In a result many didn’t expect, Europe’s first seed has fallen to NA’s second. V1 advance to the upper bracket semifinals, where they’ll play Korea’s NUTURN.
The second match on the second day of play in VCT Masters Reykjavik was set to be a big one. With many analysts pinning Europe as the best region in the world, it was a big match as their first seed, Team Liquid, took the stage for the first time. Up against North America's second seed, Version1, it was also the first of two games today where the two big regions face each other. Would Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom and co. continue to build things up, or would Version1 turn around a somewhat shaky first day with a statement game here?
Team Liquid clutch up in overtime on Split
Version1 picked Split to kick things off. Agent picks were immediately interesting: On V1's side, Jordan "Zellsis" Montemurro picked up Killjoy instead of his typical duelists; while Team Liquid also ran a single duelist, with ScreaM playing Sage and James "Kryptix" Affleck on Viper.
Early rounds went back and fourth. While Liquid took the pistol and follow-up, V1 took two rounds of their own, including an ace from Erik "penny" Penny, to keep it at 2-2 and force Liquid on an eco.
Each team would continue to show great moments as the half progressed. Liquid had plenty of great individual moments, spearheaded by who else but ScreaM, while V1's early plants helped them secure several rounds. The half ended at 7-5 Liquid.
Liquid started off the second half hot, taking the first three rounds, but an eco win with a 3k from Loic "effys" Sauvageau kept V1 in it. As the half continued, momentum built for the North American side. penny's Operator showed up big as V1 tied it at 10-10.
While Version1 took two more rounds and were making it look easy, Liquid would clutch up to force overtime. Both teams kept winning their defensive rounds as things got very tense. Another 3k from penny, a double rotate gone wrong, it was as exciting as an overtime could be. Eventually, Liquid would finish it up at 16-14.
V1 pick up exciting Ascent win
The next map was Team Liquid’s pick, Ascent, but V1 started out hot. A pistol win and a few clumsy attack rounds gave them a big 5-0 advantage. Liquid quickly cleaned things up though, and would put together five of their own. A few great plays from penny and effys took them to 6-5, and another A retake made it 7-5 at the half.
Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen finally came on in a big way as Ascent went on. Liquid looked confident as the second half began, pulling things back to 8-7. However, V1 sensed the win, and continued to press. Big rounds from penny and Jamal “jammyz” Bangash pulled the momentum back in V1’s favour.
It would be yet another comeback from Liquid to make it 13-11, before a crazy final round would see V1 close it out 13-11. A third map was in order - and what better way to close out the first ever NA-EU matchup.
Version1 close out the series with a dominant victory on Haven
Things picked up right where they left off as Haven began. A few crazy rounds and a few tactically sound rounds gave Version1 a small early lead. But this lead quickly ballooned into something resembling domination. A failed knife kill by Dom “soulcas” Sulcas seemed to be the nail in the coffin.
Repeatedly, Version1 would play very passive post-plants, and stall out the spike with their utility. Liquid seemed to have no answer, and as V1 screamed across the arena towards their EU counterparts, Team Liquid seemed defeated. The first half ended 10-2.
While a pistol round win would restore a shred of hope for Liquid, a few successive rounds and some great play by Zellsis inched V1 ever closer to finishing things. One final rush down mid brought V1 the big win.