After a hectic weekend of CS:GO in Hollywood, Team Liquid emerged as the champions at the $200,000 iBuyPower Masters Invitational.
Despite rampant technical issues, endless complaints from fans and players, and even an alleged weapon threat on day one, Liquid triumphed over Astralis for the first time ever to take their first championship of 2019. The event was riddled with delays, but everyone stuck through it to see Liquid succeed with its new lineup containing Jake “Stewie2k” Yip and coach Eric “adreN” Hoag.
Liquid breezed through the group stage with a 2-0 record, before taking on Fnatic in the semifinals yesterday. The series went to three maps, after they lost an overtime game on map two Mirage to the Swedes. The North American side came out on top against Fnatic on Dust II to advance to the grand finals, where Astralis awaited.
The world’s best CS:GO team of 2018 crushed the home team on map one Inferno of the finale, but Liquid persevered. With the help of key fraggers Stewie2k and Keith “NAF” Markovic, Liquid surprised Astralis on Dust II and Overpass to take the series 2-1. Many of Astralis’ players were out of form, especially star AWPer Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, who was named as the number two player in the world by HLTV yesterday.
- Astralis won Dust II 16-3 vs. compLexity Gaming
- Cloud9 won Overpass 16-7 vs. Fnatic
- Astralis won Mirage 16-9 vs. Cloud9
- Fnatic won Train 16-14 vs. compLexity Gaming
- Fnatic won Mirage 16-14 vs. Cloud9
- Team Liquid won Mirage 16-11 vs. Luminosity Gaming
- Ghost Gaming won Train 16-14 vs. FaZe Clan
- Team Liquid won Inferno 16-8 vs. Ghost Gaming
- FaZe Clan won Overpass 16-8 vs. Luminosity Gaming
- Ghost Gaming won Train 16-13 vs. FaZe Clan
Astralis vs. Ghost Gaming
- Astralis won Train 16-2
- Astralis won Inferno 16-14
Team Liquid vs. Fnatic
- Liquid won Cache 16-6
- Fnatic won Mirage 19-17
- Liquid won Dust II 16-9
Team Liquid vs. Astralis
- Astralis won Inferno 16-4
- Liquid won Dust II 16-11
- Liquid won Overpass 16-11
Considering that this event was the first after the holiday break, the biggest takeaway is that this new iteration of Liquid with Stewie2k and adreN is a legitimate and immediate threat to Astralis’ dominance at the top. They seem to be ahead of the curve in terms of pre-Major roster changes, compared to Cloud9 and FaZe Clan, and their best-of-three win vs. Astralis proved that. Astralis will be looking to defend their Major title at IEM Katowice next month.