Road to Seattle: Team Liquid

Formed right after TI5, Team Liquid wasted no time establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the world.

After dominating throughout the whole season, Team Liquid received a direct invite to TI6. However, despite coming in as one of the heavy favourites, the team ended up getting eliminated by Fnatic and went home with a 7th-8th place finish.

Now, Team Liquid head into TI7 with a new look as, once again, one of the direct invites and favourites to win the whole thing.

Miracle- Joins Team Liquid

Post-TI shuffles are always messy; teams rarely stick with the same squad for the following season.

Team Liquid was not an exception.

Following their 7th-8th finish at TI6, Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka, left for Team OG. Adrian ‘FATA-‘ Trinks soon followed after announcing his intention to take a break from competitive play.

In their place were was Team OG’s break out mid player and the first-ever to reach 9K MMR, Miracle- and former Team Secret player, BuLba.

Despite adding one of the best mid players in the world, however, the team struggled and even had to resort to experimenting with different team compositions. Noteworthy, in particular, was Team Liquid’s role-swap during the Boston Regional qualifiers, as KuroKy switched roles with MATUMBAMAN. 

While this led to some success, it wasn’t enough as the team failed to qualify for the Boston Major.

This prompted the team to bring in another player, GH, to replace BuLba.

The experiment proved to be a success as Team Liquid were crowned DreamLeague Season 6 champions near the end of 2016.

The success carried over to earlier this 2017, as they qualified for the StarSeries Season 3 LAN Finals and DAC 2017 tournaments.

While they would go on to win the former convincingly, the latter served as a reminder for the team that they still had much to do as they finished in 9th-12th place, eliminated by the now-disbanded Team Faceless. 

The Kiev Major saw yet another disappointing run from Team Liquid as they finished in 5th-8th place.

The Fight For a Direct Invite

Post-Kiev, four teams looked like clear favourites to receive direct invites: Team OG, Evil Geniuses, Virtus Pro and Invictus Gaming. 

Team Liquid must’ve known then just how little their chances of getting a direct invite were if their performance didn’t improve because that’s exactly what they did.

Choosing to stick with their current squad, Team Liquid finished the group stages of their first post-Kiev LAN, StarLadder i-League Invitational #2, without dropping a single game.

In the Grand Finals, the revamped SEA squad, TNC Pro Team, gave Team Liquid a lot of trouble as the series went back and forth. In the end, however, Team Liquid proved to be the better team as they took Game 5 and with it, their 2nd title in 2017.

Two titles in small tournaments, however, isn’t enough to secure a direct invite.

So, Team Liquid went on to successfully defend their title at EPICENTER 2017, taking down Evil Geniuses in the Grand Finals 3-1. It was also only fitting that they notched the win on the backs of their two new-comers, Miracle- and GH. 

With two LAN titles in a span of a month, Team Liquid had made sure that they didn’t need to go through the qualifiers to play at TI7.

Will They Finally Make It All The Way?

  • Lasse ‘MATUMBAMAN’ Urpalainen
  • Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi
  • Ivan ‘MinD_ContRoL’ Borislavov
  • Maroun ‘GH’ Merhej
  • Kuro Salehi ‘KuroKy’ Takhasomi

It’s safe to say that Team Liquid are surging at the right time and with a patch that favours their early game aggression at that.

Are they the heavy favourites? Well, they are the No. 1 team in our latest power rankings and the betting odds seem to favour them as well.

As of July 12, Pinnacle’s betting odds seem to favour Team Liquid the most, followed by Virtus Pro, Evil Geniuses and then OG. 

Team Liquid are set to appear at DreamLeague Season 7 on the 22nd and 23rd, roughly a week before the TI7 group stages start on August 2nd.

Although of no significance, the tournament should serve as a way to see just how much the team has improved after weeks of preparing for The International 2017.

Be sure to follow us here at Esportsranks for the latest on your favourite Esports titles and for our next “Road to Seattle” feature, where we’ll shine the spotlight on the four-time Major winners, OG.