All eyes were on Team Liquid and Fnatic as they duked it out at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney with the IEM Sydney 2019 trophy and the lion’s share of the prize pool on the line.
Team Liquid fans, in particular, were on the edge of their proverbial seats. After all, for the North American powerhouse, there was no more iconic duo than their current lineup (and last year’s) and coming in second in big events. Losing against Astralis was no longer a valid excuse as well. Not after they lost against mousesports in the Grand Finals of the ESL New York 2018, highlighted by their infamous 14-9 choke during the fourth map of the series on Dust2.
At the end of the day, however, Team Liquid delivered.
The series, which went to a fifth deciding game, may taken much more longer than expected to end — Team Liquid had yet to drop a map entering the Grand Finals — but the result was welcome all the same.
By winning the IEM Sydney 2019, Team Liquid can finally say that they’ve got the monkey off of their backs. They’ll go home with $100,000 richer with a big event trophy finally in hand. Meanwhile, Fnatic, who played their heart out the entire series, will pocket $42,000 after their second-place loss.
Liquid Show Grit in IEM Sydney 2019 Win
The main knack on Team Liquid was not their talent or skill, but their lack of grit. Many believed that, while Team Liquid could comfortably win games when ahead, they had trouble coming back from behind, especially when the tables were turned against them.
Many assumed that this would happen at the IEM Sydney 2019, especially after Fnatic tied the series 2-2 following a huge 16-6 win on Dust2, which historically has been favoured towards the side of Team Liquid. But, instead of letting the loss on one of their better maps get to them, Team Liquid used it as motivation to do better on the decider map, Inferno, racing out to a 10-2 lead on CT side before ending the round with a comfortable 11-4 lead.
Now having switched to the T side, Team Liquid did not let up. Round after round, they stuck to their gameplan, and with a standout performance from Russel ‘Twistzz‘ Van Dulken, who pulled off a quad kill (his second on the map) to secure a 14-4 lead, that was pretty much all she wrote for Fnatic. Although the Swedes did try to string together a couple of solid rounds to threaten a comeback, pulling the series score to as close as 14-9, it was all too late.
Team Liquid’s lead was just too big, and despite a questionable buy, the North Americans were able to secure championship point and end the series.
Following their huge IEM Sydney 2019 win, Team Liquid will be going on quite the long break. Their next tournament will be at the DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019, where they’ll look to finally hoist a trophy in front of their homecrowd. The same goes for Fnatic, who will want to keep up their current string of solid performances, and hopefully, help reach another high point with a title finish.
Team Liquid and Astralis now find themselves tied in first place on the Intel Grand Slam Season 2 leader boards with one win apiece.
Copyright: ESL / Helena Kristiansson
What do you think was the biggest takeaway from Team Liquid’s win at the IEM Sydney 2019? Was it a case of Astralis not simply being there to beat them? Or has Team Liquid finally figured out how to win championships? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.