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Team Liquid On Hot LAN Winning Streak After Taking BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles




BPS Los Angeles was the 4th BLAST Pro Series event this year. Six top Counter-Strike teams competed in the 2-day tournament for the lion share of 250.000$. In comparison to previous events by RFRSH entertainment, this iteration of BLAST included an actual playoffs bracket. Four teams out of six could make their way to the semi-final and fight for the BPS Los Angeles trophy. As expected, it was the number one team in the world, Team Liquid, who won BLAST Pro Series LA. Now that the tournament is over, it’s a good opportunity as any to look back at the event, analyze the teams and how they performed.

BLAST PRO SERIES LOS ANGELES GROUP STAGE

Just like the previous BLAST events, the stop in Los Angeles had a round-robin group stage with 6 teams in it. This means that every single team had to play each other. The number of victories, round difference, and the opponent’s performance would come down to decide whether a team would qualify for the playoffs.

MiBR

Felps was part of this core in 2017. With his addition to the team, they had a good run of form, by picking up 3 elite level tournaments in the year. But even as they were winning trophies, the players had expressed their dissatisfaction with felps. In an interview by Redbull esports, coldzera admitted that “felps has a hard personality, it’s hard to talk with him sometimes”.

This latest iteration of MiBR got the same players as of 2017, but the pieces didn’t click. After another disappointing loss at the ESL PRO League Finals, coldzera took it to the mic with HLTV to express his dissatisfaction with felps. They got a replacement in the form of LUCAS1 from Luminosity and they attended ESL One Cologne 2019. After a last-place finish in Cologne, it looked like coldzera had enough. He asked to be benched by the team and vowed not to compete in any upcoming events. In this last-ditch effort to find a replacement for him, MiBR decided to play the event with their coach zews.

Expectations were really low for this squad to accomplish anything. And yet, they started off the event with a victory against the Renegades (16-14) and went down to have close games against their opponents. They managed to aquire 10 or more rounds against all of their other opponents. They also stunnigly managed to take the North American powerhouse of Team Liquid to 11 rounds on Mirage.

Renegades

Ever since the Major ended, Gratisfaction has been plagued with visa issues. Because the team is stationed in the States, Gratisfaction hasn’t been able to acquire the visa and practice with his teammates. Instead, the Renegades needed an AWP-er and they decided to have Smooya as a temporary stand-in. They had him for cs_summit 4 and the ESL Pro League regulation, but no substantial results were acquired.

Meanwhile, for their next events in Dreamhack Masters Dallas and ESL One Cologne, Gratisfaction could finally make a return and the team could finally properly practice with their successful lineup of 2019. However, things would take a horrible turn for the Renegades. They couldn’t manage to secure a playoff spot in Dallas and after a month’s worth of practice later, they could attend ESL One Cologne. As it turns out, the return of Renegades wasn’t meant to be as they finished dead last, alongside the Brazilians of MiBR.

BPS LA began just 5 days after the end of Cologne and the Renegades really needed to show their worth in this event. If anything, the event shown how dysfunctional this current lineup is. They lost their first 3 opening matches to MiBR (16-14), FaZe Clan (16-14) and NRG (16-8). They manage to scrape their one and only win against the freshly established Cloud9 (12-16) and that’s it. Even in the aim duel show match the Renegades would lose to MiBR and have their second straight last-place finish.

Cloud9

For the most part of 2019, Cloud9 has been an irrelevant roster. They started out the year by doing some much-needed experimentation. They acquired a rising star from Swole Patrol, in the form of Zellsis and the team had European talents like Kioshima and Flusha.

Yet, after their run in IEM Katowice, the organization went back to the drawing board and replaced the new players, with vice, CajunB and Golden. Just like the previous roster, the project was short-lived and didn’t accomplish anything meaningful.

It was time for a third revamp of Cloud9 and the players they got are looking very promising on paper. They’ve built the team on the best part of the old Cloud9 – autimatic. The team had a new IGL – daps and a new and capable awper with a sprinkle of fresh, inexperienced talent.

With this team being established so recently, it was surprising to see their run of form in the event. Their 2 losses were against the Renegades (16-8) and against Team Liquid (16-8) on Overpass of all maps. However, Cloud9 would only secure one win and that was against FaZe Clan (12-16) and would tie MiBR alongside NRG. Due to the event being in a round-robin format, those ties allowed them to secure a spot in the playoffs.

NRG

NRG has been looking like a very solid top 10 Counter-Strike team. As solid as they’ve been looking, the team has always struggled to acquire some of the bigger titles out there. With their IGL daps, they’ve had consistency but it wasn’t enough for them to win titles. With Stanislaw coming into the mix, he is definitely an upgrade in terms of firepower. It’s hard to assess whether his leadership will be an improvement over daps.

With this newest lineup, they’ve only had 1 event in attendance and that was in ESL One Cologne. They were yet again capable of securing a spot in the playoffs but lost the quarter-final/semi-final decider to Team Liquid. In the playoffs, it was another tough challenge to face Vitality and the North Americans couldn’t cope playing against the French and were taken down 2-0.

In the round-robin group stage, NRG looked like the second most competent team to secure a playoffs spot. But because they lost to Team Liquid and had a draw against C9, the team would finish 3rd in the overall group stage of BPS Los Angeles.

FaZe Clan

In the HLTV.org rankings, FaZe Clan is ranked 6th in the world. Yet, this title seems to be very deceiving. FaZe Clan had a reasonable run of form in the first 2 events since acquiring NEO. A semi-final stop at Dreamhack Dallas, due to a loss to ENCE and a quarter-final finish to the grand finalists of G2. But it was in ESL One Cologne where the team was bested by their contemporaries. A scrappy win against the Renegades in the opening match allowed FaZe to stay in the upper bracket. But here, they’d lost 2-0 to NRG and another 2-0 loss to NRG in the lower bracket. Sporadically ending their run in Cologne.

