Team Liquid are through to the VCT EMEA Stage 2 Challengers playoffs, after a dominant 4-1 record in the group stage.
Despite benching longtime member Travis “L1NK” Mendoza in the middle of the group stage, Liquid went on to win their next two games against Natus Vincere and M3 Champions, securing the second seed in Group B behind Guild Esports.
Liquid have looked like a squad revitalized in Stage 2. One of the biggest changes sees star player Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom become the team’s main duelist, after playing a mix of Jett, Sage, and KAY/O in past months.
What’s notable is that ScreaM has literally played nothing but Raze in Stage 2, a stark change for a player who has never played the agent in official matches.
ScreaM had to master Raze for his team
As it turns out, the Belgian player also did not see this coming. He had previously never even considered playing Raze, because of the difficulties that came with mastering the agent’s Blast Pack and unique movement mechanics.
“My movement is kind of bad,” he joked, in an interview with esports host and journalist Yinsu “Yinsu” Collins. “She requires some training and is more movement-based than aim-based.”
Liquid is a team that has struggled without a dedicated duelist in the past. The role has bounced between ScreaM, Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen, and Dom “soulcas” Sulcas, but none of them have stepped into the duelist role full-time.
In Stage 2, Liquid decided that had to change. The team wanted a fixed player in the role, which appeared to be a natural fit for ScreaM. The 27-year-old is one of the most mechanically talented players on his team, having already established a reputation in CS:GO as a one-tap machine with his uncanny ability to home in on opponents’ skulls.
“I’m very aggressive and like to take duels, so duelist is definitely the best thing [for me],” he explained.
“Since I really wanted to take this role and it fits better for the team, I just started practicing,” he added. “I actually really enjoyed it so I’m happy with this change.” The Liquid star has clearly been hard at work with the Brazilian duelist — Raze is his most-played agent in ranked this Act, with a 60 percent win rate.
Liquid isn’t the only team to place Raze at the center of their team compositions. Jett has increasingly fallen out of favor, and Raze is now the most-picked duelist in both VCT NA and EMEA Stage 2.
Liquid will open their playoffs campaign against VCT EMEA Stage 1 champions FunPlus Phoenix on June 18.