A Eulogy for the Fallen
Team Liquid, The Alliance, Na’Vi, Fnatic, LGD and Team Secret. These are just some of the teams that fell to the wayside for the race to Boston. Some, like Na’Vi, were teams that showed cracks in their game. Yet some of these teams would even be favorites to take premier tournaments. What went wrong? For some teams, we can never be sure. Maybe there were internal issues, or teams were still undergoing the transition period for the new season. Whatever the case may be for any of these teams, two teams with broken dreams are really worth another look.
Team Liquid: Numbers Never Lie, But Aren’t Enough
Coming out of the Fall Shuffle, Team Liquid looked like the clear winners, with two pickups: Bulba and Miracle-. Naturally, most are drawn to the name of the Jordanian superstar mid, who made a name for himself playing for OG. The fact that Miracle- also became the first player to achieve 9000 MMR in the same time frame also serves to propel him to a level of sudden prestige matched by few in the world.
OG understood the capability of their mid laner and chose to formulate their playstyle around him. OG drafted Miracle- the heroes he needed and ensured that he had the farm to carry the team through the game. It wasn’t necesarily a four-protect-one strategy every game, but the approach was critical to the team’s great success in 2015 and 2016.
In the qualifier matches, both group and playoff stages, Liquid did not place such a priority on supporting their mid player, specifically in the early game. The final match against Virtus.pro comes to mind, where Liquid would not rotate to back up a ganked Miracle-. Another issue that Team Liquid needs to work out rather quickly is the topic of who’s playing what. In their two losing playoff series against Ad Fine and then Virtus.pro, we saw Kuroky play positions one, four and five. While Kuroky has a history of playing in the carry role, structure is still needed for the benefit of the team as a whole. Five players with a common goal instead of a unit playing together towards victory is an untenable mindset when wanting longevity and stability; just look at any former Team Secret squad.
Infamous: Peru’s Greatest Enemy? Itself.
Infamous was possibly the most entertaining team to watch throughout the entire qualifier. There has only been one Peruvian team to have attended a Valve sponsored event; Unknown.xiu, who qualified over compLexity for the Frankfurt Major of 2015. The Peruvians had no real chance of making it very far, but somehow managed to eliminate Newbee to finish in the top-12.
It would be unrealistic to say that Infamous had anyone guessing that they’d come so close to qualifiying. Most assumed that compLexity would take the second Amercias slot over FDL. Yet the Peruvians came, and they surprised. They were the only one of two teams to take a game off of Team NP. They also beat FDL, and looked set to take on and beat a compLexity, who limped into the lobby fresh off of a 2-0 stomping by Team NP.
After an incredible 27 minute victory in game one, it looked like Peru was going to have a representative at a Fall Major once again. compLexity regained composure and clawed its way back into game two after a shaky early game. Game three’s early game once again went to Infamous, with a Luna that was outfarming a Naga Siren with radiance. At the 23 minute mark, Infamous had the Aegis of the Immortal on Kotaro’s Storm Spirit, and they were poised to take compLexity’s bottom tier three tower. Then, they got sloppy.
compLexity capitalized and forced a fight, wiping Infamous, Aegis and all. It was here where cracks began to show in the Peruvian squad’s game: they had the mechanical skill, but they couldn’t make the right calls. They were over aggressive at times, and disorderly at others. Still, compLexity made numerous mistakes of their own, which allowed Infamous to maintain map control and net worth advantage for another 20 mintues.
Once again, over-aggression in sieging high ground from the Peruvians led to compLexity pushing out once again and winning another fight, wiping Infamous and finally taking control of the game. Infamous would tap out after one more disastrous team fight. Perhaps if they had shown greater restraint and patience when trying to take objectives, a different story would be told tonight.
One Final Takeaway
Team Liquid and Infamous are both teams with great potential. Team Liquid, especially, only needs time to settle down and figure out in detail what they want the team to be. The issues discussed here are not disband worthy; they’re lessons that can be learned. I look forward to seeing both of these teams, and the rest of those who didn’t make the cut, develop throughout the rest of the year and in 2017.
This is part two of Carno’s Post Qualifier Coverage. Part three will focus on the flaws of the Regional Qualifier format.
How’d your favorite team do at the Regional Qualifiers? Let us know on Twitter at @GAMURScom, or in the comments below.
Questions, comments, or criticism for Carno? He’d love to hear them. Find him on Twitter at @Carno_.
Liquipedia for general team information
Image credit: Valve