Due to the nature of the BPS format, it was reasonable to expect FaZe Clan to secure a top 4 finish in the groups. It wasn’t a bad showing in the groups, but the team had a hard time to close out games against MiBR and Renegades (both ending 14-16). The biggest surprise was the Cloud9 upset, as FaZe Clan couldn’t secure a victory against this freshly established team. 1 more loss later to Liquid, it was FaZe who’d secure the 2nd place seed in the group stage.

Team Liquid

The definitive number one team in world Counter-Strike. After countless second-place finishes in 2018, now it was TL’s turn to bring the trophies home on North American soil. Obviously, heading into BPS Los Angeles, Liquid was the most capable team of securing a grand final spot at the very least. The way the BPS group stage format is also very laid back, as even 2 bo1 wins could potentially give you that shot in the finals.

How was TL’s run in the group stages? Dominant. The North American team was able to take down every single opponent in its wake, going 5-0 in the groups. Oddly enough, the only teams which drew blood were MiBR and Renegades. Albeit, the latter team had to play Team Liquid on Vertigo and it was some Renegades attempting to pull off a comeback when they were down 14-6 to 16-11.

BLAST PRO SERIES LOS ANGELES PLAYOFFS

Team Liquid vs Cloud 9

Cloud9 have looked surprisingly well in this tournament, especially because this is a newly established lineup. However, due to their 4th place finish in the groups they had to play the number one team of the world – Team Liquid. If that wasn’t enough, Liquid has a much better map pool in the bo3 environment and from the get-go it was too hard to match for Cloud9.

With the first map being picked by Cloud9, the battleground was set on Mirage. Team Liquid had a stellar start on the T side by picking up 11 rounds on the board. From that point onward, TL had an easy time closing out the map and won it 16-8.

With the second map being Inferno, it looked like TL will have no problem closing out the bo3 right there. With them picking up a ridiculous 13 rounds on the t side, the job seemed to have been done. However, once Cloud9 got to play on the t side, they were looking very sharp. They got pretty close to the score line of the opponents by reaching 13-9. As they’ve made this matchup competitive, it still wasn’t enough to close it and Team Liquid secured a 16-14 victory.

Team Liquid didn’t have a hard time closing out the game. Obviously, because they had such huge halves, they got mildly complacent and did make some mistakes that allowed their opponents to get back in the match. As for Cloud9, now the team has learning material and they can look back at the demo’s and see what has and what hasn’t worked for them in this event.

NRG vs FaZe Clan

In the group stages, NRG looked flat on their approach. That’s one of the reasons why they finished 3rd in the group stage. But now they’ve reached the semi’s and they should excel in the bo3 environment. But FaZe Clan are no slouches either. Even though it was a somewhat rocky group stage they were in good contention to pick a map, due to how the veto went.

NRG decided to go for a train map pick, since it is one of the best maps for this team. After all, it is a map that allows the young Bulgarian Cerq to shine with his AWP. But this is a map, that FaZe Clan has been playing as well. The success is nowhere near the level of NRG and it is a map with a very stale offensive, relying a lot on their individuals to succeed. As far for the first half, it was devastating for NRG. FaZe Clan were able to win a lot of individual engagements and NRG had very few times when they were remotely competitive. With a 14-1 halftime score, FaZe Clan got the eventual victory 16-7.

Nuke was the map pick by FaZe Clan. Oddly enough, it is not a map in which FaZe have had a lot of success. However, it is a map which FaZe have already won in the tournament against NRG themselves. It appeared to be a confidence pick from FaZe and it paid off. The European mixture secured a stellar first half on the T side with 8 rounds. From that point on, it came down to just closing out the game on the ct side and they won the bo3 2-0.

FaZe Clan had a convincing bo3 but one of the main factors of their success was due to Niko. On the last map, he acquired 33 kills and 110 ADR. Obviously, it wasn’t just Niko doing the heavy-lifting but he also had a great supporting cast from his teammates.

BLAST-Pro-Series-LA-Playoffs-Final.jpg

Team Liquid vs FaZe Clan

The grand final was set. Team Liquid has been looking dominant during the whole tournament and this would be their biggest challenge yet in the event, a bo3 against FaZe Clan. From the get-go, the map veto was favoring TL in a number of ways. With the first map being Nuke, it was stellar map for TL, not to mention that they’ve already won this map against FaZe in the group stages. As for inferno, it’s a great map for Team Liquid as they can excel on it with their world-class utility usage.

FaZe didn’t look too bad in the Nuke matchup, but there were a lot of instances of the team getting unlucky. They found some good opening kills but couldn’t convert the mid-rounds. They had won the pistol round on the second half, but couldn’t convert the second-round victory. FaZe looked good to pull off a comeback, but the risky hero plays from TL paid off and they won the map 16-13.

Inferno was a standard affair for Team Liquid. With a great half on the T side of Inferno, all they had to do was close things out on the CT and secure the victory, as FaZe couldn’t get the ball rolling. With the victory on Inferno, Liquid won yet another trophy to cement their era in Counter-Strike.

Conclusions

Another dominant performance coming out of Team Liquid. They were able to secure the victory in BPS Los Angeles without losing a single map, continuing their streak. But there were moments in which TL looked like they might break, but because they have the individuals to step up they can win those situations. We believe that looking forward, Team Liquid should look into not straining those individuals should they wish to continue on their winning streak.