SIMILAR TO LAST SEASON, THE INTEL GRAND SLAM IS CLAIMED EARLY
As we hinted at in our earlier article discussing esports events for the weekend, ESL One Cologne 2019 generated an intense atmosphere with a tangible weight applied whenever Team Liquid were on stage. Apart from the $125,000 on the line for beating out the other teams at the event, a whopping $1,000,000 also hung in the balance.
Regardless of the supposed pressure, Team Liquid prevailed and played Counter Strike: Global Offensive as they have this far into the season – with an intelligence unmatched by other rosters. Breezing through the competition, Team Liquid only lost two maps throughout the entire competition: as the roster consisting of nitr0, EliGE, Twistzz, NAF and Stewie2K together with the support of their coach in adreN clearly demonstrated how they’ve won three events in a row, instantly finding their way to Sunday.
Taking out Natus Vincere in the semifinals in a dominating fashion with a quick 2-0 , Team Vitality awaited Team Liquid in the BO5 Grand Final after having to fight through the Lower Bracket. It’s safe to say that the stakes were high. As the Intel Grand Slam was on the line, which guarantees and extra $1,000,000 should Team Liquid win.
While Team Liquid clenched an early lead with a strong first map victory on Overpass of 16-6, it would be the second map on Dust II which would step things up a notch. Pushing the game to an overtime standoff, Team Vitality fought off Liquid, ultimately winning with a 19-17 scoreline. Team Vitality gave it all they had, and the map was one of the best of the tournament, given the situation. After that stumble, it seems that Team Liquid managed to refocus and went on to win the next two subsequent maps with convincing 16-10 and 16-8 scorelines; each consisting of a characteristic early start for the North Americans.
Just like that, Team Liquid raised their hands and embraced each other together with their achievement and justified prize pool to show for it. Holding two trophies at once, Team Liquid is the best CS:GO team in the world at the moment – I doubt we’ll witness the Intel Grand Slam claimed in such a dominant fashion ever again. After struggling to win anything last season, Team Liquid surprised everyone this season. While both seasons failed to produce any spoiler matches which I would have personally loved to see, they’ve added tremendously to the level of competition.
Let’s see if Team Liquid will continue to assert their world-class performance, after an astronomical pay-day, at the remaining CS:GO events as there are many left to compete through; as I said, it’s still early on in the season. Nonetheless, it’s awesome to know that Team Liquid, the current top team in the world, came over to Malta to boot camp with us only a month ago!