In the first round of the Group A upper bracket at IEM Cologne 2021, Ninjas in Pyjamas decimated Team Liquid today in the second and third maps after a narrow overtime loss to open the CS:GO series.
Considered slight underdogs before the start of the match, Liquid got off to a hot start on NiP’s pick of Overpass with a 20-kill performance from Michael “Grim” Wince in just the first half on their CT side. But it was the man, the myth, the legend himself dev1ce who had his own stellar CT performance to send the map to overtime. More heroics from Grim finally pushed Liquid over the edge of map one, taking Overpass 19-17.
Despite the momentum and the 1-0 series lead, things only got worse for Liquid from there. Just like NiP did in their debut with dev1ce at Flashpoint Three, they thrived in the position of being down 0-1. Liquid started off Dust II well, jumping out to a 6-2 lead before NiP went on a run of 14 straight rounds (seven on CT to end the first half and all seven T-side rounds in the second). The same Grim who dropped 35 kills against NiP on Overpass only mustered six on Dust II.
This sent the series to Mirage, where Liquid didn’t even get a chance to jump out to an early lead. NiP’s T-side on Mirage was nearly unstoppable. They won the first 10 rounds and finished the half up 13-2. The Ninjas didn’t force Liquid to suffer any longer than they had to, taking the first three rounds of the CT side to mercifully end it 16-2, completing the comeback in dominant fashion.
NiP entered IEM Cologne in solid form since adding dev1ce. At Flashpoint Three, they reached the grand finals following an impressive lower bracket round, falling to mousesports in the end. Here in Cologne, they already got their revenge against mousesports in the play-in stage, which secured their spot in the group stage. Before today, Liquid hadn’t played since the end of May at cs_summit 8. And despite their OT win on Overpass, the team looked a little sluggish in their return to LAN.
Liquid’s run in Cologne isn’t over yet, but they’re knocked down to the lower bracket where their next loss will send them home. They’ll need to win three straight series with their backs against the wall just to make the playoffs. NiP, however, just need one more win to secure their playoff spot and a second win would earn them a bye to the semifinals.