Graphics by shiroiusagi
In little over a month, Liquid has played some big names in Dota 2. But in the fourth week of the D2L, the boys in blue will meet the most famous Dota 2 team in the world; the winners of The International 1 and the runners-up of The International 2, Na'Vi. The Eastern Europeans have been the gold standard for Western Dota for these two years, and today, we will measure ourselves against that standard.
Na'Vi are not unbeatable. They have had many droughts and many high profile failures. Online, they have looked mortal, sometimes even bad. But the talent, the coordination, the planning, the drive is all still there. Recently they shrugged off weeks of substandard online results and a huge chorus of naysayers to win the Starladder Season 4 finals over three of the best teams in Europe. This match will be Liquid's biggest match yet; a chance to show the Dota world that the boys in blue aren't intimidated or outclassed by the five in the yellow hoodies.
Team Liquid vs Natus Vincere
— D2L Week Four —
Thursday, Jan 16 7:00pm UTC (GMT+00:00)
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After last week's triumph over mTw, Liquid sits at 2-1 in the D2L. Na'Vi finds themselves with only one match played so far; a surprising defeat at the hands of Dignitas (who also is responsible for our only loss). The playoff implications of this match are a long time from being understood, but surely two proud teams like these would never like to be defeated again.
Na'Vi's line-up is extremely famous and just as talented. The captain, Puppey is a superb drafter who often takes unflashy heroes but utilities them to great effect. The team's primary carry is XBOCT (meaning 'tail' in Russian and pronounced "(k)hvost") who has sometimes been criticized, but is at worst the least brilliant in a team of brilliant players. Dendi, is the opposite, known for his creativity and flashy plays, especially on Pudge and Rubick. LighTofHeaveN is a top quality support and teamfight player with some excellent Enigma black hole ability. Last, but certainly not least is ARS-ART, one of the most under-appreciated players in Dota, and among the best supports in the world.
Na'Vi: Puppey , XBOCT , Dendi , LighTofHeaveN , ARS-ART
Taking on a line-up like Na'Vi's will be a tall order, but after a week of strong practice and good games, Liquid should be up to the challenge. Against mTw and AL.Academy, Liquid was firmly in control. Against Dignitas, despite the negative result, the team played quite strong, and the games were nail-bitingly close. One thing is for sure; these games are not to be missed for any fan of either team.
To prepare for the match, we asked our next Get to Know the Team participant, Liquid`BuLba about the match. Here's what he had to say about his expectations for the games and his connection to the D2L and it's intrepid casters, ayesee and Draskyl:
In not too long, Liquid plays against Na'Vi in the Dota 2 League. How epic will this battle be?
BuLba: I hope we exceed 20k viewers. Ayesee is an amazing guy and I'm so proud that he's doing so well. Same with Draskyl. I still remember when I paired these two up on It's GoSu. I co-casted with Draskyl in TI1 on the NEO Dota site and have been good friends with him since then. He was one of my favorite personalities and casters. I suggested Draskyl for the It's GoSu Monthly Madness tourneys to ayesee and it was a match made in heaven. <3
As for the game I hope we prove ourselves. I want Kennigit to blush in excitement and I also want a "good job" from Hotbid.
In the match the team will do their best to bring the games into Liquid's column. We ought to do our best outside to bring the D2L a record viewership for this match. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your enemies to tune in. It's going to be an awesome series.