Liquid have hoisted the trophy, stood in the confetti rain, and added $100,000 to their winnings. The North American squad were crowned champions of IEM Sydney following a 3-2 victory in an intense series against fnatic.
While the Swedish side was unable to best Jake “stewie2k” Yip and company, they have shown improvements. The team handled Cache well, put up nail biting fight on Overpass and dominated on Dust2. The loss on Overpass coupled with single digit losses on Mirage and Inferno by fnatic saw Liquid victorious.
I’ve decided to jot down three points I think are worth talking about following the series.
fnatic: confidence is key and can make them the most fun to watch
While the roster is not the same, fnatic’s reign of terror in 2015 is often remembered for the extreme lack of respect the Swedes had for their opponents in the server.
Jesper “JW” Wecksell showed us this same style of in your face aggressive play coupled with flashy moments. Taking his AWP into risky positions, catching his opponents off guard again and again as he maneuvered around the map picking Liquid apart. Cache, in particular, comes to mind.
He wasn’t alone in this either as Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin showcased just how dangerous he can be. The player had no problem pushing the limits to gain map control and forcing Liquid into uncomfortable positions.
Win or lose, this style gives viewers some of the most exciting Counter-Strike to witness. I look forward to fnatic’s matches as they continue to improve upon and add variety to this approach with the tools they have on the squad.
Liquid: mental barrier isn’t as bad as we were starting to think
There were a lot of question marks regarding whether or not Liquid simply couldn’t handle the mental pressure of the big stage. The team had taken home so little trophies for being as good as they are on paper.
While many of these can be tallied up to taking on the Danes of Astralis who seem to be a step ahead of the rest, it still began to be a question that had to be asked. Is Liquid doomed to for “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”
Several top figures in the scene had publicly stated a loss in Sydney would all but guarantee this to be the case. Liquid was able to pull it off though and will now have a little added confidence. If they can get stewie firing too…
Liquid: stewie doesn’t have to be a star (but it’d be nice)
stewie didn’t impress in the finals. The former Cloud9 and MIBR player finished the five map series with a -23 kill-to-death ratio. The next up on his team was Nick “nitr0” Cannella who had +26 on him a +3 for the series. In terms of average damage per round, he was the lowest in the server, coming in at .1 behind twist who bottomed out on fnatic’s side.
While the North Americans still prevailed, you can’t help but wonder how the series would have gone if their most recent addition showed up. In addition, how will future matches go if the play is similar, especially against a team like Astralis.
I was an immediate believer and still am in stewie and this lineup. I think the move that saw him join Liquid ultimately makes Liquid more dangerous but we didn’t see it reach that level in Sydney. I suppose a slight underperformance can be outweighed by a trophy though!