Steven R. January 21, 2020
Team Liquid is still alive in the DreamLeague Leipzig Major, but just barely.
The European squad threw away an enormous gold lead against Virtus.pro and saw their ancient whittled down, only to muster up a miraculous play to steal the game back. The win pushes Liquid further into the tournament and hands Virtus.pro a last-place finish.
The game saw a number of momentum swings in the laning stage. Alexey "Solo" Berezin viciously harassed Liquid with his Enchantress, battering them with Impetus and forcing them to frequently roam top to head off Egor "epileptick1d" Grigorenko’s Lifestealer. Though this resulted in a bloodbath in the top lane, Liquid successfully held back epileptick1d, which set them up to take over the mid game.
Liquid slowly built up a net worth lead, which prompted VP to group and try and turn the tides. That failed, which accelerated Liquid’s growing advantage.
The trouble was that Liquid couldn’t close out the game. Tens of minutes passed and while VP struggled to leave their base throughout, Liquid couldn’t break high ground. For a long while, Liquid was just content in building up its lead, but frustration grew with time.
At the 70-minute mark and with a 60,000 net worth lead, Liquid decided to go all in. After scoring a kill, Liquid pushed into the top lane and started a team fight. VP held TL back, which prompted Liquid to buy back on both Michael "miCKe" Vu and Max "qojqva" Bröcker. That went very poorly as both heroes were melted by Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok’s Underlord that was hugely empowered by Atrophy Aura.
Liquid was down to just Samuel "Boxi" Svahn’s Slardar and Tommy "Taiga" Le’s Dark Willow against all five players on VP. Those are overwhelming odds, but the pair mustered up just enough lockdown and damage to save their ancient and force out a stunning GG call.
The wild back-and-forth will likely go down as one of the most exciting Dota 2 moments of 2020, and prompted an outpouring of emotion from the Team Liquid squad.
Liquid vs. VP at DreamLeague Leipzig Major carries big ramifications
The victory is a huge one for Team Liquid. Liquid wasn’t in a bad spot entering the tournament, but their poor performance at ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore cast doubt on their capabilities.
Following that up with a last-place performance at DreamLeague Season 13 would have been a devastating blow for the team. Though the team still has a rocky road ahead of it, this win should serve to both boost morale for the team and inspire confidence among Liquid’s fans.
As for Virtus.pro, the organization’s reboot of its roster continues to be a questionable decision. Though the Russian team was one of 2019’s best, a flop at The International 2019 prompted the organization to largely disband its enduring squad.
While VP is clearly focused on winning championships, the new lineup has underwhelmed at each step so far. They could still turn things around with time, but patience isn’t especially common in pro Dota 2.