Liquid Take Back-To-Back Starladder Titles

May 21 2017


While our first return to Shanghai did not go according to plan, the third time proved to be the charm. Starleague is turning into one of our favorite events as we turned in another strong performance for the Starladder Invitational crown. It's the second Starladder title for Liquid this year which puts the team on top of the new patch.

The group stage went by like a breeze for the team with 4 straight sub-30 minute games. Neither Faceless nor Vega Squadron could offer much resistance, and a quick day of work was done in a flash. None of the games really showed much in terms of deep strategy, and Liquid trotted into the bracket stages unscathed and untroubled.

However, that veil of invincibility quickly wore off at the hands of IG. Xxs carried his team with one of the most devastating Enigma's in recent memory. With 25k net worth and 48k damage, Enigma gave IG the lead in the semi finals. The second game looked all but done as well when IG broke a set of raxes with the siege heavy combo of Death Prophet and Razor, but a crucial Aghs pick up by Matumba's Lone Druid saved the day. The biggest rat in town made quick work of IG's buildings—nearly 17,000 damage, to be exact—and tied the series 1 to 1. The deciding game 3 featured another long build up, and IG were once again in a good position to take the game. Yet Liquid managed to manhandle Anti-Mage to close out the series.

The team had shown that they could go both short and long, giving their finals opponents, TNC Gaming, a lot to think about. The first game of the grand finals followed the former pattern with a blistering 25minute win. Everything went right for Liquid in the opening game, and it looked like TNC would be more quick work for Liquid. The Filipino squad had other ideas, however, and they scored one back with a Sven+Dark Seer game. Some massive vacuums made the difference to tie the series.

Game 3 looked like a repeat of game 1, but for different reasons. Despite again featuring KOTL, Earth Shaker and Tusk, Liquid sealed the deal by gimping the opposing Specter early. The game ended even more quickly than the first: 22 minutes and Liquid was on match point. With momentum on our side, it looked like the boys would be able to close out the series with little trouble. Unfortunately, TNC had other ideas in game 4. Sven once again put his hammer down, and the series was on to a deciding final game.

Up until the final game of the tournament, Liquid had shown a somewhat single minded focus in their hero selection. Yet the very last hero picked during the tournament would end up being the most crucial. With the title on the line, Liquid picked Enigma—the hero that had caused their loss in the first game of the day. Game 5 appeared poised for a long and grueling grind, and TNC looked ahead during the early game. The lead swiveled back and forth until Liquid's Alacrity Bear eventually came good with another wrecking ball performance. The deciding play was a scrappy and drawn out fight in the Rosh Pit where somehow, someway, Liquid wiped TNC, survived, and even took Rosh during the chaos. A big black hole in the pit sealed the engagement, and it was a slow siege from there. After 4 great days of Dota, Liquid Dota had bullbeardozed their way to another StarLadder title.

Photo Credit: // STARLADDER
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