Team Liquid starts 2019 at the best way possible by taking down rivals Astralis at the iBUYPOWER Masters IV finals 2-1.
The first big LAN of 2019 showed the dominance of the two teams who faced each other in 5 grand final showdowns last year with the Danish squad winning every single time. This time however, it was Liquid who did changes by adding in Jake "Stewie2K" Yip last December emerged victorious in their first meeting this year.
Map 1: Inferno
The finals kicked off at Inferno where Astralis started ablaze with a 6-0 run. Despite being Liquid’s map pick, Inferno went sour on their favor as they only managed to take 3 rounds in the first half.
The Americans were unable to get themselves together as Astralis even took the first 3 rounds off the switch. Liquid finally salvaged a win at the 19th round but the defeat was inevitable as Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander closes out for Astralis 16-4 with his superb 23-10 kill-death ratio.
Map 2: Dust 2
Liquid found themselves winning their T side pistol round as they open Dust 2. But the beating continued to hound them as Astralis strung 5 consecutive rounds in an instant. This time however, captain Nick "nitr0" Cannella make sure that his squad will get themselves together. Liquid managed to answer with an 8-0 rally to close out the half 9-6 in their favor.
With momentum swinging in their favor, Liquid went on to another 6-0 run in their CT side to hit map point. Astralis contested with a 5-0 run in attempt to stage a comeback but the slightest error in the 27th round caused them the map as Liquid win 16-11 to force a decider.
Map 3: Overpass
Like the first two maps, Astralis caught on fire at the beginning of Overpass where they took the first 7 rounds before Liquid manages to answer with a couple of their own. The Americans even took the last four rounds to close the half only down by three.
Switching sides, it became Liquid’s turn to fire all cylinders by adding six additional rounds to take a decisive 12-9 lead. The Astralis offense was doused by Liquid as they only managed to take 2 rounds, giving away the map and the championship to Liquid 16-11.
Liquid star Keith "NAF" Markovic was hailed as the tournament MVP by putting in a team leading rating of 1.23. His performance at Overpass was vital as he even cranked up with a 1.36 rating in the last map of the grand final.