Team Liquid came out on top over Fnatic in a thrilling five-map between two of the top European VALORANT teams today. With the win, Liquid advance to the EU VCT Stage Three Challengers Two grand finals. They also get some revenge from Masters Two Reykjavík, and most importantly, secure the final EU spot at the upcoming EMEA Challengers Playoffs.
Team Liquid struck first in the series, but Haven was no easy feat for them. Both sides traded strings of rounds back and forth through both halves, as each team’s star shooter from Finland (Fnatic’s Derke and Liquid’s Jamppi) had spectacular games on Jett and Omen, respectively. The first map went to overtime, with Liquid finally claiming victory in the second period through a successful pinch at mid on defense, then a heroic post-plant 3K clutch from the headshot machine ScreaM.
Despite losing their map pick to open the series, Fnatic answered back on map two on Split. Like the series opener, though, it was no easy task. At one point tied 4-4, Fnatic went on to win eight of the next nine rounds through half-time, closing out their defensive half and beginning their attacking half with a ton of momentum. But even a 12-5 lead wasn’t safe, since Liquid turned up the defensive pressure to win six straight rounds. Fnatic finally claimed the 24th round and halted the comeback at the last moment, tying the series with a 13-11 win on Split.
Bind was another close affair between these two teams so familiar with each other. Liquid needed another standout performance from ScreaM on Jett to overcome an equally great showing from Doma on Raze. Liquid ran with the momentum of winning both pistols to close out Bind with a stellar defensive effort, taking another Fnatic map pick by a 13-10 scoreline.
For the fourth map in a row, the team that selected the map lost after Fnatic stole back Ascent from Liquid on the foundation of a great first half on the attacking side. Their 8-4 lead at half-time grew after they took the second-half pistol round, their second of the map. The win carried them to the finish line with a 13-7 scoreline, the largest margin of victory in the entire series. With neither team able to win any of their map selections, the series turned to a fifth map, just like it did at last stage’s EMEA Challengers Finals grand finals.
On Breeze, Fnatic got off to a fiery start. Doma’s pistol ace led to an 8-4 lead at half-time after a blistering attack side, and he ended the first half with 17 kills on Sova. But against the ropes, Liquid responded with an even more devastating attack side, even after losing the second-half pistol round. Liquid benefitted from an impactful half from L1NK on Cypher, who took control over the map and made Fnatic’s defense difficult. Liquid was so dominant that Doma only notched a single kill in the second half after entering half-time with 17. Liquid only lost two rounds in the second half, closing out the marathon series with a 13-10 win on Breeze.
With the victory, Liquid secures the final spot in the EMEA Challengers Playoffs. They will join the four EU teams from Challengers One (G2, FPX, Acend, and Guild) and their Challengers Two grand finals opponents, Giants Gaming, who will face Liquid tomorrow in another best-of-five. While Fnatic are out for the rest of Stage Three, their massive trove of VCT points earned from Masters Two secures them a spot in the Last Chance Qualifier.
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