Vitality take down Liquid 3-2 in marathon series
After five maps and 155 rounds of Counter-Strike, Vitality secured their first trophy since going international at the start of the year.
00:40 Vitality are EPL S16 champions!
Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut finished the series with a record-breaking 143 kills, and was far and away the best performer in the grand final.
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|116 - 113||+3||84.0||1.14|
|110 - 100||+10||83.0||1.14|
|113 - 100||+13||71.2||1.09|
|87 - 107||-20||66.2||0.87|
|82 - 112||-30||58.6||0.78|
|Vitality||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|143 - 93||+50||91.7||1.39|
|108 - 104||+4||80.9||1.13|
|96 - 105||-9||71.3||0.99|
|95 - 98||-3||60.6||0.93|
|88 - 110||-22||67.8||0.86|
00:38 Vitality reach match point
After winning a round with just deagles, Vitality look to have turned around the momentum of the game. They won the next as well, reaching match point in the process.
After the map looked all but lost for Liquid, they are now within two rounds of their opponents and looking much more comfortable on the CT side.
00:25 Teams trade rounds at mid-way point of the half
Vitality take their time in the next round, before attacking the B site late to get themselves three rounds away from 16.
00:17 Vitality take pistol and convert to put one hand on trophy
A fast mid push gives the European side the pistol, and they convert without trouble to go four rounds away from securing the title.
00:09 Liquid give themselves a fighting chance
After looking completely out of the map at the start of the half, a three-round streak gives the North American squad some hope as they move on to the CT side.
23:58 Liquid finally win a round
Liquid get some traction on the A ramp, even getting a kill with a smoke on Dan "apEX" Madesclaire to make their way onto the site to win the afterplant.
Vitality don't let that deter them, stopping Liquid's recovery after just one round as they get their ninth.
23:47 Early domination for Vitality
23:27 How does Vertigo look for both teams?
Both rosters have played the map three times in this season of Pro League, with Vitality winning all of them. Liquid were less succesfull, winning the map only once, with their results including a 4-16 demolition by FURIA.
23:21 Vitality force out Vertigo
ZywOo's 35 kills helped close out Overpass 19-17, with Vitality forcing out the decider map of Vertigo. The European combine had to work for the win after securing a 3-0 CT half, winning the third round of their T side on A.
23:03 Another overtime
After a triple overtime on Mirage, Overpass wasn't able to be decided in regulation either.
Vitality were able to get to 15 first, with Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen winning a 1vs1, but were unable to close it out. Liquid didn't back down, forcing rotations to plant at an open B site and give themselves a chance to end the series in four maps.
22:52 Another clutch for oSee
22:42 ZywOo wakes up
After a couple of quiet rounds for the superstar Frenchman, he steps up to win a 1vs2 on the B site to put Vitality within reach.
22:38 Liquid edge closer to victory
22:32 Liquid win force buy to retake the lead
Yet another YEKINDAR entry provides his team with the space to execute on the A site and take the lead back. That gave them the upper hand in the economy, an advantage they took with open arms to go three rounds ahead.
22:21 Liquid take slender lead into second half
After trading rounds in the closing stages of the first half, Liquid go into the interval one round ahead. Considering they started 0-5 down, the North Americans can be happy with their round total — they still need a strong offensive side, though.
22:12 Liquid start to fight back
After oSee's clutch, Liquid started to get a hold of the map. A couple of dominant holds meant the scores were quickly tied up, with YEKINDAR finding several openings to put his team into 5vs4 situations.
They were soon in the lead after another clutch went their way, this time by Keith "NAF" Markovic.
22:00 oSee gets Liquid on the board
21:56 Vitality grab early advantage on Overpass
21:20 Can Vitality bounce back?
21:16 Liquid finally close out the map
After three overtimes, Liquid got three rounds in a row on their CT side and managed to close it out once the sides switched. This caps off a fantastic comeback by the North Americans, who came down from 2-11 in regulation to take the lead in the series.
21:05 The Mirage marathon continues
Even after two overtimes, neither team is able to break the deadlock. ZywOo is giving it his best, as he now sits on 47 kills.
20:51 Another overtime needed
Neither team was able to win out the map in the first overtime, with 22 now the required round total.
20:35 Liquid force out overtime
The North Americans come back from a 2-11 deficit to force out overtime, with nitr0 providing an unlikely source of firepower with 26 kills.
20:26 apEX delivers
20:20 Liquid get second wind
20:12 Vitality win round with just pistols
20:08 Liquid within touching distance
20:00 Liquid recover at the end of the half
Two rounds for the North Americans make the score respectable at least, as they move on to the CT side.
