‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
The semifinals of ESL One Cologne have been set. Astralis vs Vitality and Liquid vs Na`Vi. As this is one of the biggest tournaments of the year, I wanted to break down the win conditions for both teams to win. This matchup was played earlier in the group stage, where Liquid won 2-1.
The tactics and team play of Na`Vi hasn’t fundamentally changed since they made they dropped Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev and added Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov. Boombl4 takes on the same spots and roles, except he has more skill and is better at making space.
As that’s the case, Liquid win out in all three categories. Their tactics and team play are spot on right now. Man-for-man, Liquid have the best firepower in the world. The only thing that goes Na`Vi’s way is Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev. Outside of that, Na`Vi need Denis "electronic" Sharipov to reach superstar levels of play if they want to outgun Liquid.
Best map: Overpass
Good maps: Dust2, Inferno, Mirage, Nuke
Playable map: Vertigo
Good maps: Dust2, Overpass, Train
Playable maps: Mirage, Inferno, Nuke
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The map veto will likely be the same as last time. This is how the map veto played out in the group stage:
Na`Vi bans Vertigo
Liquid bans Train
Na`Vi pick Dust2
Liquid pick Overpass
Na`Vi ban Inferno
Liquid ban Nuke
Final map Mirage
Overall, I favor Liquid with this map veto. What’s interesting to note is Liquid should be favorites on Inferno as well, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Liquid substitute Overpass with Inferno.
This match up is a bit easier to analyze than the Vitality vs Astralis game, as we’ve seen it before. For Na`Vi to win Dust2, they need s1mple to have a perfect performance like last time (knife withstanding). Even then, I think Liquid’s firepower should overwhelm Na`Vi, especially considering that Keith "NAF" Markovic can be a superstar, but was bad in the first encounter against Na`Vi.
While Overpass was close last time, I think I’ll favor Liquid to win it out. Liquid didn’t have the experience of playing against Na`Vi with Boombl4. Now that they have, they should have a better read of how Na`Vi want to play.
Overall this looks to be a 2-0 for Liquid. If Na`Vi want to push it to the third and upset Liquid, three things need to happen outside of s1mple playing like a superstar. First, electronic needs to play at his summer 2018 level. Second, Na`Vi need to win more force buys than usual. While they are among the best, it’s gotten harder to win these since the AUG came into play. Finally, they need to mentally focus throughout the entire game. Na`Vi have the propensity to lose focus early on by arguing with each other or taking it lax when they have the lead. Liquid isn’t a team that you can beat playing like that.