The participants for the grand finals of The International 2019 have been decided.
Liquid are now poised to complete one of the most surprising runs in The International history, playing their way to the finals despite starting in the lower bracket.
Game one was a race against the clock for Team Liquid. While the team drafted a lineup that included overwhelming burst damage potential, PSG.LGD countered by putting Wang “Ame” Chunyu on Spectre. In an unconventional move, he rushed Hand of Midas to go all-in on late-game potency.
Liquid found plenty of kills early thanks to Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov’s Avalanche-Toss combos on Tiny and Aliwi “w33” Omar’s Tinker, but they weren’t able to match PSG.LGD’s fast-farming potential. The Chinese squad’s lead steadily grew and forced Liquid into desperation mode, but PSG.LGD itemized perfectly in anticipation of that.
Ame grabbed a Heart of Tarrasque and then an Eye of Skadi, making him too bulky to burst down. Meanwhile, Yang “Chalice“‘ Shenyi on Centaur Warrunner found comparable farm and invested it all into tankiness. With no way to effectively get through PSG.LGD’s beefy front line, Liquid fell further behind.
They managed to stall the game out with a few impressive high ground holds, but PSG.LGD kept the pressure on and forced out the GG call to take game one.
Game two saw PSG.LGD give Team Liquid a taste of their own medicine with a last pick Huskar. Though the hero has changed over the years, closing drafts with Huskar was a big part of Liquid’s first-place finish at The International 2017.
All three lanes went well for PSG.LGD. Huskar served as a natural counter to w33’s Templar Assassin for Lu “Maybe” Yao while Ame won his lane as Lifestealer. Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi had a rough go in the bottom lane as well, as constant spell spam kept him from comfortably farming.
MinD_ContRoL kept Liquid in a decent position in the mid game thanks to some amazing Vacuum plays with Dark Seer, but PSG.LGD gained a larger farm and experience advantage. They also controlled the area around Roshan, which allowed them to take Aegis and seek high ground.
Liquid’s high ground defense shined from there. They ended up sacrificing two lanes of barracks, but managed to score enough kills and force sufficient buybacks to swing the gold and experience leads back in their favor.
As the late game came, the Huskar pick became a hindrance. While Liquid had cores that scaled well into the late game in Sven and Templar Assassin, PSG.LGD’s Huskar lacked the damage output necessary to keep up. That allowed Liquid to build up their advantage and tie the series.
Game three started disastrously for PSG.LGD. The team inexplicably picked Shadow Fiend for Maybe even though Liquid had already locked in Templar Assassin for w33. Though Maybe is one of the world’s best Shadow Fiends, he just didn’t have the tools to break through Templar Assassin’s Refraction ability.
This allowed w33 to jump out to an early lead while Miracle- got off to a strong start of his own on Wraith King.
PSG.LGD instantly went into desperation mode, taking two consecutive bad fights after botched initiations. This gave Liquid an almost insurmountable lead.
Liquid didn’t go for the kill instantly. They slowly choked the life out of PSG.LGD. Aggressive ward placement and excellent wave clear kept the Chinese squad inside their base for more than half of the game’s duration. Liquid chipped away at the towers and barracks and PSG.LGD had no way to return fire. The end came at the 36-minute mark, giving Liquid the 2-1 series victory.
The winner will receive the top prize, which is worth $15,578,100. Nearly all the players involved have the chance to become the first two-time The International champions.
The winners will also shoot up the list of the all-time winningest esports competitors of all-time thanks to the tremendous amount of money on the line. The top prize is worth more than $3 million for each individual player on the winning team.