After a string of heartbreaking near-misses, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams, albeit without one or two big names, descended on Sydney, Australia for the newest installment of the Intel Extreme Masters event - looking to secure the $100,000 top prize.
However, one squad stood out from the beginning and parlayed their early dominance into an overall victory - with Team Liquid finally breaking their big event ‘curse’ and ending up as top dogs.
Team Liquid lead from the front
While their arch-nemesis Astralis decided to not travel to Australia, Team Liquid capitalized and looked to cement themselves as the team to beat when the Danes aren’t around.
In their opening game, the North American squad dispatched of BOOT-d[S] pretty quickly before turning that momentum into back-to-back 2-0 sweeps of BIG and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Despite putting themselves into an advantageous position, Liquid were set with the tough task of taking on MiBR in the semi-finals.
However, Liquid showed why they are one of the best teams in the world, taking down the Brazilians in two maps - picking up 16-10 and 19-15 maps wins to give themselves a grand finals spot.
Liquid and Fnatic battle in epic final
With their eyes firmly focused on a potential tier-one trophy win, the North American squad were faced with the tough task of meeting the resurgent Fnatic - who had progressed to the final behind eye-popping highlights from Jesper 'JW' Wecksell and Ludvig 'Brollan' Brolin.
From the first map of the best-of-five series, it appeared as if Liquid were destined to be in a classic knock-out brawl as the Swedes answered every round with one of their own - giving themselves a 1-0 map lead.
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Despite that, Liquid showed resilience and immediately answered serve with a 16-14 win on Overpass and rolled that into a 16-8 victory on Mirage. However, the Swedes responded with a dominant 16-6 Dust 2 win of their own to force the series to five maps. Yet, Liquid held their nerve and strung out a 16-9 win on Inferno to pick up the IEM Sydney title.
— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) May 5, 2019
IEM Sydney 2019 - Final Placements