A look back at Team Liquid’s past year and NA CS:GO in general

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Danish Kings

From Astralis proving itself to be the best team of all time, to transfers between organizations, 2018 has been a busy year for CS:GO. Looking from the top, we can see the influence of the Danish boys dominating the world CS: GO. The presence of these monsters shaped and prompted some variation among their opponents. From the bottom up, we’ve seen lower-tier teams being given more opportunities to compete and narrowing the gap between the top and second-tier teams. Individual talents start to become more serious day by day as top monuments rush into frenzy to keep their place.

Amidst these pressures, North American communism seems to have found a special place. Cloud9 was able to claim the region’s potential on the biggest stage by winning the Boston Major and perhaps one of the most dramatic finals ever. Although then they went downhill and left a bitter aftertaste after a sweet historic victory. They should have been the team that fans applauded at international tournaments for the whole year, but this was the position that Team Liquid took away. Along with the NRG Esports, Ghost Gaming and compLexity Gaming that have proven themselves, 2018 can be said to be the best and most important year for the North American CS scene to date.

Cloud9’s win in Boston was the culmination of things, but they weren’t the star of this year’s North America. Although Liquid haven’t been able to lift a single trophy (not just in 2018, but throughout the organization’s history) they’ve remained the epitome of the region’s team with a fantastic run of international competition.

Liquid were shaped by their fate with Astralis. Since Emil “Magisk” Reif joined Astralis in early 2018, they and North America have met nine times at LAN tournaments, and Astralis have won all of them. Although this matchup is completely one-sided and they don’t deserve to be called rivalries, we need to look back at the context between these games. Although Astralis has never once lost to Liquid, Liquid’s journey before falling to Astralis is easy to overlook.

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Once again Astralis got in the way of Liquid at the FACEIT Major. Photo: FACEIT

If we look at their journey in tournaments and ultimately their loss to Astralis, we can see Liquid continuously growing and beating the top teams. They have two wins against Na`Vi at EPL S7 Finals (4th Na`Vi, 9th Liquid) and ELEAGUE Premier (Na`Vi 2nd, Liquid 4th). They also defeated the powerful gatekeeper mousesports at the EPL S7 Finals with a convincing win. They have dozens of wins against top 10 teams (Fnatic, MIBR, NRG Esports) along with a convincing 6-0 group stage at the London Major.

But we also saw them fall in the group stage of Cologne 2018 and overturned by regional rival NRG at StarSeries S5, overall Liquid is a pretty stable team and at a pretty high level. Cloud9 has also beaten a bunch of top 10 teams at LANs, along with a Major, but they do this when teams are in poor form or incomplete like: Liquid himself before the attack. an Epitácio “TACO” de Melo or the lineup that dropped miserably like SK Gaming and Gambit Esports before changing the lineup. Their most significant win came against G2 Esports at ELEAGUE Premier 2017. While Cloud9 may have had more impressive results, Liquid are the better team overall and they still have a chance to win. at tournaments and insist on consistent performance.

Despite the amazing results, Liquid’s story is worse than Cloud9’s when it comes to their encounters with Astralis. Cloud9’s victory comes before the red Danish star blooms in the CS:GO sky. Liquid, on the other hand, has to face off against an opponent that is said to be the strongest of all time.

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How can a team really shine when there’s a team as powerful as Astralis in the way? Photo:FACEIT

More than that, they have adopted Astralis’ style of play in many ways. While Cloud9 aimed for fast, explosive, and ostentatious (but extremely effective) play in Boston and knocked out a lot of the big boys, Liquid gradually climbed the ladder by playing the game. While Cloud9 will punish mistakes and start taking over the site in the middle of the round, Liquid is more about discipline and communication.

The similarity of Liquid and Astralis’ playstyle didn’t save them from losing to Astralis – instead it seeped into Liquid’s philosophy. While Wilton “zews” Prado brought organized, European-style play to Liquid when he joined in early 2017, without arguing that Astralis’ dominance has made Liquid progress. These changes brought great win conditions for Liquid. From the lack of a true AWPer, to their reaction to situations and setups in each round, to their hand-picking and elaborate strategies that have shaped their early round, Liquid is probably the team. The strongest team in North American history.

It’s the complete opposite of the distinctive play that Cloud9 has labeled “North America” ​​with their championship in Boston. The fast and explosive play at the beginning of that round is not only the style of Cloud9, but also of NA CS in general. Historically, the gameplay of this region has always leaned towards loose structure and revolved around individual skill. Cloud9 seems to be the most effective example of this play in the region as a whole. The lack of tactical depth and inherent focus on individual skill and speed has also been linked to the fate of the team later on.

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Liquid before the ESL One NY finals. Photo: ESL

Liquid’s playstyle proves that NA teams can dominate for a long time with the complex and fluid playstyle of the region’s top teams. Liquid’s results in 2018 were true even when Cloud9 won their first Major for North America, they are both important parts of the NA CS scene. They have to take the harder, longer path to developing a different playstyle than in their region, balancing the roster with a talent mix and then honing the two to take on the competition. giants in the world arena. This makes them the strongest team in North America in 2018, and probably all time depending on the criteria we use.

Although the championship is still out of their hands, that has not diminished their influence on the world stage. Cups are beautiful, but it’s always better to show tactical strength and structural superiority over other teams. With the solid play we’ve seen Complexity, NRG and Ghost approach, and the success they’ve had on the world stage, we’ve already felt the impact of Liquid’s journey. Those are things that Cloud9 has not been able to do.

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