Team Liquid advance to Manila Major Grand Final

Esports Asia News
In today’s Lower Bracket Final, Team Liquid knocked Newbee out of The Manila Major with some clutch ultimate combos, game-winning plays from offlaner MinD_ContRoL and a secret-weapon Medusa composition in Game 3. The win means the Manila Grand Final between Liquid and OG will be an all-European event, despite a Top 8 filled with three Chinese and two SEA teams. Liquid were the favorite of almost every analyst coming into the event, having won EPICENTER in Moscow and taken second place at both The Shanghai Major and ESL One Manila. Their run through the Manila Lower Bracket hasn’t disappointed: after falling to MVP Phoenix in the first round sent a wakeup call to KuroKy and his squad, they proceeded to demolish compLexity, Na`Vi, Fnatic, and LGD Gaming, all without dropping a single game. Newbee broke their streak in Game 1 of the Lower Bracket Final. The match started to go poorly for Team Liquid from the moment the counter hit zero seconds, when Chuan’s Enchantress spotted JerAx placing wards in both the secret shop jungle camp and the cliff near the Tier 1 tower. The jig was up as soon as JerAx’s second ward went down on the cliff, and despite an impressive Icarus Dive to remove Chuan’s deward, Newbee rushed in to kill JerAx and take a second kill on FATA’s Invoker when he tried to come to the rescue. From there, Liquid’s lanes were incredibly difficult. MATUMBAMAN faced constant pressure from Enchantress’ creeps and FATA’s Invoker was bullied out of the lane by Mu’s Death Prophet. MinD_ContRoL’s offlane wasn’t particularly difficult, but he wasn’t able to contest Hao’s Juggernaut’s farm. Liquid were able to stall out Newbee’s high ground pushes for almost ten minutes, but the final blow came at the 31 minute mark, forcing Liquid to call GG.
Liquid took a similar approach with their Game 2 draft, but they added a few key heroes from Newbee’s playbook. This time they took Death Prophet and Enchantress, and denied Hao his signature Weaver by picking it for MinD_ContRoL, a pick that proved to be key for Liquid in the late game. Liquid focused their early game on avoiding Newbee’s Io/Bristleback lane while taking any towers they could with Exorcism. Newbee lost a melee barracks in their top lane early on, but once kpii’s Bristleback felt confident he had enough farm in his pocket, they began to take — and win — fights. Liquid rallied and seemed to change their gameplan. They took it slow and got a few key items to tank up their cores. FATA grabbed a Shiva’s Guard while Weaver got Heart and Diffusal Blade. Remarkably, MinD_ContRoL’s weaver took the lead in net worth toward the end of the game with some key kills and clutch Time Lapse escapes, and by the end of the game was more farmed than either Death Prophet or MATUMBA’s Lycan, with 29% of the team’s total net worth. With their newfound power level, Liquid crushed Newbee in their own base and forced a Game 3.
For Game 3 Team Liquid drafted four ranged heroes including Drow Ranger, hoping to use Precision Aura to overwhelm Newbee with physical damage, plus MinD_ContRoL’s Slardar for extra damage amplification and mobile control. Among them was a Medusa pick for FATA, which was a big question mark for the analyst desk, since he had never played the hero in an official match. But it turned out to be a well-practiced pocket draft from Liquid, designed to prevent their composition from falling prey to the typical problem with Drow stats: falling off in the late game. Liquid stayed afloat long enough for Medusa to come online with a Linken’s, Eye of Skadi and Butterfly, and then things quickly went south for Newbee, even with Hao’s Sven leading the net worth charts. Liquid’s Frost Arrows and Skadi slows together easily kited Sven — with a Stone Gaze and Supernova combo from KuroKy’s Phoenix to finish him off — and Team Liquid closed out the final game just after the 40 minute mark. The win brings an end to a dominant performance from Newbee through the tournament. After topping their group, they took down Digital Chaos and Fnatic on their way to the Upper Bracket Finals, where they were narrowly defeated by OG’s clever drafting and flawless team coordination. But Team Liquid had a much harder road to the Grand Finals, staving off elimination for five straight series, and now stands to take a comeback win from the Lower Bracket — just like OG did at Frankfurt. This will be the second Major Grand Final appearance for both OG and Team Liquid, after OG’s Frankfurt win and Liquid’s second-place finish to Team Secret at The Shanghai Major. There’s absolutely no doubt each of these teams deserve their spot in the Top 2, and it’s sure to be a showdown that will go down in Dota history.   [Source: TheScore]

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