The Liquid Review - September 2023
Happy Thursday folks,
October is a homecoming month for esports this year. The LoL World Championship returns to Korea, just as The International returns to its roots in Seattle. And with Liquid’s Brazilian Squad qualifying to the Game Changers World Championships, we’ll get to take a very short trip to the CBLOL Studio in São Paulo.
In Team Liquid news this month, the Cavlary said goodbye to long-time StarCraft II pro Kelazhur as well as Soulcas and Sayf from the VALORANT team. With rumors that Redgar might be departing as well, Liquid will likely look very different next year.
In happier news, though, Team Liquid is hosting the Liquid Open, a VALORANT tournament across three regions where anyone can test their mettle. Liquid also finished up the third Eve Ascension tournament for women and gender minorities in World of Warcraft. Congratulations to Five G for winning the tournament!
League of Legends:
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS // AHEAD:
- 2023 World Championship
- Swiss Stage - October 19-29
- Knockout - November 2-19
Worlds 2023 is finally here, and after five years, Liquid returns to Korea, ready to upset expectations and go further than anyone expects from a North American team. Most of the team flew out in late August after finals weekend, and CoreJJ and the coaches arrived a couple weeks ago. Liquid set up a bootcamp at LiivSANDBOX’s facility upon arrival and have been grinding ever since. The team has been grinding so much, in fact, that the socials have gone uncharacteristically quiet. I mean, I’ve been living off APA tweets for more than a month!
First penta on KR server pic.twitter.com/82N5CCm6Yf— TL HONDA APA (@alwaysplanahea1) August 29, 2023
Not that I’m complaining. It tells me that Team Liquid has come to Korea early to focus and eliminate distractions. With the caliber of opponents that come to Worlds every year, it makes a lot of sense. Liquid has to face down the four best teams from both Korea and China, as well as the three best teams from EU and NA (we all know Golden Guardians is going to demolish BDS).
For the first time ever, Worlds is trying out a Swiss format, sidestepping the dreaded group stage that spelled the doom of every Team Liquid Worlds campaign since our first appearance in Korea in 2018. Liquid will be randomly paired against a random non-North American team in the first round. If we win, we’ll face another 1-0 team in the second round; if we lose, we’ll see an 0-1 team. Over the course of five rounds, Liquid needs to win three matches, including best-of-three wins to advance from two wins or avoid elimination from two losses. The Swiss system will pare 16 teams down to eight, who will then all compete in the single-elimination bracket Knockout Stage in November.
Dota 2 // AHEAD:
- Group Stage - October 12-15
- Main Event - October 20-29
DotA’s biggest tournament of the year returns to Seattle this month for the first time since 2017, and Team Liquid are one of the teams to beat at the tournament. TI is the culmination of a year where Liquid has been a dominant team against anyone not named Gaimin Gladiators. But despite our tough track record in Grand Finals, all bets are completely off for The International. After all, the last time TI came to Seattle, a certain team with a horsie on their jerseys made the greatest lower-bracket run of all time.
Both DotA and Liquid have clearly changed since we won the Aegis, but Team Liquid’s ambitions remain the same: it’s time to win TI.
Valve is also changing up the format for the first time since 2014 (which, coincidentally, was Liquid’s first appearance at TI ever). Instead of two large groups, the 20 teams will split into four groups of five, playing a single best-of-two round robin. The bottom team from each group gets eliminated, and the remaining sixteen teams play a single best-of-three to determine whether they begin their bracket run in the upper or lower bracket. Although the tournament starts in literally a week, Valve still hasn’t announced the groups yet. Whoever we face, however, Liquid will be ready.
Valorant // Results:
- VCT 2023: Game Changers Brazil Series 2 - 1st!
- 2-0 vs PROJECT Z
- 13-1 on Ascent
- 13-4 on Pearl
- 2-1 vs Legacy
- 11-13 on Lotus
- 13-5 on Bind
- 13-5 on Split
- 2-0 vs LOUD GC
- 13-7 on Split
- 13-8 on Haven
- 3-1 vs LOUD GC
- 13-9 on Bind
- 13-9 on Split
- 5-13 on Haven
- 13-11 on Lotus
WE’RE GOING TO SÃO PAULO!!!
