Liquid head to EPL playoffs after conquering Cloud9
The series kicked off on Inferno, with Cloud9 continuing their trend of electing to start on the T-side of their opponent's map pick. Keith "NAF" Markovic opened up the series with a crisp 4k on the USP-S, with Liquid claiming the follow-up against the Cloud9 eco with no hiccups. Clean trading at top-mid gave the NA side a victory in their bonus round, which led to them extending their lead to 5-0. Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov would respond eventually with a triple-kill to enter the A-site and claim a round, with C9 posting two more shortly after. An aggressive move from NAF in apartments to find a pick would herd C9 into a stacked B bombsite, leading to another Liquid round. C9 eventually found their form, chipping away at the lead Liquid had built up, finding themselves down 8-7 at halftime.
Moving over to the T-side, Liquid claimed their second pistol round in convincing fashion, before crumbling against the force buy. Cloud9 claimed the lead for the first time in the game at 10-9, but held it for just one round after an insane post-plant rotation around the map by YEKINDAR led to a 1v3 clutch at the last possible second. The Latvian star continued to wreak havoc, finding entries and space to give the North American's a strong hold on the game, marching on to match point at 15-10. NAF and oSee closed map one with a well-worked 2v4 to send the two sides to Cloud9's map pick.
Overpass opened up with a pistol round win for the Russians before Liquid claimed a force buy round. C9 would win a force buy of their own to keep the CT economy precarious. Liquid eventually came out on top of the force buy battles but the war was far from over as C9 took the next buy round. A YEKINDAR 3k on the deagle gave Liquid their fourth round before they finally managed to string some rounds together off the back of an explosive YEKINDAR who held an 18-3 stat line after nine rounds. C9 continued to push, keeping the first half by tying things up at 6-6. A seventh round was recovered by oSee and Nick "nitr0" Cannella, fighting back in a 2v5 before going on to win the half 8-7.
The captain of Liquid was denied a 1v3 clutch to open the second half as nitr0 could not find the final bullet onto Dmitriy "sh1ro" Sokolov in the 1v1. There would be no back and forth with force buys as there had been in the first half with C9 denying Liquid and extending their lead 10-8. A double-entry from YEKINDAR blew the A-site wide open to keep things competitive with the CT economy crumbling and Liquid extending their lead to 13-10. A tense final few seconds of round 25 claimed Cloud9 a twelfth, with YEKINDAR missing out on a plant by milliseconds. Liquid proved not to be disheartened, moving to within two rounds of playoffs as YEKINDAR posted his 30th frag of the map. A 3k from NAF forced Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov and C9 to concede series point. C9 proved determined to make things difficult for Liquid, sending the map all thirty rounds, before sending it to overtime off a dominant hold on A.
Liquid struggled to find an answer in overtime, with C9 shutting out nitr0 and co. in back-to-back rounds. The NA squad eventually responded, making it 16-17 in Cloud9's favor as Liquid moved onto the defensive side. The CT-side proved more fruitful for Liquid, leveling things up at 17-17 as a result of an EliGE and nitr0 crossfire. Moving on to series point yet again, Liquid proved dominant in their defense by winning their eighteenth round without losing a single player. YEKINDAR would not be denied a run at the playoffs, closing out the map with 41 kills to send Liquid through.
This victory sends Liquid to the playoffs alongside Cloud9 and FURIA from Group D, with the playoffs set to begin on 27 September.
|Cloud9||K - D||+/-||ADR||KAST||Rating 2.0|
|Sergey 'Ax1Le' Rykhtorov||47 - 44||+3||86.7||66.1%||1.19|
|Vladislav 'nafany' Gorshkov||39 - 41||-2||77.6||72.6%||1.05|
|Timofey 'interz' Yakushin||39 - 35||+4||62.4||72.6%||0.97|
|Dmitry 'sh1ro' Sokolov||38 - 39||-1||58.7||69.4%||0.87|
|Abay 'HObbit' Khassenov||27 - 45||-18||62.2||56.5%||0.74|
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||KAST||Rating 2.0|
|Mareks 'YEKINDAR' Gaļinskis||62 - 40||+22||110.5||72.6%||1.56|
|Keith 'NAF' Markovic||42 - 34||+8||78.3||75.8%||1.12|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannella||37 - 35||+2||65.4||75.8%||1.04|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski||35 - 43||-8||67.3||74.2%||0.93|
|Josh 'oSee' Ohm||28 - 38||-10||45.7||66.1%||0.79|