In day two of VCT Stage 2 Masters – Reykjavík, after one year of professional players competing regionally, we finally get to see a showdown between European and North American teams with the matchup between Team Liquid and Version1. This matchup was highly anticipated, though the vast majority of the community and analysts agreed that this matchup heavily favored the European side in Team Liquid.
Coming from what is currently considered to be the two most competitive regions, both Team Liquid and Version1 battled against difficult opposition in order to qualify for the event – with Team Liquid winning against Fnatic 3-2 in the finals of Challengers Playoffs, and Version1 taking second place to Sentinels 0-3 in Challengers Finals. Version1 is competing in this event with Jamal “jammyz” Bangash as a substitute as one of their primary teammates, Maxim “wippie” Shepelev, was unable to obtain a visa due to COVID issues.
The matchup kicked off on Split, the map pick of Version1. Team Liquid started on the defensive side and immediately picked up the pistol and the following round. However, Version1 was able to answer back with three rounds of their own before Liquid would find a response. Version1 would later pick up an additional two rounds, the first of which came from a Sage counter-wall boosting four V1 players to overwhelm A-site. Team Liquid would pick up the final three rounds of the half, ultimately leading 7-5 going into their attack side.
Team Liquid kicked off the first half by once again winning the pistol and the following two rounds. However, Loic “effys” Sauvageau pulled off a massive 3K defuse in round 16 which kicked off a seven round comeback for Version1, placing them at 12-10 on map point. Team Liquid maintained their composure to win the final two rounds in regulation, sending the match into overtime. The two teams were virtually inseparable in the first two sets of OT, however, in the third OT Team Liquid was able to clutch out the win – taking Split 16-14.
Following the triple-overtime affair on Split, the matchup continued to Team Liquid’s choice of Ascent, with Version1 now starting on the defensive end. Version1 started off strong, picking up five rounds in a row before Team Liquid was able to get on the board following Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen combining to pick apart the defense. Team Liquid managed to put up five rounds of their own before Version1 was able to claim the final two rounds of the half, making the scoreline 7-5 in favor of Version1 going into their attacking side.
Starting the second half, Jammpi went huge to grab four kills and the defuse for Team Liquid’s defense. Following this, Liquid then won the two following rounds before Version1 came back with five rounds of their own – making the scoreline 12-8 and putting V1 on map point. Team Liquid pulled together three rounds in a row to make the game close at 12-11, but after a tactical timeout by Version1 and a fast set-play to A-site, V1 closed out the map at 13-11.
On the decider map of Haven, we started with Team Liquid on the defensive side. Team Liquid started off by winning the pistol round, though Version1 immediately answered back by winning the second round after a 1v2 clutch by Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro. Version1 rode this momentum to a 4-1 lead before Liquid bolstered a near-flawless round in the sixth. However, Team Liquid was not able to sustain their footing as Version1 ran away with the remaining rounds in the half, leading with a dominant 10-2.
Team Liquid started the second half by picking up the pistol round and converting in the second, however, this momentum was short-lived as Version1 was quickly able to find a response, including yet another 1v2 clutch by Zellsis on round 16 to put V1 on map and match point. In the following round, Version1 was able to push this map over the line and win 13-4 on Haven, solidifying their spot in the upper bracket and taking the series over Team Liquid 2-1.
With this result, Team Liquid is sent into the lower bracket where they will next face off against the winner of yng Sharks vs. KRÜ Esports on Thursday, May 27th. Version1 will progress through the upper bracket to meet up with NUTURN on Thursday, May 27th – the winner of which will be in the upper bracket final.