In round two of the Legends Stage, NRG upset North American rivals Team Liquid. This advances them to 2-0 in the stage. They’re just one series away from qualifying for the Champions Stage playoffs.
The showdown on Dust 2 started off in ugly fashion for Liquid. Despite winning the pistol round, NRG denied the conversion and proceeded to batter Liquid for eight rounds, with Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov looking untouchable on the AWP.
But as he so often has over recent months, Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski stepped up for Liquid to settle things down. He sparked a short rally for his team, helping them narrow the gap to 9-6 by tallying 19 kills in the first half.
Liquid seemed poised to tie things up after winning the second pistol round, but converting once again proved to be an issue. Despite scoring two opening frags, Ethan “Ethan” Arnold exploded with a round-stealing Five-Seven triple kill for NRG to put Liquid into an incredibly difficult position.
That forced Liquid into needing to play perfectly for the remainder of the game in order to maintain any hope of victory, but NRG was operating at too high of a level to do so. CeRq’s AWP remained deadly while the rest of the team remained sharp, allowing NRG to close out the game 16-9.
It’s a surprising turn of events for Liquid and its fans, and one that likely plants a seed of doubt when it comes to the team’s chances of actually winning this major.
The squad entered as the clear favorites after taking first place in six straight live tournaments, including ESL One Cologne and the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals. Despite that, Liquid just hasn’t looked as untouchably good in Berlin as they have in previous events.
Their tournament opened with a strong 16-9 win over CR4ZY, but the team needed to make a bit of a comeback in order to do so. In a vacuum, that early shakiness against CR4ZY isn’t a big deal. But now it’s a bit worrisome.
Liquid fans don’t need to hit the panic button quite yet, though. The team is 1-1 in the Legends Stage, and are still positioned to get the best matchups possible moving forward. They are still close to being shoe-ins for the Berlin Major’s Champions Stage.
That said, picking out the favorite to win the event is much more difficult than it was a few days ago.