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Team Liquid came alive today against Royal Never Give Up for an impressive 2-0 series win at The International 2019, completely eliminating the Chinese squad in front of their home crowd.
In the first game, Liquid picked up the classic duo of Io and Gyrocopter, while also bringing out the first Night Stalker pick of the entire event. RNG didn’t go for any surprises, focusing on stability with a standard Ember Spirit and Lifestealer one-two punch.
The opening minutes saw both teams playing a game of musical lanes, trying to figure out their matchups. It ended up with both teams briefly jungling and allowing their support heroes to solo their respective lanes before finally settling into a more normal pace.
While both carry players had unimpeded farm, it’s always difficult to bet against the Io-Gyro combo in a game of farming speed. Maroun “GH” Merhej’s signature Wisp wasn’t checked at all, freely sustaining his cores and allowing Liquid to take fights fearlessly.
Every time RNG tried to gank an enemy hero, GH and Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi showed up and turned it around. Liquid were on a roll.
RNG showed their mettle as a team when Liquid stormed the high ground. They finally managed to get an initiation on the Io, allowing Du “Monet” Peng’s Lifestealer to deal out the damage necessary to give them some footing.
But try as they might, the scaling potential of Liquid was too much. The Wisp was the focused target every fight, but it got to the point when it simply took too long to kill GH. Miracle was given free rein every fight from then on and RNG could do nothing about the six-slotted helicopter.
RNG doubled down on lane domination for the second game, taking Outworld Devourer and Enchantress while completing their draft with powerful lane supports. Liquid went for two signature heroes in GH’s Rubick and a last pick Arc Warden for Miracle after judging that RNG had too many ranged heroes to deal with the Warden’s Magnetic Field.
Miracle promptly showed off the power of the Arc Warden in the laning phase, outlaning Gao “Setsu” Zhenxiong’s Outworld Devourer and occupying the top net worth chart. With the power of the Magnetic Field, Liquid managed to get out to an early kill lead.
The rest of Liquid were no slouches in the damage department. The powerful damage amplification with Ancient Apparition’s Ice Vortex and a Veil of Discord won them several fights in the mid game, putting Liquid in a firm lead.
Despite Miracle’s incredible farming speed, Setsu was right there with him in terms of resources. Rallying under the strength of the Outworld Devourer, the Chinese squad played incredibly to eke out an advantage against Liquid.
Brimming with confidence, RNG dived into the Liquid base, trying to push further ahead and make a statement. But that confidence was unfounded as they badly overextended and promptly got punished by a composed Liquid counter.
RNG wasted their window of opportunity to deal some lasting structural damage and the game returned to a pensive state again. Arc Warden used his Tempest Double to continuously splitpush, keeping the Chinese squad honest, while the humongous Outworld Devourer and Gyrocopter grew bigger.
Even with control of the map, RNG couldn’t push up into the Liquid high ground. With Miracle spamming Magnetic Fields and Spark Wraiths, the Chinese team couldn’t commit to a push even with the Aegis of the Immortal.
Just as Aliwi “w33” Omar helped create space for Arc Warden in the early game, Miracle’s splitpushing in the late game allowed w33’s Tiny to grow into a physical threat. The game evolved into a state of cat and mouse, with both teams trading heroes, buybacks, and buildings. Neither team could find a decisive advantage.
Twenty to 30 minutes later, the game was still on a knife-edge. RNG made an aggressive move without buybacks and Liquid put on a dominant teamfight display, showing why Tiny is one of the most picked heroes on the main stage.
RNG will bow out in eighth place at The International 2019, exceeding expectations and taking home $840,000 in prize money. Liquid move on and will need to play another elimination series later today against Evil Geniuses.
Stay up-to-date will all of the results and standings from The International 2019 main event.