Liquid have secured a spot in the Group B winners’ match of cs_summit 8, defeating Bad News Bears 2-1 after over a month away from official competition following their defeat to Dignitas in the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown.
The match marked the return of Eric “adreN” Hoag as Liquid‘s head coach, someone who Michael “Grim” Wince praised in the post-match interview. “adreN really helps everyone,” the 20-year-old stated following the end of the series. “He knows how to play at a professional level, he’s done it many times before. He really understands the opposition we are facing, knowing tells, and brings new stuff to try.”
Grim also said that practice upon returning to his home region was “actually pretty good” and that the North American teams “that you might not think are good practice are actually doing really good, and doing good things.” He ended by praising Extra Salt‘s performances and their rise in North America, but said Liquid would “play their own game and play 120%” against them on Saturday in the Group B winners’ match.
Liquid kicked off Mirage with a masterclass, shutting down Bad News Bears‘ efforts to enter bombsites and racing to a 9-1 lead in the process. Peter “ptr” Gurney‘s side finally began to gain ground at the end of the half, mustering six rounds, but Liquid were unrelenting as Keith “NAF” Markovic and Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski combined to crush any vestiges of hope for Bad News Bears by sealing the map shortly after the side swap.
It seemed Inferno was set for a similar showing as an early lead blossomed into a dominant first half for Liquid, who pieced together a 10-5 scoreline by the break. However, Bad News Bears rapidly closed that gap, sustaining in late round situations to briefly pull ahead before Liquid finally found their first T round.
The teams went blow for blow to tie up the score at 13-13, but a pivotal win on a half-buy from Bad News Bears proved to be the key turning point as Liquid‘s economy was crushed, allowing for ptr to lead his team to a narrow win to tie the series.
It was pages out of the exact same book on the decider map, Overpass, with Liquid gaining ground at the start of the half, only for Bad News Bears to rally back towards the end, bringing themselves within three rounds. Echoes of Inferno began to ring out as a spree of Terrorist rounds gave Bad News Bears the upper hand, only for the team to fall to pistols from Liquid.
Again, the scoreline was tied up at 12-12 as Bad News Bears answered back, but unlike Inferno, a last-second rotate back to the B site from Nick “alter” Jackson and ptr proved to be the death blow for their side, who fell for the second time to Liquid‘s pistols before back-to-back triple kills from Jake “Stewie2K” Yip and Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo brought the map to a sudden end, 16-12.