Steven R. February 21, 2019
Team Liquid has a real chance to win its first major.
The North American organization proved as much in its Legends Stage showdown with Natus Vincere, posting a convincing 2-0 win. By overcoming Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, Liquid advanced its record to 3-0 and punched a ticket to the Champions Stage playoff.
The match initially seemed destined to be the most competitive of the Katowice Major. Facing off on Mirage, Na’Vi and Liquid went tit for tat across 30 rounds. Neither team let the other gain any kind of sustained momentum as they traded back and forth. Liquid was fortunate enough to have the upper hand in the final frames, and squeaked its way to a 16-14 win.
That exciting competition went out the window when Liquid had the chance to take things to Dust 2. Spurred on by a 26-13 performance from Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, Liquid rallied from an average first half to take eight of the game’s final 10 rounds, sealing up the map and the series.
The victory was exactly the kind of performance Liquid needed to close out its run in the Legends Stage.
Despite Liquid being a legitimate contender in the tournament, few fans or pundits have bought into the idea that anyone can topple Astralis in Katowice. While that is justifiable given the Danish team’s extraordinary 2018, Liquid recently proved itself to be a legitimate rival to Astralis by besting them in the grand final at iBUYPOWER Masters IV. Taking a clean win over an elite opponent in Na’Vi shows that the team remains in top form, and is very capable of taking on the favorites.
For its part, Astralis qualified for the Champions Stage just hours before Liquid, defeating Renegades 2-1. The two landed on opposite ends of playoffs bracket, meaning they won’t cross paths unless they each make the grand final.