Liquid beat Virtus.pro; set up bracket final against MAD Lions
Liquid are through to the final of their side of the BLAST Premier Fall Showdown bracket after prevailing over Virtus.pro, surviving a comeback attempt from the CIS side on Inferno (16-14) and recovering from a loss on Vertigo (9-16) by securing a win on Overpass.
Stewie2K was a key component in Liquid's victory on the decider map, helping to counter Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis' aggression with multi-kill rounds and entries of his own. "YEKINDAR reads the game very well," Stewie2K stated in an interview following the series win. "He knows his aggression and he knows his timings. It's very hard to deal with, he's always finding a gap against us, flanking us, finding info and punishing us, so when he's on one it can be very hard to get by him."
Liquid are set to take on MAD Lions in the bracket final, where they will look to secure a spot at the BLAST Premier Fall Finals. Stewie2K isn't counting the European team out either, stating that he wasn't surprised to see them beat G2 as "there really are no easy games out here" and that it "doesn't matter if you're the best team in the world, you can still lose." He also praised MAD Lions approach to the game, saying, "I like their style. I like the way they play, it's very calm, you can tell information is being fed to everybody, so we'll see how we do."
Liquid put their best foot forward to kick off the series, establishing dominance on the CT side of Virtus.pro's Inferno pick. A pistol round win from the CIS team was immediately answered by a P250 triple kill from Stewie2K, allowing Liquid to gain momentum which they converted into a 5-1 lead.
A back-and-forth battle saw the teams trading blows as Dzhami "Jame" Ali's side fought to stay in contention, but Virtus.pro were unable to string together any round wins on the T side as Liquid put up a 10-5 scoreline heading into the second half.
A triple kill from Stewie2K kept Liquid in the lead, and once again they converted the early edge into a streak of rounds, going up 14-5. However, cracks began to appear as YEKINDAR stepped up for Virtus.pro, who clawed back into the map and only conceded one round en route to a 14-15 scoreline. Despite fighting back into contention though, the CIS team were unable to complete the comeback, and Liquid managed to take things over the line in round 30.
Liquid looked out of sorts on Vertigo, unable to crack through the A site defenses of Virtus.pro early on. Strong individual form from YEKINDAR and Jame were key in a dominant CT performance for their side, helping them to post a 10-5 lead at the end of the half.
Much like Liquid had on Inferno, Virtus.pro quickly moved up to a 14-6 lead following the side swap. Unlike the North American roster on the previous map though, YEKINDAR and company did not let their lead slip, and quickly tied up the series with a 16-9 map win following a 2vs5 recovery from Jame and Timur "buster" Tulepov.
The decider map, Overpass, once again had Liquid in the driver's seat, with the team putting up a strong defense in the early portion of the first half for a 7-1 scoreline, helped by an ace from Stewie2K to recover a 2vs5 situation.
Ten rounds in a row went the way of the CIS squad before Liquid finally put a halt to the streak, and from there, Stewie2K truly came to life for his team. The 23-year-old continued to create openings for his team, cracking through the VP defenses by securing multi-kills which Liquid converted almost every time, conceding only one more round en route to a 16-12 finish.
|Virtus.pro||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|73 - 56||+17||98.1||1.34|
|58 - 47||+11||78.3||1.14|
|57 - 47||+10||67.9||1.06|
|49 - 51||-2||61.3||0.95|
|42 - 57||-15||64.4||0.90|