19:55 Vitality reach double digits
19:49 ZywOo continues to dominate
19:39 Vitality take early lead on Mirage
A triple by ZywOo stopped Liquid's B rush, and the European combine raced to a 4-1 start. It wasn't the smoothest of starts for Vitality, however, as they needed ZywOo's miraculous 1vs3 clutch to keep themselves ahead.
19:12 The series is tied up
19:07 Map starts to get away from Liquid
With the deficit at six rounds and the North American's economy in tatters, Vitality look set to equalize the series score.
19:00 The gap widens at the start of second half
18:53 Vitality take narrow lead into second half
The high-paced nature of the half continues, with neither team able to run away with the map so far. Spinx's triple-kill on the A site made sure that his team was ahead at the interval before Vitality won the last round to take a three-round lead into the second half.
18:43 Vitality extend lead near the end of the half
Vitality look to have put Inferno behind them, looking comfortable on the offensive side of their map pick. This time around, their job is made easier by the fact that Emil "Magisk" Reif is able to match YEKINDAR in terms of finding opening kills.
18:32 Scores tied up
18:27 Vitality win first gun round
Magisk found an entry-kill that his team converted into a dominant round, keeping all five members alive in the process.
18:23 The second map, Dust2, begins!
Both teams have lost the map just once in the last three months, so we are in for a good battle.
Liquid are quick out of the gates on their CT side with a pistol round win, going for an aggressive lower tunnel push that works out flawlessly.
18:01 Liquid close out dominant first map
The North American roster lost just two rounds on their defensive side, closing out the map 16-7 with relative ease. YEKINDAR went an incredible 8:3 in opening duels, winning the star-player battle against ZywOo on the first map.
17:49 Liquid win second pistol round
A 3vs3 retake on the B site puts the North Americans in the driver's seat to win the first map of the series.
17:43 Liquid take commanding lead into halftime
Vitality's fumbled round against pistols stops their comeback attempt, losing momentum and the upper hand in the economy with the loss.
Liquid continued to find a lot of success on the B site, with Vitality being forced into several save rounds. Magisk's triple-kill in the final round of the half reduced the deficit to five rounds, but the European combine is still far behind as they move over to the Terrorist side.
17:33 Vitality begin closing the deficit
17:22 Vitality get on the board
A triple-kill by Magisk on the A site gets a much needed round on the board for the European combine.
17:20 YEKINDAR off to a hot start
The Latvian has already found several openings for his team, including a few through a smoke.
17:15 Liquid continue impressive start
After converting their pistol round win to a 3-0 lead, Liquid won the first gun round with another B execute.
17:08 Liquid start strong
The North Americans take an early lead after winning the pistol round with a quick B attack.
17:05 : The veto is in
We have the maps for our best-of-five final, with both teams removing their perma-bans as expected.
1. Liquid ban Nuke
2. Vitality ban Ancient
3. Liquid pick Inferno (Map one)
4. Vitality pick Dust2 (Map two)
5. Liquid pick Mirage (Map three)
6. Vitality pick Overpass (Map four)
7. Vertigo was left over (Map five)
16:45 Both finalists look to end their trophy droughts
Both teams haven't had the best of times recently — Liquid haven't been in a Big Event grand final since IEM Chicago 2019 when their lineup still included Jake "Stewie2K" Yip and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken. Vitality have also made just their second grand final since their change to a European roster at the beginning of the year, with their first coming at BLAST Premier Spring Final 2022 in June.
16:35 Mixed up casting duos for the final
The action will be brought to you by a different duo on each map, with the lineup looking as follows:
Map 1: Anders "Anders" Blume and Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill
Map 2: Matthew "Sadokist" Trivett and Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill
Map 3: Matthew "Sadokist" Trivett and Jason "moses" O'Toole
Map 4: Anders "Anders" Blume and Jason "moses" O'Toole
Map 5: Matthew "Sadokist" Trivett and Jason "moses" O'Toole
The teams have met just once so far at PGL Major Antwerp 2022, where Vitality comfortably beat the North Americans in a 2-0 series. Since then, both teams have significantly upgraded their firepower, with YEKINDAR replacing Richard "shox" Papillon on Liquid, while Vitality moved away from a French-majority roster by replacing Kévin "misutaaa" Rabier with Spinx.
Vitality are still undefeated in this season of ESL Pro League, having blitzed the group stage by losing just two maps in five best-of-three series. In terms of firepower, it is no surprise that ZywOo leads the charge, with the 21-year-old putting up an event-high 1.43 rating so far.
On the opposing side, Liquid had a much tougher time at the tournament, edging through the group stage with a 3-2 record after losses to Eternal Fire and FURIA. YEKINDAR is the top performing player for the North Americans so far with a 1.19 rating, with Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski (1.10) and Keith "NAF" Markovic (1.08) not far behind.
The teams' lineups for this grand final are:
Damian "daps" Steele (coach)
Danny "zonic" Sørensen (coach)