Matumbaman fans can breathe a sigh of relief as Team Liquid defeats Thunder Awaken to take top-four at TI11.

Team Liquid has defeated Thunder Awaken to become the last team in the Top Four of The International 2022 (TI11). The European squad defeated their South American opponents 2-1 in a nail-biting series that saw both pushed to the limit.

What’s more, the win once again postponed the retirement of Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen, who has vowed to retire after this TI. Matu will have to keep his boots laced for at least another week, as him and Liquid advance to the next stage of The International.

But this was no easy victory. Thunder Awaken truly pushed TL to the limit. And right from game one, it looked like Liquid might miss out on advancing.

Crazy Thunder Awaken Comeback

In Game One, Thunder Awaken shot to an early lead as their Bloodseeker grabbed several kills in lane. However, Liquid attempted to stabilize, and for a while it looked like it would work. But after a furious team fight TA took control.

Only to throw it away in the next big fight. But Thunder Awaken refused to let this keep them down, and the game rolled into a protracted and drawn out matchup that saw both teams attempt to secure victory in big engagements.

After catching Thunder out one too many times, Liquid were able to secure barracks and spawn mega creeps. However, after a huge misplay by Team Liquid, taking a fight they didn’t need, TA marched down mid. With just a single creep taking away the back door protection, the team took game one. One of the biggest comebacks in TI history.

Team Liquid’s resurgence

In Game Two, TL’s draft had enormous amounts of summons, with the Enigma and Broodmother. In response, Thunder Awaken’s Ember Spirit, Disruptor, and Tidehunter were picked up to deal with all these extra creeps.

But even with this strong draft, TA struggled in the early game, as Boxi and the rest of Team Liquid took control on their comfort picks. Zai’s Brood was able to get several kills in lane and started to look huge at just the 10-minute mark.

And this began to scale out of control. Some perfect Black Holes from iNSaNiA and the fact that TA couldn’t get their BKBs meant that TL snowballed. And this resulted in some unfortunate plays from the SA representatives, who dropped game two in disappointing fashion

Team Liquid continues at TI11

Team Liquid’s offlane started things off brutally, as Zai and Boxi got three quick kills on the opposing safe lane and forcing their opponent’s out. But Thunder buckled down and weathered the early game aggression, punishing Boxi and Matumbaman for their poor positioning.

From there, it was a matter of execution. Team Liquid were able to pick better fights, and punish their opponents every time they left their base. A single bad engagement by Liquid threatened to give TA the advantage. But, TL were able to consistently win team fights, and slowly build up a convincing lead.

This meant that the fights would eventually go in Team Liquid’s favour. But Thunder would simply not die. They almost eliminated TL in a brutal throw situation.

But somehow, TL persevered. An incredible hold mirrored the first match, and Team Liquid marched down mid and took their place in the top four.

The end of the TI11 playoffs

With the result, the TI11 playoffs are now in the books, and our final four teams have been confirmed. Team Liquid heads to the final four, while Thunder Awaken finishes 5th-6th. The South American team will head home having become the most successful team their region has ever seen, and approximately $600,000 wealthier.

TI11 continues on Saturday, October 29th. Team Liquid continue their TI11 journey then by facing off against Team Aster.

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Michael Hassall -

Michael Hassall

| Twitter: @hoffasaurusx

Michael is a UK-based content creator who caught the esports bug in 2010, but took eight years to figure out he should write about it. Throwing away a promising career in marketing and PR, he now specialises in MOBAs, covering League of Legends, Dota 2, and esports in general since 2019. When not glued to tournaments taking place on the other side of the globe, he spends time nurturing an unhealthy addiction to MMOs and gacha games.