Liquid need to smash paiN tomorrow

Liquid v. paiN, what to expect

In terms of round one matches, Liquid may have been given a gift here.

In the wake of Liquid taking down Astralis on Sunday, the team have seemingly been given a gift as they look to make a deep run in playoffs. With the prospects of facing FURIA, NAVI, or G2 in the first round and then Outsiders or ENCE in the round of twelve, ending up with paiN and MOUZ certainly seems like the easiest route into the top eight.

As such, the task ahead of Liquid is to make quick work of paiN and show that the earlier upset loss to Rare Atom wasn't a sign of Liquid playing down to their opponent's level. Considering these two teams last played when Liquid counted Richard "shox" Papillon in their ranks, there's not a lot to draw on outside of demos as the two Americas squads prepare for their bout.

Liquid need to run over paiN

As previously mentioned, Liquid were given a gift from the esports gods for their first match. Not to be needlessly callous, but Liquid need to demolish paiN if they want to be respected as a team in playoffs. Considering everyone on Liquid seems to be finally waking up and in form, a 2-0 is really the only win condition where you can't start worrying about NA's finest.

The Good:

  • YEKINDAR and EliGE seem to have finally come online against Astralis

  • oSee is the superior AWPer to zevy

  • Liquid's map pool is wider

  • Playoffs is another day in the office for Liquid

The Bad:

  • Liquid sometimes have meltdowns against lower-tier opposition if they start poorly

The first true test for paiN

paiN's run in ESL Pro League Season 17 has been fairly gentle for a squad in playoffs. Outside of an opening loss to NIP, the Brazilians faced off against Rooster, OG without their IGL, and Grayhound – hardly the most strenuous workload for a team vying to be the best in Brazil. As such, Liquid is their first team in the top ten this event and the only team that would really be considered relevant in tier one (Sorry NIP fans). As such, all five members of paiN need to come online tomorrow or Liquid should have no problems.

The Good:

  • skullz is looking hot this tournament with a 1.21 rating over 10 maps

  • The loss of PKL as IGL really hasn't impacted the team unlike other squads flying without their IGL

The Bad:

  • hardzao and NEKIZ are in poor form this event, even more concerning considering their level of opposition

  • Lack of tier one experience

  • First time in playoffs at a tier one event

Potential vetoes

Without taking into consideration whether paiN decide to be Team A or Team B, this is a potential way the veto could play out based on the two team's map pools:

  • paiN ban Overpass, their worst map and Liquid's 2nd best map

  • Liquid ban Vertigo, their perma ban

  • paiN pick Nuke, their most-played map

  • Liquid pick Mirage, good pick for them against tier one opposition

  • Inferno left as the decider, neutral map for both teams

The big consideration, however, that could throw a wrench into the gears of paiN's veto is whether they were sufficiently scared of Liquid trouncing Astalis in their match on Nuke. Should that be the case and they wish to avoid picking it, Liquid could very well pick it or it could remain unplayed. Either scenario could give Liquid a potential advantage in the series.

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