Michael “miCKe” Vu was the shining star in Team Liquid’s 2-0 win against Talon Esports in the lower bracket final, stepping up to lead an undermanned Team Liquid to the Lima Major grand final.
The 23-year-old accumulated 36 kills, 16 assists, and just four deaths through the series.
Though it was once unthinkable to consider Liquid the underdogs, the situation wasn’t ideal. With Samuel “Boxi” Svahn out of commission, Liquid didn’t look their best against Gaimin Gladiators yesterday, while Talon Esports was red-hot off an intense series against Shopify Rebellion.
For this series, Liquid opted to switch things up, moving captain Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi to position four while stand-in Mathis “Jabbz” Friesel played five.
Team Liquid ran over game one with Lycan and Nature’s Prophet zoo
The Western European team pulled out something that’s not been in vogue, opting for a zoo strategy with Nature’s Prophet as a carry and Lycan in the offlane. It worked a treat, punishing Talon’s lineup that were heavily focused on the late-game, centered around Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon’s Spectre.
Liquid won the lanes handily, with all three of their cores at the top of the net worth after the early game. It didn’t get any better for Talon, who was trying to scrap whatever fight they can in the face of Liquid’s overwhelming amount of units. The team’s dominance was summarized by miCKe, who was able to play out one of the game’s final fights hands-free.
Liquid takes down resilient Talon in hard-fought game two
With backs against the wall, Talon came back with a vengeance in the second game. The early game was far more even this time around, led by 23savage’s Terrorblade and Rafli “Mikoto” Rahman’s Templar Assassin. But it seemed like Liquid could carve out a lead at will through their great teamfighting.
Yet, Talon had an answer. Mikoto was able to use Templar’s high physical burst to snipe key kills through the mid-game, and the rest of Talon showed up with their crowd control abilities to keep Liquid scrambling.
But it proved to be difficult for Talon to push their advantage. Their opponents stabilized the map with Nature’s Prophet, whose teamfight presence and interesting item choice — a first item Aghanim’s Scepter into Heaven’s Halberd — became crucial tools to stop Talon’s physical carries.
But in the end, it was the miCKe story again. It wasn’t the easiest Morphling game into two high-armor physical carries, but he played his hero near perfectly, culminating in a 17/3/8 KDA. Morphling seemed to be a decent solution to Templar Assassin, where the hero is able to use Refraction and Meld to great all-around effect.
These included two ultra kills around Roshan, helping Liquid secure the key objective multiple times to segue into damaging pushes.
Talon didn’t give up till the end, with a brief glimpse of hope following a last-gasp base defense. But Liquid would not be denied — and booked a slot into the grand finals with a hard-fought game two victory.
Talon ends their Lima Major tournament run here. Though not favored coming into the tournament, the roster has done Southeast Asia proud, helping the region earn its first podium finish at a Major event since the WePlay AniMajor in 2021 — where T1 team that also had 23savage placed third. The SEA squad heads home with US$75,000 and 300 Dota Pro Circuit points.
READ MORE: How 23savage carried Talon Esports to top 6 at the Lima Major with the most unlikely item