Team Liquid utterly dominated their rivals Alliance, 2-0, in Round 3 of the MDL Chengdu Major Lower Bracket to secure their first Top 6 finish at a Major under the Liquid banner.
Despite Liquid giving away the dreaded Morphling-Earthshaker combo to Alliance for Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov and Neta “33” Shapira, Liquid had a plan.
They drafted a strong tri-core, with Michael “miCKe” Vu on Faceless Void, Razor for Maximilian “qojqva” Bröcker, and Legion Commander for Samuel “Boxi” Svahn.
Liquid came out of the laning stage on top, with miCKe having a good start that let him build a Hand of Midas to scale better against Nikobaby’s Morphling, while Boxi started to rack up multiple Duel kills.
While Nikobaby was able to rush his Aghanim’s Scepter by the 17-minute mark, Alliance just couldn’t fight into a Liquid lineup that had already built up tank items courtesy of their 12,000 gold advantage by the 22-minute mark.
With their overwhelming advantage, Liquid was able to dominate almost all of the map and claim two lanes of barracks virtually uncontested. Alliance desperately probed for pickoffs to bring themselves back into the game, but that only served to further their opponents’ advantage.
When it seemed that Alliance finally got the favorable fight they were looking for all game as they repelled Liquid’s push on their bottom lane barracks, miCKe turned things around to eventually seal the dominant first game win for his team.
Alliance looked to bounce back with a heavy ranged damage lineup in game two, with Nikobaby on Gyrocopter and Linus “Limmp” Blomdin on a mid Drow Ranger. Meanwhile, Liquid ran another strong tri-core with miCKe on Faceless Void once more, qojqva on a mid Lina, and Boxi on Timbersaw.
Liquid won the laning phase handily, with qoqjva’s Lina utterly shutting down Limmp’s Drow Ranger mid and giving his team’s other cores space to farm freely. Liquid built upon their early lead by constantly picking off Alliance’s heroes as they scrambled to scrounge up whatever farm they can.
Desperate to wrest control of the game and the series back from their opponents, Alliance repeatedly tried to go on the offensive but were repelled every single time and only helped Liquid further their lead. With their rivals virtually powerless to stop them, Liquid eventually closed out the series after 40 minutes.
With their win, Liquid has secured a Top 6 finish at the Major along with US$60,000 and 900 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points. Their utter dominance in this series over their old team’s new roster should also be a massive boost to Liquid, considering they lost their previous matchup in the Major qualifiers.
Liquid will be looking to carry over their momentum to their next Lower Bracket match against North American powerhouse Evil Geniuses, who they notably upset, 2-1, in the Group Stage Winner’s Match of Group C.
Meanwhile, Alliance bows out with a respectable seventh-eighth place finish with US$40,000 and 450 DPC points in consolation.