The lower bracket finals of EPICENTER XL were finally upon us as Team Liquid and FlyToMoon were set to play in a best-of-three series to decide who would head to the Grand Finals. The series was one of epic proportions, as both teams put their best foot forward and threw everything at each other.
FlyToMoon were making massive strides at EPICENTER XL, beating some of the biggest and best teams in the Dota 2 world. Today they would be going up against the current champions of The International – although they did face them in the group stages. A win for the CIS squad would carry them straight into the Grand Finals where PSG.LGD await them. But Liquid would definitely be searching for a victory, even though the team had already assured themselves a return to TI this year through DPC points. After a loss to LGD yesterday, they would want to push into the Grand Finals and have another shot at defeating the Chinese team.
The first game of the series was amazing from the CIS squad as they started off strong and did not take their foot off the gas. Liquid just did not seem to get a grip on the game as Lasse ‘Matumbaman’ Urpalainen fell constantly in the early game while the team’s one hope, Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi never really made the impact of his Anti-Mage truly felt. FTM were able to always find the better fights, either completely wiping the entire Liquid team or at least 4 of them.
While Liquid made a great attempt to come back into the game by grabbing an aegis for Mirace, it fell to pieces once more when FTM instantly reacted and removed them from the map once more. What followed was constant pressure from the Underdogs and a GG call from Liquid in 40 minutes as Bogdan ‘Iceberg’ Vasilenko’s Storm Spirit ran rampant through his opponents – ending on 26-4.
Game two would require a win from Liquid for them to stay alive in the tournament and things started of well for them too. But it did not last long as FTM begun to pull ahead, finding the better initiations to secure a very good lead – however, the pressure seemed to suddenly get to the CIS squad as they started to bleed kills and be caught out by Liquid. Miracle’s Slark began to lead the way of the Liquid comebacka after being shutdown for most of the game and suddenly Liquid were ready to fight.
A mistake from Miracle almost cost Liquid their advantage but the team rallied and wiped FTM from the map before solidifying their lead with an aegis and the mid lane barracks. From this point on, Liquid were unstoppable and as they melted both heroes and buildings in FTM’s base GG came out and we’d be going to a game three.
The decisive game of the series which would determine which team would move on to the Grand Finals and which would be eliminated from EPICENTER XL with an admirable 3rd place was not the blood bath that we saw in the previous 2 games, but it was still just as great. FTM’s nerves definitely got the better of them, while Liquid showed why they were TI champions. Maroun ‘GH’ Merhej and Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi Takhasomi were the 2 playmaking supports on Liquid which ensured the victory for the team as they kept their cool and ripped through their CIS opponents.
Unfortunately the incredible run of FlyToMoon comes to an end as they exit EPICENTER XL – but they should definitely keep their heads held high after their amazing performances. Team Liquid will move on to face PSG.LGD for the 3rd time at EPICENTER XL – this rematch would decide who would take the Major title.
EPICENTER XL, Playoff
Team Liquid advance to the Grand Final!
— EPICENTER (@epicentergg) May 6, 2018