The comeback kings of WEU emerged victorious against the largest gold lead in competitive Dota 2 history – and that was only the first game of the series

It was one of the biggest comebacks in the Wester European TI10 Qualifiers, as Team Liquid turned around an 84k deficit to win a 103-minute game. But unfortunately for TL, that was just the beginning. 

As Team Liquid and Chicken Fighters clashed in the Lower Bracket of The International 10: Western Europe Qualifier on July 9th, elimination was on the line. Team Liquid, who have struggled so far these qualifiers to stay on top, had fallen to the lower bracket against Tundra on July 8th.

To keep their chances of heading to TI10 alive, the team had to endure one of the longest games of the Western European Qualifier and face off against an unorthodox Techies pick...

Game 1 - 100 Minutes of Hell 

There have been some long games in these TI10 qualifiers. The Southeast Asia made a habit of having games over an hour-long, while Elephant and Royal Never Give Up had one of the longest games in history a few days ago. Unfortunately for Chicken Fighters and Team Liquid, they would be the next victims of this trend.

Things started reasonably enough. The first blood for Chicken Fighters and an early lead gave them control of the game. However, as they began to push towers, Team Liquid was, again and again, able to secure kills.

As the game scaled into the super late game, Team Liquid’s Tommy “Taiga” Le became a sacrificial lamb for the squad, dying on Tiny repeatedly to save the base. Forced onto their high ground, TL could do nothing but watch as Chicken Fighter’s net worth grew and grew. By an hour and 36 minutes in, it had peaked at 84,227 gold when disaster struck.

In a dramatic turnaround, Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi was able to burst down his opponent’s with Ancient Apparition’s incredible late-game damage. Then, scooping up a dropped Rapier (or three), he teleported to the Radiant high ground and ended the game—a stunning 103-minute comeback.

Game 2- TL Broken By Chicken Fighters?

But that game, one of the longest in this bracket so far, was quickly followed by one of the shortest. Team Liquid looked entirely broken by their opponents. As Charlie “CharlieDota” Arat and Ondřej “Supream^” Štarha bullied their opposing lanes, the game quickly snowballed out of control. Team Liquid tapped out after just 23 minutes and 52 seconds.

Game 3 - Redemption for Team Liquid

With the momentum now firmly back in their control, Chicken Fighters came out swinging, picking up Techies for offlaner Adrian “Era” Kryeziu. In a clear piece of psychological warfare, Chicken Fighters could tell Team Liquid was on the ropes and looked to deliver a knockout punch.

With a bestial Faceless Void for Charlie that quickly farmed to near-invincible status, there was a sense that Team Liquid just didn’t have any more left in the tank. The engagements they took were lackluster, and they struggled to keep control of the map. Techies were setting up his bombs and mines, and the minute a TL player made a mistake, Chicken Fighters would jump on it.

However, it seems that Era didn’t entirely lean into the Techies enough. So TL started a very effective clearing project, using illusions to tank up mines. This meant that Michael “miCKe” Vu’s Luna could get onto the high ground, where no mines were. Because Era hadn’t pre-emptively mined the whole base like this was a pub game, Luna was able to break out her typical base-destroying glaives, and soon enough, TL had secured their victory.

Team Liquid Rise Above The Mental Warfare To Advance

Chicken Fighters used every trick they had to try and win. They even resorted to Techies to try and secure their spot, but they couldn’t handle Team Liquid in the end. For the first time in this tournament, Team Liquid looked like a team that could attend a TI. Team Liquid endured huge deficits, found solutions to difficult-to-beat strategies, and secured a comeback win. It will be exciting to see them face more teams this qualifier with this level of play.

The action is far from over for the Western European qualifiers though. Team Liquid will face the winner of Nigma and Spider Pigzs later today to keep their TI10 dreams alive.

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