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Team Liquid put together a massive upset in the ESL Pro League Season 15 playoffs, defeating Heroic to advance to the quarterfinals. The last North American team at the event will go on to face Ninjas in Pyjamas on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.
The win was a poetic result for the new Team Liquid, who have now exorcised their ESL Pro League demons. After all, Heroic knocked Team Liquid out of ESL Pro League Season 14 in spectacular fashion. Ismail “refrezh” Ali’s 1v5 on Inferno is a well known part of Counter-Strike history, but Liquid’s roster is no longer weighed down by that history after getting past Heroic.
The series between Liquid and Heroic was surprisingly one-sided for the North Americans. They rallied after a slow start on their map pick of Ancient and looked dominant on their CT half. They took the map 16-9.
In spite of the scoreline, Vertigo was even more convincing and ended 16-10 for Liquid. By the second half, the result almost seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Martin “stavn” Lund, Heroic’s top player, went missing on Vertigo. In contrast, Liquid in-game leader Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella stepped up massively to help close out the 2-0. The youngster Joshua “oSee” Ohm also continued to impress after he got over his slow start on Ancient.
After the match, Liquid head coach Eric “adreN” Hoag commented on the team’s map pool and their surprising degree of preparedness on Vertigo, typically seen as a staple European map.
“It’s definitely been a map we’re trying to improve on and get better on,” he said. “With a new roster, we just have to expand our map pool.”
Despite this victory, it’s not yet smooth sailing for Liquid, who still have to topple NiP in the quarterfinals to keep their playoff run alive.
“NiP will obviously be a hard match,” adreN said. “There’s no easy matches nowadays. I’m excited to play NiP. I think we’re feeling good after this win.”
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.