Fnatic took down Team Liquid in the first round of Lower Bracket matches at Champions 2022 to keep their quest for glory alive and well.
Fnatic have beaten Team Liquid in the first round of Lower Bracket matches at Champions 2022. Their sublime 2-0 victory over their longtime EMEA rivals means that Fnatic live to fight another day as they continue on their path to glory in Istanbul.
"I'm not even thinking about the games that we are going to have to play. All I am going to try and do is improve our performance and our strategy as much as I can with our coaches, Mini and SLK. It doesn't matter who we play next, the biggest factor of our losses has been us."
Fnatic shine brightly in front of the Istanbul crowd
After a tough loss against XSET in their first match of Playoffs, Fnatic found themselves coming face to face with age-old rivals Team Liquid. Although they have played each other many times in the VCT era this was to be the first encounter between the pair this season; and it could not have come at a more crucial time for both teams. With the crowd on their side with the added factor of a match against their age-old EMEA rivals, it truly was a case of "now or never" for Fnatic. And they did not disappoint.
Fnatic could not have gotten off to a better start as the teams headed to Bind for the first map of the series; a battlefield which has often favored Fnatic. And they certainly made homefield advantage count for them in they took a commanding 9-3 lead after the first half; with Alfajer accumulating an astounding tally of 20 kills in the half. Things didn't get much better for Team Liquid in the second half as Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev's Chamber play completely shutdown their attack. Enabling Fnatic to take Bind 13-6 and carve out a very convincing 1-0 lead in the series.
Haven saw a much better display from Team Liquid compared to their lackluster efforts on Bind. But even then their individual plays simply weren't enough to keep this rejuvenated Fnatic squad at bay for very long as they managed to take a 7-5 lead into the second half. Fnatic continued to impose their authority on the map in the second-half; with their defensive setups proving to be too strong for Team Liquid to surpass. Fnatic would eventually go on to take Haven 13-7 and close out the series 2-0 to keep their hopes of glory at Champions 2022 alive and well. Whilst also condemning Team Liquid to a rather disappointing end to the 2022 VCT season.
Derke and Alfajer light up the Istanbul stage
This was a much more convincing performance out of Fnatic; especially in comparison to their previous matches at Champions 2022. And the slaying power of Alfajer and Derke was a huge reason behind that win.
"We have been watching their progress, especially with the new roster signings. I don't know, Liquid is just Liquid. They kind of play the same as they have always done because they don't really have an IGL. And if you don't have an IGL you're not really learning the macro side of the game and improving it."
The duo have had a tough time of things at this tournament, especially Alfajer who has certainly been feeling the added pressure that comes with being the hometown hero. But the young duelist proved to be a handful against Team Liquid on both maps in the series. Providing the Istanbul crowd with plenty to cheer about this time around.
And when his explosive Raze plays weren't enough to seal the deal, Fnatic could call on the ever-reliable Derke to lighten the with his Chamber play. The pair finished with a total of 79 kills across the series, which was more than the rest of their team combined; With Alfajer finishing as the undsiputed top-fragger of the match with 41. And as an added bonus, the Turkish sensation was named the Match-MVP; barely edging out his teammate Derke in the fan-poll on Twitter.