Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi proves to be the difference maker for Team Liquid once again as they take home the trophy and a huge chunk of the $300,000 prize pool at MDL Macau 2019.
MDL Macau 2019 serves as just the second LAN tournament Team Liquid have attended this season with their complete lineup. The former The International 2017 champions previously made their season LAN debut at the MegaFon Winter Clash, which they also won. The team was set to compete with their full lineup at the Chongqing Major. However, Team Liquid announced that they were going to be without their superstar mid player just a few days before the tournament due to personal reasons. Instead, they were forced to play with former The International 2016 champion, Chu ‘shadow‘ Zeyu, as their stand-in, who, despite performing admirably, just could not get over the communication barrier as Team Liquid could only muster a top-8 finish.
With their complete lineup in tow, Team Liquid demolished everyone at MDL Macau 2019. Although their 5-2 record in the group stage doesn’t suggest that they dominated the field, the eye test proves otherwise. Not to mention, in the playoffs, Team Liquid proceeded to drop only a single game — Evil Geniuses prevented a sweep after winning Game 3 of the grand finals — en route to winning the tournament.
Miracle, in particular, was exceptionally brilliant, leading all players in average KDA and making heroes with low winrate, such as Sven, work and look like an effective pick.
With the win, Team Liquid will now take home the trophy and $135,000 in prize money. Meanwhile, the runner-ups, Evil Geniuses, will pocket $60,000. Third-place finishers, Virtus.Pro, and fourth-place finishers, Newbee, will each receive $37,500 and $22,500, respectively.
Team Liquid Show their Class
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when it’s all said and done and the players go their separate ways, this iteration of Team Liquid will go down in history as the best Dota 2 team ever assembled.
We’re probably immune already to their excellence, but if we try and dig deep and look at the numbers, they’re already on top. Case in point, all five players of this current lineup own the highest LAN win percentage in Dota 2 history (with minimum 100 LAN games played), with Lasse Aukusti ‘MATUMBAMAN‘ Urpalainen the lowest at 64.44% and the highest belonging to Maroun ‘GH‘ Merhej at 68.58%.
Team Liquid may not have been able to accomplish their goal as the first TI champions to go back to back, but they’ve still got a chance to be the first to win two.
Even if we haven’t seen Team Liquid perform when it counts the most yet this season — their full lineup have yet to make an appearance at a Major — there’s very little doubt that they’ll remain just as brilliant once they get there.
Barring any last-minute problems, Team Liquid will finally get a chance to win a Major at the DreamLeague Season 11 in late March.
Should Valve Penalize Teams for Not Trying Their Best?
Virtus.Pro caught flack earlier at MDL Macau 2019 when the cameras caught Vladimir ‘No[o]ne‘ Minenko and Pavel ‘9pasha‘ Khvastunov playing Apex Legends in the middle of the draft during their match against EHOME.
Although there were those who dismissed it at harmless fun, one simply just can’t deny the fact that Virtus.Pro probably weren’t taking the tournament as seriously as they should have. This is especially true when you look at their 2-5 record during the group stages, which is uncharacteristic, to say the least, for a team who has already won five Majors and boast arguably one of the winningest lineups in Dota 2 history.
There were already speculations that Virtus.Pro only took the invitation to play at MDL Macau 2019 because it was close to Changsha, where the LAN finals of WESG 2018 will be played later on March 7-10.
With zero incentive to try their best — Virtus.Pro, along with Team Secret, have already mathematically secured their invite to The International 2019 — you can’t really blame Virtus.Pro for not taking the tournament seriously. But, therein lies the problem.
A big draw like Virtus.Pro playing for fun puts the tournament organizers, sponsors, and audiences, at a huge disadvantage.
While Valve have often chosen to stay mum on such issues, when a big team like Virtus.Pro gets caught in one, they may have no choice but to speak out.
China is In Limbo
Normally, the Chinese Dota 2 teams start ramping up their performance after the Chinese year. It’s been a few weeks since, and there’s been no signs of a contender emerging just yet.
There are plenty of Tier 2 teams, however.
Outside of PSG.LGD, who arguably aren’t even close to Tier 1 right now, there are a handful of promising Chinese teams. This long list includes the likes of Royal Never Give Up, Newbee, EHOME, and Invictus Gaming, among others.
We’re still months away from The International 2019 in Shanghai, but we can’t help but worry about the current state of the Chinese teams.
MDL Macau 2019 may not have been a DPC event, but it was a big one. With teams like Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and Virtus.Pro, in attendance, we got to see some much-needed high-quality dotes.
It’s just a huge shame that it was scheduled to run at the same time as ESL One Katowice 2019.
Hopefully, tournament organizers can work better together going forward to prevent big tournaments from vying over the same viewership. But, then again, because of the difference in time zones, audiences found themselves treated to nearly 24 hours worth of Dota 2 for most of the past week, which is a good thing, I guess.
What do you think was the biggest takeaway at MDL Macau 2019? Do you think Team Liquid will continue performing as well when it counts the most? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.