Team Liquid and w7m esports met for the fourth time this stage in the Six Major semi-final to decide who would go on to play Team BDS in Sunday’s grand-final.
The game was a rematch of the Copa Elite Six grand-final (and the upcoming BR6 Finals grand-final), included both a Charlotte Major and Berlin Major semi-final loser, and saw both rosters bring in a new title-winning IGL since their last showing.
The contest began on Clubhouse, a map w7m last lost over six months ago, and with w7m having not lost in 18 matches.
For the opening two rounds, the two teams kept close until the 50-second mark, at which time w7m’s offensive push fell flat. This was a testament to how familiar these rosters are to each other at this point, despite both teams having just made roster changes.
On round three, as w7m began their push into site, resetz started what ended up being an unnecessary flank as the two players on the site, Lagonis and Paluh, shot every opponent as they stepped into the objective.
W7m almost got on the board on round four, as Volpz lost a 1v1 on time, but Liquid’s march to the end of the map looked unstoppable.
In round six, the round that had evaded w7m for 10 minutes finally went their way as Julio jumped off the plant and killed an overzealous Paluh in a 1v1 clutch.
Paluh was not happy and earned a triple kill before being once again killed by Julio. While this was the first of three in Julio’s 1v5 attempt, he eventually was cut down, putting Liquid on map point on w7m’s own map pick.
But the following two rounds saw w7m lose just one player, as volpz managed five kills and they looked to be on their way back up.
Round 11 started with Kheyze and volpz securing the opening two kills, before AsK killed Jv92 and Lagonis downed volpz. In a 3v3, HerdsZ died to a peek that Paluh had already had lined up and AsK got a second kill against Julio. All that was left was Kheyze in a 1v3 and Lagonis took him out to win the map.
W7m took their first lead of the series by earning four kills in two seconds, while a quick double kill from Jv92 forced Lagonis off of the plant, winning round two also.
After numerous comebacks from Liquid on Clubhouse, HerdsZ helped bring back a 2v3 by earning a triple kill and disabling the defuser before resetz could get back to stop him. The round saw Lagonis get on and off the plant four times, only for his eventual plant position to doom resetz, as it allowed HerdsZ to be tucked away in cover while defusing.
At the minute mark, a double kill from Julio was traded out, turning a 2v4 into a 1v2. Lagonis tried getting the plant down before being spooked multiple times, pulling off with 0.5 seconds remaining. Volpz pressed forward during this, shotgunning nesk from behind the bomb before nabbing Lagonis himself.
On map point, w7m moved to the attack. Kheyze got the opening kill with a grenade onto nesk and 35 seconds after the round’s first kill, Jv92 ended the round to devastate Team Liquid 7-0.
This marked was the tournament’s very first 0-7 map after seven 1-7 losses earlier in the tournament, two of which were delivered by Liquid themselves.
The decider was then Villa.
The last time w7m had lost on Villa was in Stage 2’s Copa Elite Six, a 5-7 against FaZe. Since then, they notably beat Team Liquid 7-5 on this map during the CES Stage 3 winner’s final. It was also due to be the map three against FaZe Clan during the Berlin Major semi-final.
Liquid, meanwhile, had beaten FaZe 8-6 on this map during yesterday’s quarter-finals and lost 5-7 on it against TSM earlier in the groups. Prior to their CES loss against w7m on Villa, though, they had enjoyed an eight game streak on Villa… dating back to their 3-7 loss to w7m during Stage 1.
This history showed, as Kheyze got his first flashy multi-kill of the game as a triple won the first round. But the eight-round win streak was finally stopped from growing any larger, as w7m failed to hold onto their players’ lives.
This seemed to light a fire in Liquid, who piled on round after round and were suddenly leading 4-1. It seemed like Skyscraper had been forgotten. But w7m ended the first half with a second round win, a much needed pause to a Liquid snowball that was threatening to end the contest quickly.
As the sides switched, the ante grew. The opening round of w7m’s attack was perhaps the most thrilling of the playoffs, as an initial three kills put them well ahead before they got near to the site. Resetz then rushed into the site and killed HerdsZ, while Lagonis took down volpz and the Montagne of Julio.
With resetz injured and baited by Jv92, Lagonis backed up, read the bait and shotgunned Jv92 in the face. Now in a 1v1 ,Kheyze picked up the defuser and ran back to the site. Lagonis slowly followed him up, only to find that Kheyze hadn’t gone to plant but was there to cut him off, winning the clutch.
The following round was also a tense battle and fans were in for a thrilling ride as w7m tied up the scoreline at 4-4.
Liquid called a timeout a round later as they lost their lead, before tying it right back as w7m tried an ill-fated rush.
Liquid were back in control thanks to a triple kill from Paluh, the last of which came on volpz’s Montagne that was stuck in an unwinnable 1v3.
Match and series point for Liquid were the closest they had gotten to a grand-final since SI 2021 and the best this core lineup had ever done. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be this easy as w7m forced overtime.
The game had seen two 4-2 half wins from the defensive side, making Liquid’s start on the defence a positive sign for Lagonis’ team. Liquid capitalised on this, as a late flank from resetz got them match point again before they finally closed things out and set up a Shaiiko vs Paluh grand-final.
This will be Nesk’s fifth grand-final after beating PENTA Sports in the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, losing to PENTA in Season 4, losing to NiP during SI 2021, beating SSG to win the OGA PIT Minor 2019, and losing to TSM during the DreamHack Montreal 2019 final.
Paluh has only been in three of these, winning in Croatia, but losing twice in Montreal.
Finally, Lagonis has only been in one grand-final and won it to claim the Mexico Major title over Team Empire. AsK and resetz, on the other hand, have never been in a grand-final after having made their professional debut only in 2021.
This specific meeting between Liquid and BDS will be the third time they’ve ever met. Team Liquid beat BDS 2-0 at the OGA PIT Minor 7-4 and 8-7 on Clubhouse and Kafe, BDS beat Liquid 7-1 in the SI 2021 groups on Oregon, and BDS beat Liquid 8-6 and 8-6 on Oregon and Bank at the Gamers8 tournament.
While labeling the final a Shaiiko vs Paluh matchup may be reductive to their teammates, Paluh’s definitely making a case for it as he was Liquid’s lone player with a SiegeGG Rating over 1.00.
Despite that, he was outshone by HerdsZ after the w7m player was particularly lethal on Skyscraper.
A particularly remarkable figure comes when looking at w7m’s clutch figures and considering Liquid’s minus 10 opening kill differential. Team BDS may see an opportunity here and will be no pushovers when it comes to the grand-final tomorrow.
SiegeGG is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more about how readers support SiegeGG.