Team Liquid wins first event since 2018 at ESL One Germany

Steven R. November 1, 2020

The current Team Liquid roster pulled off its greatest tournament victory ever.

Liquid has won ESL One Germany, defeating Natus Vincere in 3-1 fashion. This is the biggest win for the tight-knit team and their biggest paycheck since forming in 2017.

The series initially looked ready to close in potentially record-breaking fashion. Liquid secured dominant, 30-minute victories in the first two games of the finals. Both maps saw Liquid get the better of early skirmishes and never give away the team fights Natus Vincere needed to get back into contention, leading to a lopsided kill line that combined to 66-17.

Natus Vincere clapped back in game three. Despite looking out of sorts in the first two games, Na`Vi was rock solid in game three.

Bogdan "Iceberg" Vasilenko struggled throughout game three to stay alive, dying six times in the first 20 minutes of the game, but the trades just kept coming through. Na`Vi kept thier foot on the gas from there and built up a lead. Liquid kept things interesting, but the CIS squad never came close to giving away control and notched a win as a result.

The final game was a familiar sort of race for Dota 2 fans. Team Liquid kept the pressure on and scored a number of successful ganks while Na`Vi’s Alik "V-Tune" Vorobey played as Anti-Mage and just focused on farming. The one vs. five approach doesn’t typically pay off in pro games, however.

Samuel "Boxi" Svahn farmed just as effectively as V-Tune did with his Juggernaut, and a team wipe for Liquid saw things slip out of reach for Natus Vincere. Liquid got their snowball rolling and pushed their way to the championship from there.

With that victory, the Team Liquid organization won its first Dota 2 tournament since 2018’s MegaFon Winter Clash. This is also the biggest win to date for Team Liquid’s current roster.

Team Liquid back at the top of the Dota 2 scene?

The current Team Liquid roster has been an anomaly in Dota 2. While Dota 2 typically sees teams form and dissolve within a year, the core of this lineup came together in 2017 and has been completely steady since 2018. That has allowed the current Liquid squad to grow together and become a serious contender despite competing in an incredibly crowded European scene. 

To date, the team’s largest tournament victory came at DOTA Summit 10 while competing as Alliance. Both in terms of the strength of competition and the prize pool value, winning ESL One Germany is a much bigger achievement.

Can Liquid keep this up, though? That’s hard to say, but it isn’t impossible.

The current Liquid lineup has been generally strong against most opponents but has been a definitive cut below Europe’s best in 2020. Liquid has been able to out-perform the likes of Na`Vi, Ninjas in Pyjamas, HellRaisers, and other solid teams, but has a losing head-to-head record against Alliance and Vikin.gg. The team’s record against Team Secret and Team Nigma is even worse, going 3-8 in series against either team.

Liquid’s strong lower bracket run in ESL One Germany saw the team beat both Secret and Nigma. If they can do that with any kind of frequency, this will help turn Liquid back into a top Dota 2 team for the first time since Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi left to form Nigma.

Liquid is set to return in short order to compete in the Epic League, where Nigma and Secret will also be set to compete. If the team can achieve a similar victory there, it will be time to start looking at them as serious contenders.