IEM Sydney 2019 came to a climatic end today as Team Liquid claimed victory during the CS:GO grand final match.
They defeat tournament superstars Fnatic, thereby claiming the IEM Sydney 2019 championship trophy.
Despite setting Qudos Bank Arena on fire this weekend, many considered Fnatic to be the undergo heading into the grand final. And the boys knew it, kicking off the first map with an absolute slaughter.
Team Liquid could not take an inch for the first dozen or so rounds, with Fnatic pounding them into submission.
The Swedes’ 9-point lead didn’t last, however, as the boys from the US mounted a comeback that saw them slow Fnatic‘s pace. By half time on the first map, the score sat at 10-5. The second half saw Fnatic edging closer to victory, despite Team Liquid‘s attempts to block them. But eventually, Fnatic took map one to make the series 1-0 in their favour.
How Liquid Found Their Groove
Now finding their groove, Team Liquid began to bring the pressure on map two. Their relatively slow start on the first map now replaced with a team confident in their ability to deny Fnatic any ground.
But, the Swedish superstars weren’t going to simply lie down and take it; with map two quickly descending into a tit-for-tat matchup reminiscent of Friday night’s quarterfinal match against Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Fnatic digs in and pushes back to equalise the score 12-12 towards the end of the map; by this measure, it appears they’re attempting to trap Team Liquid into forced overtime.
However, that wasn’t part of Team Liquid‘s game plan and they secure that all-important 16th point to lock down map two; the series equalises 1-1.
Map three sees yet another hotly contested match play out. Fnatic, not wanting to give any more ground to their opponent, locks Team Liquid into another tit-for-tat grudge match.
Fed up with up this particular tactic, Team Liquid changes stance to widen the point gap between them and Fnatic. The change works and they’re able to deny Fnatic anymore ground to take map 3 for themselves; making the score 2-1 in Team Liquid‘s favour.
The pressure mounted as we head into map four. Whatever strategy was working for Team Liquid before begins to fall apart as Fnatic begins an epic assault. While the round scores equalise at half-time, Fnatic continues their dominance and take map four; thereby pushing the series in the fifth and final map.
Revenge on the 5th
The clock approaches 8 pm AEDT and both teams have been battling it out for almost 5 hours. Despite the longevity, the crowd is on fire. From beach balls and Mexican waves, chants and sing-a-longs, the mass collection of bodies keep the energy in Qudos Bank Arena alive.
And both Fnatic and Team Liquid need that energy as they move into the fifth map; inferno.
It was a strong start to map five for Team Liquid who took the first two rounds; thereby giving them the early advantage allowing them to maintain a prolonged lead. Whether it be through sheer will, natural skill or luck, Team Liquid continued to stay ahead right up to half-time, with Fnatic trailing 11-4.
Both teams opened the second half of inferno aggressively; a playstyle that energised the roaring crowd. Team Liquid hit hardest, carving out a mammoth lead that brought them within inches of the trophy.
However, Fnatic denied them the taste of victory for a short time as they mounted an impressive comeback; though, in the end, it wasn’t enough to hold Team Liquid from glory with them taking home the win 16-9; thereby securing the series with a score of 3-2.
Team Liquid Take Home the Win
By being crowned IEM Sydney 2019 champions, Team Liquid have broken the curse that has alluded them a victory for so long.
Fnatic played a strong and aggressive game not just during the grand final, but throughout the entire tournament; however, there can only be one winner.
In securing the victory, Team Liquid will take home the IEM Sydney 2019 trophy and the lion share of the $250,000 (USD) prize pool.
Jayden Williams travelled to Sydney, Australia as a guest of Acer. All accommodation and meals were provided by Acer.