Team Liquid is about to face Astralis in the New Champions Stage of the StarLadder Major 2019 in Berlin. The North Americans managed to slip through to the playoffs on the last day of the New Legends Stage, after losing two and eventually winning the three matches needed to qualify.
“I’m happy that we made it through, but it wasn’t as solid as we wanted it to be”, confessed Team Liquid’s Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski (22). In their deciding match, EliGE and his team were up against Mousesports with both teams being 2-2 in the standings. A win would have meant the playoffs, a loss would have meant to go home.
Mousesports, however, delivered and brought the first map Mirage to overtime. In the end, Team Liquid found themselves ahead, taking Mirage 19:17 (9:6; 6:9; 4:2). A similar situation occurred on the second map Dust2. This time, one overtime would not even be enough to crown a winner. The final result: 22:20 (7:8; 8:7; 7:5) for Team Liquid. Overall, on paper the 2:0 victory over Mousesports looks much clearer than it has been.
“There has been clear progress throughout every single game. We are doing a lot of basic mistakes but those are good mistakes because they are easy to fix. Now, we have enough time before the playoffs matches to get that done”, explains EliGE just minutes after Team Liquid qualified over Mousesports. “We will most likely go through the demos tonight as they are very fresh on our minds. In my opinion that’s the best time to do it.”
Asked after the ELO-based Swiss system that has been used for the New Legends Stage and potential difficulties for teams to prepare for their next opponent, EliGE explained that they looked up estimates of each team’s ELO online to have an idea of what’s to come. “By the time we got out of the venue and had dinner, we basically knew who we would play and could prepare.”
Now, Team Liquid has been on a four days break. A lot of time to prepare for their opponent in the quarterfinals, Astralis. Both teams are far from being as dominant as they have been, however, Astralis and Team Liquid are both still working towards distinguishing themselves as the best CS:GO team in the world. “Just like us, Astralis hasn’t shown as strong as before the break. Both of us really want to prove that we are the better team. They will be looking for revanche for us beating them in Cologne recently. We’ll have a good match”, teases EliGE. “Right now, I see us at 75% compared to where we could be. On Friday when we face Astralis, we will be at a minimum of 90%, hopefully, 100%.”
On day one of the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019 playoffs, Renegades and AVANGAR managed to qualify over ENCE and Team Vitality, the clear favourites. However, between Astralis and Team Liquid, there is no such clear favourite. The former matches have been followed by about 6,000 in the arena. Not bad for quarterfinals in esports.
It’s not a first for major esports events coming to Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena. In 2015, the venue has been home to the League of Legends Worlds Championship and sold out in seconds. In 2018, the PUBG Global Invitational occupied the Mercedes-Benz Arena for a full five days of esports action. “If they get as many fans in there as in Cologne and they all go crazy, it’s going to be great”, says EliGE.
The match between Team Liquid and Astralis will take place on Friday, September 6th at 6.30 pm local time (CEST).