Today, the last hope of the western fans kept succeeding. After taking down LGD Gaming in a swift 2-0, Team Liquid launched themselves to top 3. Invictus Gaming was sent home by LGD earlier in the day, and Newbee showed that LGD.Forever Young can bleed, as they suffered their first loss of the main event.
iG vs LGD
GAME 1: Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei fans everywhere suffered today as iG was beaten by LGD. LGD led off with the Magnus and Tusk, and immediately set themselves up for strong lanes and the Troll pick later on. iG was able to give Ye "BoBoKa" Zhibiao Earth Spirit, but he was not able to have a significant impact in the game. LGD steamrolled iG before they had a chance to come online, beating them in 20 minuets as iG ultimately lacked damage to deal with LGD’s lineup.
GAME 2 was no easier than the first one. The Alchemist pick by iG at the end of the second phase was truly surprising, as Alchemist has only really been played as a last pick in the tournament so far, in order to give him a good lane. iG paid for it dearly, as Maybe’s last pick Ursa completely steamrolled the Alchemist of OP. LGD once again steamrolled invictus, knocking them out of the tournament in 28 minutes.
Newbee vs LFY
GAME 1: LFY hadn’t lost a single game on the mainstage until today, 2-0ing all their opponents. LFY nearly won game 1, pushing Newbee to their base. However, LFY started to encounter problems. Kpii’s Axe and Hu "Kaka" Liangzhi’s Earth Spirit did an amazing job of controlling the fights while Xu "uuu9" Han and Song "Sccc" Chun ran over LFY. Newbee proved that LFY could bleed, and if LFY could bleed, then Newbee could kill it.
GAME 2: LFY struck back against Newbee in game 2, taking the series to a game 3. Newbee’s surprise Warlock pick didn’t pan out for them, as they lacked the control to stop Xie "Super" Junhao and Du "Monet" Peng from running rampant.
GAME 3: Newbee took the series with game 3, ending the draft with a surprise Shadow Fiend pick. While LFY’s draft has a ridiculous amount of slows and an obnoxious amount of healing, they lack a single stun except for Morphling. Bloodseeker and Shadow Fiend were allowed to run over LFY unharassed, in a 41-14 slaughterfest.
LGD vs Liquid
GAME 1: LGD opted to ban Maroun "GH" Merhej ’s Io and Keeper, meaning Liquid was able to get their hands on his infamous Earthshaker. LGD drafted a very strong early game fighting lineup.. But Liquid’s was even stronger. LGD lacked burst to kill Necrophos, and his tankiness allowed Liquid to bring heroes in to win fights. Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen’s Necrophos became unkillable while Miracle became massive, and Liquid won the game in 36 minutes.
GAME 2 was even harder than Game 1, as Liquid picked a Venomancer at the end of the first phase, which everyone assumed would belong to Matumbaman. LGD picked Oracle, and Liquid decided to pick Huskar for themselves so LGD couldn’t. They then followed it up with a Dazzle, and just when LGD weren’t expecting it they picked Broodmother. Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Borislavov played the Venomancer instead, and Liquid went on to absolutely dominate LGD with the Huskar. LGD had no answers to Liquid’s style of play, and while LGD killed 4 members of Liquid Matumbaman was taking midlane barracks.
Finals Day Predictions
The winner of Liquid vs LFY has a long day ahead of them, as they will have to face Newbee in the final. I think Liquid will beat LFY, but it will be close. Liquid is th best team in the game at efficient map movements and keeping the opposing team on their toes and constantly having to respond to Liquid’s moves. However, their lineups are (generally) slower and take time to come online, like when they played Void and Invoker in the same game. But Liquid has also shown that they are incredibly versatile, keeping their style of splitting a team up while still being able to fight incredibly early as they displayed today vs LGD. Liquid will win 2-1.
Then comes Newbee. I think LFY is actually a greater challenge for Liquid than Newbee is, specifically because LFY is faster comparatively. I don’t think Newbee has a good answer for how Liquid plays. They have this way of tearing an enemy team apart, creating indecision, and then striking hard. Their movements around the map are crisp-every action has a clear reason. They do not overestimate their ability to take fights. They’re also incredibly versatile in the draft, switching between two different styles with ease. But there’s always one constant-someone, somewhere is pushing a lane. Whether it’s GH kotl, MC’s Beastmaster or NP, or Matu’s Brood or Lycan-someone is pushing. They make the most of the increased damage that creeps and heroes get against towers with the new lower armor, and someone always has to deal with it. Newbee doesn’t pick a lot of highly mobile heroes that can deal with this. They don’t play QoP, they don’t play Spirit Breaker, and they’re usually so all-out on teamfight that even one hero missing can be disastrous for them. Liquid will win TI this year, 3-2 score.
source header image: Valve