Liquid send Cloud9 to elimination bracket at EPL
The Russian superteam is one loss away from a shock elimination.
Liquid have defeated Cloud9 in a three-map marathon series to qualify for the lower-bracket final of ESL Pro League S18. They started the series with a 16-11 win on Ancient before Cloud9 struck back on Inferno (16-14). Liquid then secured a 16-12 triumph on Mirage, which qualified them for the lower-bracket final against Virtus.pro, where the winner of the game will secure a playoff spot.
|ESL Pro League Season 18|
Damian "daps" Steele chimed in ahead of the qualification matchup and talked about Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis meeting his ex-IGL. "It definitely makes it easier for him because he understands how Jame thinks and he was in that system before. Obviously, they're not gonna play the exact same as they used to, but they both kinda understand each other, and that's why it's always going to be a good game."
The Canadian tactician was then asked about Josh "oSee" Ohm, who has shown much-improved form of late and topped the board against Cloud9. "I'd say we had a lot of breakthroughs with him as he got a lot of confidence recently, it was a lot of mental stuff rather than his individual form. We started chipping away at him slowly, and he started to feel like he can talk and say the ideas he wants to do, which you need from an AWPer."
On the other side of the server, the misery continues for Cloud9 as consecutive losses against Complexity and Liquid mean they fall down to the Last Chance bracket. Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov and company now require two straight wins to make the EPL playoffs. Their first test will come against Eternal Fire, who they beat in their opening match in Malta.
|ESL Pro League Season 18|
Liquid started the series by quickly negating Cloud9's pistol round win, which allowed them to secure the unfavored T side of Ancient, 8-7. The Russian squad then started the second half with another pistol victory but otherwise failed to find much impact. Denis "electroNic" Sharipov's clutch made Liquid struggle economically, but the Liquid defense stood strong despite sh1ro's 30-bomb.
Inferno began with a hot start by Cloud9, who looked like a different team compared to Ancient. They ran away to a 6-1 lead, but that was as good as it got for electroNic and company. They got just one more round after that, courtesy of sh1ro's clutch on the B site, and went into their CT side one behind Liquid.
The second half was another close affair, with Cloud9 tying up the map at 14 after being down 8-11. The Russian squad then rallied and closed out the game 16-14, as sh1ro once again topped the scoreboard to help Cloud9 force out the decider of Mirage.
The third map started very well for Liquid, with Keith "NAF" Markovic clutching a 1vs3 in the pistol round to put them on winning ways. Their streak continued, and they were soon 6-2 up but got just one more after that after another NAF clutch that meant another 7-8 half. Aleks "Rainwaker" Petrov particularly struggled and failed to post a single kill in the first 15 rounds.
The Bulgarian rifler then clutched a 1vs1 situation to get his first kill that turned around his individual performance, as well as helped his team run away to a 14-9 lead. They struggled to close out the game somewhat and allowed Cloud9 to get up to 12, but stabilized and converted the lead into a 16-12 victory to put themselves one win away from the EPL playoffs.
|Cloud9||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|75 - 56||+19||84.5||1.25|
|66 - 56||+10||85.0||1.22|
|51 - 57||-6||68.0||0.94|
|35 - 53||-18||56.5||0.78|
|39 - 55||-16||57.9||0.77|