus.pro in a very difficult situation. Still, VP gathered their composure and attacked with intent, shutting down any chances of the Koreans building up an economy. With a great B hold, MVP managed to hit map point at 15-14, but a last-gasp effort from Virtus.pro took the game to overtime - in which they would be out-classed as their sole round win came on the back of a 1v2 clutch from Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski.
It all came down to Nuke, where Virtus.pro got off to a flying start, winning 11 of the first 13 rounds to set up a healthy lead. MVP PK won the final two rounds of the half to keep their comeback dreams alive, and they kept that momentum going into the second half as they took seven rounds without response to restore parity at 11-11.
Virtus.pro then finally managed to break that streak, thanks to two early kills from Snax, unsurprisingly their main instigator throughout the series, but the Koreans hit back immediately, leaving the Europeans strapped for cash.
MVP quickly hit the 15-round mark, but then they let the pressure get to them, wasting several match points and throwing a 4v2 advantage in the 30th round out the window to let VP force overtime once again.
The first overtime did not determine a winner as both teams won all three rounds on the CT side. VP continued that trend in the second overtime, this time also picking up a round as Terrorists to seal a hard-fought win.
|Virtus.pro||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Janusz 'Snax' PogorzelskiSnax||99 - 60||+39||101.7||1.48|
|Jarosław 'pashaBiceps' JarząbkowskipashaBiceps||72 - 58||+14||74.8||1.12|
|Filip 'NEO' KubskiNEO||64 - 60||+4||76.4||1.08|
|Paweł 'byali' Bielińskibyali||64 - 60||+4||76.9||1.05|
|Michał 'MICHU' MüllerMICHU||62 - 64||-2||68.6||1.01|
|MVP PK||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Min-Seok 'zeff' Parkzeff||70 - 75||-5||78.3||1.06|
|Keun-Chul 'solo' Kangsolo||69 - 75||-6||78.1||0.98|
|Min-Soo 'glow' Kimglow||56 - 68||-12||57.6||0.85|
|Hyun-Pyo 'XigN' LeeXigN||57 - 73||-16||65.8||0.85|
|Hae-Sung 'HSK' KimHSK||49 - 72||-23||57.9||0.79|
Here is how the Swiss stage current looks after these matches: