Tournament favorites Team Liquid have suffered yet another upset at the StarLadder Berlin Major, this time at the hands of CIS upcomers Avangar. The North American juggernauts were also upset by domestic rivals NRG just yesterday.
Liquid and Avangar were matched up for today’s round of matches after they each took one win and one loss earlier in the group stage. The best-of-one map veto took them to Overpass, one of Team Liquid’s best maps. The match started out as expected, with Liquid racing to a 7-1 lead in the first half. Though they only ended their T-side half up 9-6, Liquid was expected to show an even better face on their CT side. Avangar took the second half pistol and strung together two more rounds to tie up the score. Rounds were traded back-and-forth throughout the second half before Avangar posted the first match-point, forcing Team Liquid to fight for overtime. Liquid then strung together two rounds of their own to tie the scoreline once again at 15-15.
Team Liquid put up the first two overtime rounds to give themselves a 17-15 lead, though Avangar did manage to win three rounds in a row to take over the momentum. After forcing a second overtime, Team Liquid struggled to keep up as Avangar won three consecutive rounds to give them yet another match-point. Avangar closed out the map in double overtime with a 22-18 scoreline.
This victory allowed Avangar to exhibit their punishing mechanical skill and decisive teamwork. AWPer Dzhami “Jame” Ali showed off his clutch ability in overtime, while teammates Timur “buster” Tulepov and Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev each dropped over 30 kills. On the other side of the server, only Keith “NAF” Markovic was able to join them with 30+ kills.
Avangar will move on to tomorrow’s 2-1 matches, needing only one win to qualify for the play-offs. Team Liquid now has their backs against the wall, needing two wins in a row to secure their spot in the quarter-finals. They will face a currently unknown opponent in an elimination best-of-three tomorrow. Liquid is now one series away from being eliminated from Major contention, at an event where they are heavily favored to win the championship.