LOOK AT THEM 🐐 CONGRATULATIONS!!! 🏆💙— Team Liquid Valorant (@LiquidValorant) October 2, 2023
Representing 🇧🇷 at worlds once again! VAMOSSSS https://t.co/vHZickI84X
Team Liquid’s historically dominant Game Changers team faced much more adversity this year, as the level of competition has risen dramatically. Both LOUD and Legacy (FKA 00 Nation and Fake Natty) took series’ off Team Liquid during the qualifier process, and both teams challenged Liquid in the Main Event as well.
In the upper-bracket semifinal, Legacy’s MeL led her team to a map 1 win on Lotus, but Liquid was able to limit her to single-digit kills on the next maps, ensuring lopsided victories in both. Liquid took two comfortable wins against LOUD, despite a valiant effort from Jelly, LOUD’s eponymous star from when the team was still called jelly e amigas. The Grand Final brought a rematch against LOUD, which Liquid won handily in a 3-1.
The win means Liquid will once again represent Brazil at the Game Changers World Championship in São Paulo this November. With a star-studded lineup and home field advantage, the Cavalry will try to improve on its bronze medal finish from last year.
Fortnite // Ahead:
- FNCS 2023 - Global Championship - October 14-15
Brazilian Fortnite phenom Persa and his duo Diguera round out the list of Liquid World Championships taking place this month. Persa’s stellar finishes at the FNCS Regional competitions earned him a spot in the Lower Bracket of the FNCS 2023 Global Championship in the Royal Arena of Copenhagen.
Since Persa begins his run in the Lower Bracket, he’ll have five matches to earn the most points based on placement and eliminations. If he and Diguera end in the top 25 duos, they’ll advance to the Grand Finals on the 15th. The Grand Finals includes six more matches, where the top 50 duos will compete to be crowned World Champion.
Counter-Strike // Results:
- ESL Pro League Season 18
- 1-2 vs VP
- 11-16 on Inferno
- 19-17 on Mirage
- 14-16 on Anubis
- 2-0 vs Lynn Vision
- 16-9 on Anubis
- 16-6 on Ancient
- 2-1 vs Cloud9
- 16-11 on Ancient
- 14-16 on Inferno
- 16-12 on Mirage
- 1-2 vs VP
- 16-12 on Inferno
- 14-16 on Ancient
- 6-16 on Vertigo
- 0-2 vs Eternal Fire
- 12-16 on Vertigo
- 6-16 on Mirage
Counter-Strike // Ahead:
- BLAST Premier: Fall Showdown 2023
- Quarterfinals vs Forsaken - October 5 at 14:00 EDT
- Semifinals - October 7 at 12:00 EDT
- Grand Final - October 8 at 14:00 EDT
Team Liquid had another disappointing finish in the ESL Proleague last month. Although the Cavlary picked up a win against a struggling Cloud9, disappointing losses to Virtus.Pro and Eternal Fire ended Liquid’s run early, and the Squad once again failed to make it out of the group stage.
As the sun sets on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and rises on CS2, Liquid has had a rocky few months. Perhaps the final tournament of CS:GO for Liquid will be the BLAST Fall Showdown that began yesterday. Liquid’s first match is today at 2:00 pm.
Liquid has announced that for the upcoming BLAST Fall Showdown, Rainwaker has been benched, and Liquid's coach Daps is stepping in, taking over YEKINDAR'S role as IGL. Far be it from someone who doesn't even play the game to criticize, but the move strikes me as premature. We brought up a rookie and said we believed in him. Now we're giving up after just four events and two months?
Rainbow 6: Siege:
Rainbow 6: Siege // Results:
- Brazil League 2023 - Stage 2
- E1 - 2x7 on Oregon
- VKS - 8x6 on Bank
- w7m - 7x8 on Border
- mibr - 7x8 on Skyscraper
- Qualifier Playoffs
- ELES - 7x1 on Clubhouse
- IWNL - 7x0 on Consulate
- mibr - 8x6 on Consulate
Rainbow 6: Siege // Ahead:
- Brazil League 2023 - Qualifier Knockout - October 7
- Last Chance Qualifier - October 12-15.
