Team Liquid were crowned champions at the IEM Sydney 2019 pro CS:GO tournament, and here are my biggest takeaways from everything that took place over the course of the five-day event.
Liquid Clear the Hurdle
After ten runner up finishes since 2016, Team Liquid finally win a tier one tournament and make the most of a great opportunity.
Despite letting the final go to five maps, their level of play was higher than it has ever been. Almost every player on the lineup stepped up at different points with nitr0 showing up huge on Overpass in the Final, a map that they lose without his performance.
Other subtleties like tricky retake smokes and staying aggressive in their decision making was key to their success against Fnatic, especially late in the series.
Getting their first big win out of the way heading into ECS and EPL makes them a threat to each and every team attending.
Fnatic Show Promise
This event was the best Fnatic has looked since Golden was their in-game leader in early 2018, showing a new level of cohesiveness with many of their veteran players.
One of the highlights was seeing JW return to a level of play we all know he is capable of on the big stage. I think their ceiling is higher than they showed and can be realized with some tweaking that will allow Twist to feel more comfortable on certain maps.
If they can’t retain this level of play moving forward, I would keep an eye on Flusha as a possible alternative. The same can be said for NiP, who offered him multiple times within the last year.
A move like that ultimately would depend on when Flusha wants to return to playing once again.
Mousesports Instantly Competitive
Karrigan has proven once again why he is and always will be one of the best in-game leaders in the world with Mousesports' performance in Sydney.
Making the playoffs here was a huge statement and becoming a top five team isn’t out of the question with the talent he has to work with.
His style of leading fits the way these players like to play and it shows in the server. The addition of Vertigo might be an X-factor with them because of how masterful Karrigan is with map vetoes and map pools.
I can see him using it as a tool to frighten other teams as well as abuse it when teams don’t go out of their way to ban it. I expect their roster to stay intact for the time being while they add to their game, which is completely understandable.
Renegades Take a Step Back
The unfortunate side effect of having to play with stand-ins for ESL Pro League is that it hurt the flow of the Renegades roster for this event, I’m convinced of that.
It was even more unfortunate to see them under-perform while playing at a big event in their home country. It doesn’t look like things will get any easier either because they’ll have to return for Round 2 of Pro League in a couple weeks’ time.
All signs point to using smooya again playing for gratisfaction, who is at least the best possible stand-in for their style of play.
I hope they can get these issues sorted out well before the Major so they can continue to build without being interrupted all the time.
MiBR Treading Water
The number of events MiBR are attending are not helping their attempts to climb the rankings once again, allowing less time for legitimate practice.
That’s what I was told at least, when I inquired with people who are close to the team. Not playing at Blast Pro Series Madrid and DreamHack Masters Dallas should allow them time to get things figured out.
If they don’t take advantage of the break, I’m worried about the future of this roster. Every day that goes by with them under-performing makes the recruiting of new Brazilian talent more and more likely.