The Manila Major Main Event – Team Liquid eliminates Natus Vincere
The TI1 champions Natus Vincere bid goodbye to to their Manila Major run as Team Liquid drop them off from the Loser’s Bracket after the latter’s 2-0 victory over the former. Nevertheless, Na’Vi, reaching the top 8 of this Major has pretty much secured themselves the TI Direct Invite.
Natus Vincere‘s tendency to run unorthodox tactics became a centerpiece of this game as they opted for the Middle Lane Batrider on Dendi, on the other hand giving Ditya Ra the Juggernaut with General handling the Beatmaster. Team Liquid on the other hand went for the now popular heroes on this tournament with a very tanky lineup consisting of FATA- with the Dragon Knight, MATUMBAMAN‘s Lone Druid and MinD_ContRoL playing on the Slardar. The early rotations from Artstyle helped secure a few kills for Dendi at mid and slowly trying to dictate the phase of the game by providing map and lane control for Na’Vi, however, a counter rotation from Liquid utilising Jerax‘s Sun Ray on his Phoenix helped turn the skirmish around securing a kill for the Dragon Knight.
Another fight broke out minutes later as the attempt by Na’Vi to punish Liquid for the Tier 1 tower push was turned around by none other than Jerax and this time netting himself a triple kill on his Phoenix.
Liquid picked up on the phase of the game exchanging kills and towers against Na’Vi, securing the cores for MATUMBAMAN. An uphill siege was the plan for Liquid on the 22nd minute but it was heavily punished by Na’Vi as 4 Liquid heroes fall to the defenders, with Dendi himself netting a double kill. The comeback story will have its quick ending though as Liquid proceeded to reclaim the lead, killing Na‘Vi‘s heroes one after the other and finally getting a barracks at minute 34. More fights, and defence attempts came from Natus Vincere afterwards but with Liquid already sitting at a very huge lead, Na’Vi calls the GG and concedes Game 1.
Comfort zones and heavy push is the story for Na’Vi‘s Game 2 as Dendi went for the Queen of Pain, Ditya Ra on the Lycan and the Nature’s Prophet being handled by General on the offlane. Liquid‘s lineup consisted of heroes that plan to counter a mass push and initiate a push for themselves as they bring in the Death Prophet on FATA-, MinD_ContRoL on the Timbersaw and MATUMBAMAN playing the Sven carry. The first instances of in-game action came in from the double counter to the Bounty Hunter invade by Jerax and Kuroky netting the first blood on Sonneiko.
Sonneiko quikcly redeemed himself quickly though as a rotation from him resulted in Dendi getting the kill on FATA- at mid. Both teams were able to trade blows during the early game although Na’Vi was not able to really punish Liquid as MinD_ContRoL is able to secure a very early Bloodstone at 10 minutes and the Blink Dagger on MATUMBAMAN at around 15-16. Dendi is still able to lead Na’Vi on with their Manila Major quest, securing the Orchid Malevolence after netting a few kills of his own from the QoP and Artstyle following suit as the Position 4 Vengeful Spirit was able to secure a Crimson Guard in less than 20 minutes.
Everything looked extremely good for Na’Vi during the early to mid-game phase as the constant pressure from General forces Liquid to react and enabling Na’Vi to catch the stragglers and open up the push. The problem however is that they have no true answer to Liquid‘s 5-man game as the damage output coming from the Exorcism, Chakram and Sven’s DPS output together with Beastmaster’s control is extremely fatal for Na’Vi.
With the 5-man setup starting to find its mark Liquid started to secure the uphill siege, taking out the Tier 3s and getting 2 Melee Barracks at the 28th minute while both General and Ditya Ra were down for the count due to a mishap earlier before the push attempt.Liquid just continued to pile up on Na’Vi forcing teamfight after teamfight and fully utilising their 5-man strength, Na’Vi still attempted to reclaim the game but after their failed defense at mid that left multiple heroes dead, they call the GG and will halt their Manila Major journey while Liquid moved on to face the SEA kings, team Fnatic.