‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
The semifinals of the Major have been set. Na`Vi plays against MIBR and Astralis play against Liquid. In a previous blog I broke down the win conditions for MIBR vs Na`Vi. In this one I’ll do the same for Liquid vs Astralis. First I’ll break down what I think are the respective strengths of the team as they currently stand. I’ll break it down into three basic categories: Skill, team play, and tactics.
In terms of overall skill, I think both teams are fairly well distributed across all of their roles. No one here sticks out as a player who doesn’t fit their role they are playing or underperform relative to the role they are given. However the way the teams break down in terms of where they are most impactful is different.
In the case of Astralis, they have a superior AWPer in dev1ce so Astralis will have a natural edge against Liquid, especially on their CT-side. In Liquid’s case, I think they have a stronger entry pack compared to Astralis. Dupreeh could be the best entry fragger in the game, but I’d rather take a combination of nitr0, EliGE, and plus one (they can change who the third is depending on the map).
Overall, I think it’s even and the team that utilizes their tactics better will also have an edge in their skill.
I think Astralis are the best team in the world when it comes to team play so I will naturally give them an edge. However Liquid aren’t slouches themselves. At the beginning of the year, they had a 2-3 second delay in terms of their comms and what they wanted to do across the map and were punished multiple times whenever they played Astralis. At this event, this seems to have cleared up, so while Astralis have the edge here, but Liquid is competitive.
I consider gla1ve and the Astralis team to have the best tactics in the world, but Liquid again aren’t far behind. The best edge that Liquid have right now is the extra time they took to prep for the Major whereas Astralis played at Stockholm. Liquid have also shown that they can match them head-to-head tactically, which we’ve seen in their victory against Astralis on inferno in this Major.
I still favor gla1ve and Astralis because I think their CT-side traps are better, but Liquid understand that change of pace is critical in messing up Astralis’ Ct-side wall, so again this is a close deal.
So now I’ll look at how these categories work out in the map veto. I think it goes:
Astralis ban cache
Liquid ban train
Astralis pick Nuke
Liquid pick Mirage
Astralis ban Dust2
Liquid ban Overpass
Final Map is Inferno
My reasoning on this one is simple. Astralis can play cache, but won’t risk it against Liquid who are looking amazing on the map. Liquid don’t play train. Astralis should then abuse their 100% winrate on Liquid. Liquid then have three potential choices in Dust2, Mirage, and Inferno. I think Dust2 varies too much in results, so they’ll go towards Mirage or Inferno. I think Liquid’s strengths as a 5 rifle squad shine more on Mirage than on Inferno. Astralis then ban Dust2 because of it’s too variable. Liquid have to bane Overpass as I think dev1ce’s AWP would kill them if they went there. So the final map is Inferno.
Overall, this should be a close series. It could likely be the best series of the entire event. Even nuke could be a close game, despite what the numbers tell us. Overall though I have to favor Astralis. There is a reason this is their era, though Liquid do have a good chance (I’d put it at 45/55) to beat Astralis here.