Daps' side will look to go one better and secure their first trophy at ESL Pro League

What to expect from Liquid v. Rare Atom

Liquid are in for a easy opening match for Pro League...or are they?

Liquid come into ESL Pro League of a strong showing at IEM Katowice, a top four finish with only the eventual tournament winner G2 being able to stop the North American team. After their Grand Final appearance in the last season of ESL Pro League, which kicked off the team's resurgence, Liquid will be hoping to go one better and win the whole thing this time around. Meanwhile, Rare Atom will just be happy to get some much needed experience against European opposition after plowing their domestic scene recently.

Liquid are back

After making two Grand Final appearances at the end of 2022, Liquid suffered a dip in form with a disappointing showing at BLAST Spring Groups finishing 9th-12th. However, IEM Katowice showed that BLAST was just a blip on the upwards trajectory the team is on as they beat FaZe and Vitality on their way to their fourth place finish.

  • YEKINDAR, oSee and ELiGE all had 1.05 rating at Katowice

  • Liquid's strength in depth rather than a reliance on one or two stars

  • Liquid beat IHC 2-0, also an Asian team, in their opening match at Katowice

  • Liquid have not lost their opening ESL Pro League match since Season 9 (2019)

Rare atom, rare opportunity

It is no secret that the Asian scene has struggled to develop and produce tier one competitive teams. While in the past teams like Tyloo would occasionally cause an upset, the lack of consistent practice against top opposition hindered the scene. IHC's recent showings prove that there is talent in the region and Rare Atom are close behind their Mongolian counterparts with the team's only loss this year being to Renewal in the Asia Rio open qualifier. However, dominating domestic competition and being able to compete at a tier one event like ESL Pro League are two very different tasks.

  • One loss in their past sixteen matches

  • 2-0'd IHC in the ESL Pro League Asian Conference

  • Will be their first time playing against a top five team

  • 2-0'd by Sprout at their last International event, ESL Challenger Melbourne 2022.

Likely Vetoes

I wouldn't be surprised if Liquid use this match to stress test their weaker maps, the team has been very open about exploring their map pool coming into the year and Rare Atom feel like the perfect opponent to test that out on. So to spice things up my veto is working under the assumption Liquid will experiment against their Chinese opponents.

  • Liquid ban Vertigo, would be very rogue to play their perma ban

  • Rare Atom ban Anubis, 40% winrate

  • Liquid pick Ancient, improving Ancient will be a big help for the NA side

  • Rare Atom pick Mirage, the perennial upset map and a 100% wr

  • I could see Nuke being the decider, it's a map Liquid could use tournament reps on

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