Team Liquid go undefeated, including a 3-0 performance against Natus Vincere in the Grand Finals, to win the six-team MegaFon Winter Clash LAN tournament and take home the lion’s share of the $300,000 prize pool.
If there ever was a way to make a statement, it would be winning a tournament that featured some of the best teams in the world. After failing to make it to the Kuala Lumpur Major and deciding to skip the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor, Team Liquid seem to have now finally regained their form. In particular, their star carry and mid player, Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi, was in top form the entire tournament, amassing a stat line headlined by 94 kills with only 6 deaths.
With the win, Team Liquid will take home $150,000 and the trophy. But, perhaps more importantly, the former TI7 champions have put themselves back on the proverbial map.
MegaFon Winter Clash Grand Finals Recap
As the biggest underdogs of the tournament, many did not expect Natus Vincere to make it all the way to the Grand Finals. But, alas, there they were after beating one of the heavy favourites, PSG.LGD, to earn their spot.
With Team Liquid boasting a one-game advantage by coming from the upper brackets, however, the onus was on Natus Vincere to put on a show for the hometown crowd, especially after their champions, Virtus.Pro, were eliminated early on in the tournament. Unfortunately for Natus Vincere, their opponents, Team Liquid were just too good for them.
Having yet to drop a single game all tournament long, Team Liquid continued their dominant performance. They simply out-rotated and outmaneuvered Natus Vincere. This is despite playing unconventional and off-meta picks. This included, among others, a Dazzle mid for Lasse Aukusti ‘MATUMBAMAN‘ Urpalainen in Game 1 of the Grand Finals. But, as weird as that was, it was even weirder to see Miracle- on Meepo.
A hero seldom picked in competitive matches and even rare to see played by Miracle-, the Jordanian professional Dota 2 player crushed it with his performance on the micro-intensive hero. Not only did he gobble up the entire map to the tune of 366 last hits in 28~ minutes, he also posted a 19-0 record.
While we can’t really expect Miracle to consistently play as well as he did on Meepo going forward, it’s a scary thought that one of the best players in the world have finally learned to play one of the cheesiest hero in the game in a competitive setting.
Just How Important is the MegaFon Winter Clash?
Since the introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit during the 2017-18 season, the validity of non-DPC tournaments have been put into question by the community. After all, how important is a tournament that has no bearing on their chances at a slot at a TI? But, last year, there were relatively few tournaments, and arguably none that the top teams had attended.
This year, with a more spaced out schedule, there are far more events with sizeable prize pools. Already, we’ve seen the PVP Esports Championships, ESL One Hamburg 2018, and this, the MegaFon Winter Clash. Next year will likely have more. This, then begs the question, just how important and valid are the results from tournaments like these?
Natus Vincere outperformed initial expectations by making it to the Grand Finals. However, they are also the same team that failed to make it to the Chongqing Major recently and lost in the Open Qualifiers of the Bucharest Minor. Meanwhile, we saw Team Secret and Virtus.Pro, arguably the two best Dota 2 teams right now, run meme drafts. It was as if they had more to lose if they played well and gave away their strategies.
Ultimately, the only people who can answer this question is the teams themselves. As viewers, we can only hope to see more tournaments like the MegaFon Winter Clash. Whether or not the top teams in attendance take them seriously, the fact is, they are good for the audience and for the competitive scene overall.
What do you think of Team Liquid’s performance at the MegaFon Winter Clash? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.