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Down but never out — Team Liquid earns comeback, secures top three at Lima Major

Team Liquid’s propensity for a good comeback is well and alive.

Coming into the Lima Major as regional champions, Liquid took down Shopify Rebellion 2-0 in the upper bracket of the Lima Major to continue their successful season.

The Western European team confirmed a top three placement with a devastating game one, followed by a spectacular comeback in game two.

Game one was a complete stomp for Team Liquid

Credit: Valve

It was dominance from start to finish in game one for Team Liquid. Despite Shopify going for several lane-winning picks with their draft — Marci and Enchantress in the safelane, and Enigma plus Tusk in the offlane — it was Liquid that got off to a roaring start.

The lanes quickly slid into unrecoverable territory. Liquid’s safelane Lina and Tiny duo was undisturbed by Enigma’s denies, instead farming up the spawned Eidolons with overwhelming physical damage.

Off the back of a first blood on Enchantress for Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg’s Timbersaw, the offlaner led the charge. Shopify had little to deal with Timbersaw, who out-tanked almost everything thrown at him. In the end, Shopify saw their base fall as so many other teams have done so — to the Lina siege machine.

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Team Liquid shows championship mettle to comeback in game two

Credit: Valve

Game two was much of the opposite. Abed “Abed” Yusop crushed the laning stage with his Primal Beast, taking down Michał “Nisha” Jankowski’s Morphling twice by himself. He continued to be a terror, ganking every lane and taking down all of Liquid’s cores, en route to a godlike spree at the 15-minute mark.

With a game score that reached 6-23 in Shopify’s favor, it looked like the NA squad was ready to close out the game and take the series to a third match. But Liquid, it seemed, had yet to break a sweat.

Using a desperate Smoke to head to the midlane, it looked like Liquid’s game was over when Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen’s Tusk was ready to break the smoke. After a bit of posturing in the river between Abed and Samuel “Boxi” Svahn with their Blink Dagger, Shopify’s offlaner Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek looked ready to end the game with a massive Black Hole on Enigma.

But SabeRLight- had jumped a millisecond too early. Blinking into what turned out to be the last tick of Avalanche, he wasn’t able to get off his ultimate. Liquid took this stroke of luck to quickly eliminate the Enigma, before turning it into a won teamfight — also taking down Abed for the first time in the game and series.

Liquid continued to find success with their Smoke plays. The championship contender used an unconventional path to snake their way into Dire territory, avoiding Cr1t- — who was trying to break the Smoke once again. Liquid’s patience paid off when they found a sharp angle into Shopify’s jungle, taking down Enigma immediately. They followed up with a kill on Artour “Arteezy” Babaev’s farmed Templar Assassin. In the space of two teamfights, Liquid were back with a vengeance.

Shopify was unable to regain their mojo in the earlier game. Instead, the NA squad could only watch as the game slipped out of their hands. Liquid finally secured their first net worth lead of the game since the eighth minute at 40 minutes, right as they were trying to push into Shopify’s base. 

Liquid completed the comeback, taking down the series 2-0 — securing a podium finish and at least US$75,000 and 350 Dota Pro Circuit points. They will be facing fellow WEU team Gaimin Gladiators for a spot in the grand finals.

Shopify Rebellion will have to lick their wounds within the day. The team is scheduled to play tomorrow versus the winner of Evil Geniuses or Team Aster in the lower bracket, with a top-four placement on the line.

Tragically, Shopify’s Abed was perhaps the best player in the series, dominating his midlane in both games against Nisha, whom many regard to be the best player in the world. Finishing the series with 17/1/10 KDA, Abed will need to keep up his performances for Shopify’s trials ahead through the lower bracket.