Liquid Rivals: Dota 2 - Smashed Monitors and Mutual Respect

March 14 2019

Rivalries in Dota 2 between teams are somewhat rare. Not because players don't have beef with each other, but because the length of time the same group of players stay on one team is usually limited and patch changes often see the rise and fall of teams rather quickly. Due to these factors, rivalries often aren’t as noticeable and are easily forgotten. Even so there are still rivalries in Dota 2 that span years and Team Liquid is right in the center of a few of them.

During our iconic lower bracket run at TI7 we played some games that gave everyone watching heart palpitations. Team Secret pushed us to the edge, we broke the record of longest game ever played at The International against Virtus Pro, and then we had to take down both of LGD’s teams just to make it to the grand finals. While TI7 will always be remembered for our lower bracket run, the individual teams we faced have much more significance than first meets the eye.

There is one other interesting tidbit of information we discovered while writing this article. Of all the DPC Major’s that have taken place up to this point, TL, VP, Secret, and PSG.LGD have won all but two of them.

Team Liquid vs Team Secret: Kuro vs Puppey

Kuroky and Puppey have an intertwined history in Dota 2. They both played on Na`Vi back in 2013 and were a part of what would become known as El Classico to Dota fans around the world. They finished 2nd together at TI3 and while they went their separate ways, they reunited on Team Secret where they once again became one of the strongest teams in the world, with Kuroky being widely regarded as the best carry player in the scene at the time. He was partnered with one of the greatest captains the game has ever known, Puppey, and there is little doubt that some of Kuroky’s great leadership was learned from playing with him. After Kuroky left Team Secret he created his own team, that team would go on to become Team Liquid and it would immediately lead to the two teams meeting in the finals of the Shanghai Major. The two squads have played against each other many times over the past two years with Team Secret taking the edge overall.

However, when Secret and Liquid met in the lower bracket at TI7 it was Liquid that came out on top. Team Secret may have been the real starting point for our miraculous lower bracket run in retrospect, MC has stated that being able to take the win over Team Secret is what helped him personally recover; “Winning over Secret helped me recover a lot. I was kind of desperate after losing to IG so after the win against Secret I was very confident in myself.” We’ve played Secret a handful of times since then and they have remained a tough opponent, trading wins back and forth across multiple events.

At the upcoming DreamLeague Major we’ve been placed into the same group together for the first time in what seems like ages. Our performance against Team Secret is also a likely indicator of how well we tend to do in a tournament, which makes our matchup against them in the group stage all the more important. If we can beat them convincingly, we may also be looking at our 2nd Major championship of the DPC.

Team Liquid vs PSG.LGD: Liquid Are Doing It

“Sylar to fall, Liquid are doing it!”

It may have been done with our old NA roster but our victory over LGD at TI3 was a defining moment in Dota 2, not just for Team Liquid but for North American Dota as a whole. It was a true David vs Goliath story when we took on one of the tournament favourites in a bo1 elimination match. LGD was expected to be one of the top teams at the event, lead by “the director” Xiao8, and yet we found ourselves overcoming one of the most one-sided matchups of the entire event and made it into the top 8. While this win itself wasn’t enough to kickstart a rivalry between our organizations it serves as an important building block and contributes greatly to the storied past of both sides.

After our victories over Team Secret and Virtus Pro at TI7 we found ourselves up against what many fans dubbed “the great wall of China”. LGD, LGD.Forever Young, and Newbee remained between us and the Aegis. After their defeat, PSG.LGD emerged as the strongest team in China and along with that title came many more run-ins with us. While we beat them at StarLadder, they repaid the favor during DAC 2018 and Epicenter XL. At TI8 it was PSG.LGD who sent us to the lower bracket, effectively stopping us from claiming back-to-back championships.

Throughout many years and many different iterations of our teams, we’ve clashed with PSG.LGD.Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, but these moments have gone down in the annals of Dota 2’s history all the same.

Team Liquid vs Virtus Pro: Mutual Respect

Our rivalry with Virtus Pro started in 2016 when both teams began their rise to power, Team Liquid at the start of the year, and VP near the end of it. Whenever our teams collided during a tournament it would often result in some of the best games of the entire event. Both teams were virtually unstoppable and specialized in winning their lanes, and taking unbelievable team fights. This was true when we met them at Epicenter, TI7, The Bucharest Major, DreamLeague Season 8, and more than ever in the grand finals of the SuperMajor.

Nothing highlights this more than our record breaking match against them at TI7 which lasted for 103 minutes, had 89 kills, and no one could tell who was going to win until VP’s Ancient exploded. Every single time TL runs into Virtus Pro during a tournament there is no telling who will come out the victor. For a period of time there was no one besides us who could stop VP as they rolled through opponents one after another. With the two sides often trading blows, it is no wonder that Virtus Pro’s name comes up whenever we think of some of our greatest victories, and also some of our more crushing defeats. For as long as we have tried to remain at the top of competitive Dota, Virtus Pro have been there too, neither team ever getting too far ahead of the other.