Team Liquid defeated Thunder Predator in their best-of-one tiebreaker match for the last playoff spot at the Dota Summit 12, coming back from a disastrous laning phase and having mid barracks destroyed not even 20 minutes into the game.

Knowing how volatile things can get in a high-stakes best-of-one match, Liquid opted for a fairly safe four-protect-one strategy with Michael “miCKe” Vu on Spectre, Maximilian “qojqva” Bröcker on Dragon Knight, Samuel “Boxi” Svahn on Slardar, Tommy “Taiga” Le on a support Batrider, and Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi on Rubick.

Thunder Predator countered with a strong midgame lineup with Alonso “Mnz” León on Lifestealer, Leonardo “LeoStyle-” Sifuentes on Puck, Frank “Frank” Arias on Beastmaster, Farith “Matthew” Puente on Earthshaker, and Romel “Wu” Quinteros on Winter Wyvern.

Thunder Predator utterly dominated Liquid in the laning phase, which allowed them to take control early and take their opponents’ middle melee barracks at the 19-minute mark. However, Liquid caught out three Thunder Predator heroes — including Mnz’s Lifestealer — in the retreat, which gave miCKe the boost in gold and experience he needed to come online.

With their Spectre now in fighting shape, Liquid were able to outlast Thunder Predator’s initiation and win those drawn-out engagements. In a huge clash at the 28-minute mark, iNSaNiA deftly used a stolen Winter’s Curse and Fissure to win a crucial fight for Liquid that secured them both the Aegis and the lead.

While Thunder Predator was later able to sneakily take the next Aegis away from their opponents, Liquid still dominated in a fight at the 41-minute mark that let them take two lanes of barracks in the middle and bottom lane.

After securing Mega Creeps at the 46-minute mark, Liquid closed the game out at just under 50 minutes — with Leostyle notably disconnecting early in apparent frustration after losing a match his team appeared to have in the bag very early on.

While both Leostyle and miCKe notched a game-high 12 kills, Liquid’s carry player had one less death and spearheaded the comeback victory that ended up pushing his team to the playoffs.

The Dota Summit 12 playoffs will open with a match between Evil Geniuses and a surging OG Seed, followed by a showdown between Liquid and Fnatic.

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