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Team Liquid: Poised to be Champions?

The Team Liquid that has competed throughout this HWC season has shocked many. After dropping Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Hamza “Commonly” Abbaalli, many questioned this team’s ability to remain in the top four. However, Zane “Penguin” Hearon and Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler have ended those rumors.


Liquid From the Ashes

Eco during his previous time with Liquid. Courtesy of Kevin Smith.

After only barely taking third at the HCS Fall Finals, Liquid decided to pick up Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher and Kevin “Eco” Smith. This change was questioned. Commonly and Spartan were both regarded as top players. Eco was picked up after Liquid reverse-swept them at Fall Finals. StelluR wasn’t even at the Finals. Early scrim performances led to many continuing to question the roster change.

The only thing that seemed to be going for Liquid was that they were one of the first teams to form after the Fall Season and had already had previous chemistry as a team. However, most people thought that they would still not be able to contest with OpTic and Envy.

Then UGC happened.


UGC St. Louis

Liquid’s first notable matchup at St. Louis was against Splyce, at the time Inconceivable. Liquid narrowly won with a 3-2 victory, with no particularly easy games. Next, they encountered OpTic, and this was when people first saw what this team was capable of. Liquid took OpTic to a Game 5, very nearly becoming the second team to ever defeat the dominant roster on LAN. Unfortunately, Game 5 didn’t go in their favor and they dropped to the loser’s bracket.

Liquid fought through the loser’s bracket, sending Str8 Rippin home with a 3-1 score. Their next opponent, however, was Team EnVyUs. The only squad to ever best OpTic at an event. Again, many thought that surely, Liquid would be sent home and we would have another OpTic vs. NV rematch.

Against all odds, Liquid managed to eliminate NV from the tournament with another slim 3-2 victory. They then met OpTic in the Grand Finals and took the series all the way to Game 7. In Game 7, Coliseum Slayer, they were only defeated by small clutch plays. The game ended with less than a 10 kill difference, but Liquid had fallen. Nevertheless, the fact that they played OpTic so close and managed to eliminate NV was astounding to many. Despite this, some called it a fluke, claiming that NV just had a bad event, much like OpTic had at Fall Finals. This too, did not last.


HWC Vegas 2017

At Vegas, Liquid managed to defeat Pnda 4-0, a team that later went on to get top four and punch their ticket to HWC Finals. Next, they once again were met with NV. Much to the disappointment of many, Liquid forced NV down to the loser’s bracket with a 4-1 victory. NV were outright dominated in two games of the series, and their only win was relatively close. Liquid had shown that they were now OpTic’s greatest contender.

Let it be noted that according to Penguin, Rayne’s controller had malfunctioned, rendering him unable to crouch. With Halo 5’s controversial radar inclusion, not being able to crouch and stay off the radar was crippling.

Team Liquid’s Rayne. Courtesy of Tim Tinkler.

Nevertheless, Liquid continued on to meet OpTic, but were defeated 4-2. Liquid then dropped to the LB to play NV yet again. NV was playing much better at this point, but it was not enough for them to overcome Liquid. NV was eliminated from the tournament after a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Team Liquid.

In the Grand Finals, Liquid once again faced OpTic. With several close games, Liquid was defeated 4-1, with a larger margin between the two teams than at UGC. All still, with Rayne’s broken controller.


Looking to the HWC Finals

This weekend will decide if this squad has what it takes. They have shown that they are no longer third fiddle. They are better than NV, with little room for doubt after three consecutive LAN wins over them. Their chances at taking down OpTic are likely greater than those of any other team. However, they will need to come out very hot, or they too will not be able to break through the Greenwall. Liquid have shown that they are more than capable; but when you’re against a team like OpTic, no mistakes can be made. We won’t see if Liquid can accomplish this until this weekend, but they are surely going to be OpTic’s main contender.


Do you think Team Liquid has what it takes to be our 2017 World Champions? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

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