Liquid`Siege was punished last month for its slow start to the season, and a dreadful 2x7 loss to newcomer E1 Sports ultimately proved fatal to Liquid’s playoff chances after the dust for the tiebreakers settled. That means that Liquid has only one more shot to qualify for the Atlanta Major. Liquid has made it through the Swiss stage of the open qualifier tournament, and into the Knockout Stage. We need to win one best-of-three to make it to the Last Chance Qualifier. If we do, The Cavalry will need to win an eight-team single-elimination playoff to snatch the last spot to the Atlanta Major in November. At this point, there is no more room for error.
STARCRAFT 2 // Ahead:
- ESL SC2 Masters 2023 Winter: EU - October 26-November 19
- World Team League 2023
- SSLT - October 6 at 8:00 EDT
- PH - October 15 at 10:00 EDT
- Matcherino - October 21 at 8:00 EDT
- PSIS - October 27 at 10:00 EDT
ESL Masters has returned, and Clem, Elazer, and Skillous have all pre-qualified for the EU main event based on their top-16 finishes last season. Starting October 26th, the three will battle 29 other players for one of three spots to Masters Winter in Atlanta this December.
The World Team League has also started up again, and Liquid’s first match against European squad BASILISK finished with a nail-biting 3-4 ace match loss. Although Clem opened things up with a strong 2-0 win over Trigger, Serral dominated the back-half of the matchup, beating MaNa and Clem to secure the win for BASILISK. Still, the season is only beginning, and Liquid has 10 more weeks to climb up in the standings. This includes a match against Chinese squad SSLT tomorrow, bright and early at 8:00 am.
Aoe IV // Results:
- Call to Arms - top 8
- Swiss Stage
- 3-0 vs GiveUAnxiety
- 3-2 vs SortOf
- 1-3 vs LucifroN7
- 3-0 vs Wam01
- 3-1 vs Baltune
- 3-0 vs LaSh
- Playoffs - 1-3 vs MarineLorD
- Empires at War
- Qualifier - October 14
- Main Event - October 15-November 5
Liquid’s bald British beast had a great run through the Call to Arms tournament last month. Liquid`DeMu absolutely obliterated his competition (except LucifroN) in the Swiss Stage, earning a spot in the quarterfinals against MarineLorD. Unfortunately, DeMu was unable to overcome MarineLorD, landing him with a quarterfinal finish.
DeMu’s next opportunity to compete will be an open qualifier for the Empires at War tournament on October 14th. On the line are qualifier points to the Elite Gaming Channel Finals, an online championship sponsored by Microsoft in December.
Smash // Results:
- Hungrybox in The Off-Season 2 - top 12
Smash // Ahead:
- Dabuz and Riddles in Rise ‘N Grind 2023 - October 13-15
- Hungrybox, Dabuz, and Riddles in The Big House 11 - October 20-22
- Dabuz and Riddles in Let’s Make Moves Miami 2023 - October 27-29
In another relatively quiet month for Smash, Hungrybox had an uncharacteristically tough tournament. He fell in the first round of the winners bracket to Salt, then had an unfortunate run in with Cody Schwab, notorious 10-time winner of the Coinbox. And October seems to be the month of Ultimate for Liquid. Riddles and Dabuz will begin their month in Waco, Texas for the Rise ‘N Grind before heading to Detroit for The Big House, and finally to Let’s Make Moves Miami.
TFT // Ahead:
- Noxus Cup - October 7-8
- Last Chance Qualifier - October 14-15
- Regional Finals - October 27-29
TFT has a busy month ahead, with three tournaments, including the World Championship qualifier tournament for North America. All three of Liquid’s tacticians - Kurumx, rereplay, and Saintvicious - have spots in Day 3 of the Noxus cup. rereplay and Saint are fighting for spots in the Regional Finals to secure a place at Worlds. Meanwhile, Kurumx - who’s already qualified to Worlds - is playing for fun.
To get a spot at Regional Finals in a couple weeks, rereplay and Saint will need a top 4 finish. If they don’t manage that, however, they may still earn enough points to qualify to the Regional Last Chance Qualifier, where the top 2 of 16 players also grab a spot at the Regional Finals.
Once we get there, the NA Regional Finals pits the top 24 NA players against each other for the four remaining spots at Worlds. Days one and two shave the competition down — first to 16, and then to 8. In the final lobby on day three, the last 8 players will play 6 games to determine NA’s remaining representatives at worlds.