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The International 2017: Team Liquid overcomes Virtus.Pro in intense 2-1 match

Ending the series of Lower Bracket matches for the day was a match between the last two Western teams in the tournament — Team Liquid and Virtus.Pro. After a very long best-of-three series, which featured a great number of outplays and potential comebacks from both squads, it was Team Liquid who managed take down the Russian powerhouse in a well-deserved 2-1 victory.

Game 1

Team Liquid

Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen — Lycan

Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi — Death Prophet

Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov — Beastmaster

Maroun “GH” Merhej — Keeper of the Light

Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi — Rubick

Virtus.Pro

Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev — Venomancer

Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko — Bloodseeker

Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov — Necrophos

Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk — Nyx Assassin

Alexei “Solo” Berezin — Crystal Maiden

The entirety of Game 1 was a series of onslaughts. With both sides finding the right timings to assert their aggression, the lead between them kept evening out as they continually traded kills from all over the map.

But past the 24-minute mark, an engage from Team Liquid in the top Dire jungle allowed them to almost secure an ace over their opponents as they chased towards the mid high-grounds of Virtus.Pro. This massive team fight success supposedly gave the blue-and-white squad an edge that they could use later on, but instead, they chose to overextend and thus was punished by the respawning Russian team.

Team fights continued to plague the map, and by the 60-minute mark — still with no clear end to the game — Team Liquid started to poise themselves along with their greater gold and push advantage. But Virtus.Pro was stubbornly superior in defending the high-grounds, and with their high pick potential, they managed to continually put Team Liquid at a numbers disadvantage before they could even launch a proper siege attempt.

At the last minutes of the game, with a very crucial team fight failing for Team Liquid, Virtus.Pro suddenly had a golden opportunity to completely make a comeback. With several members from Team Liquid dying and with no buybacks, the Russian squad went for a base rush in the mid lane in hopes of breaking their structures all the way. But before they could take down the last one, through sheer force, Miracle-’s Death Prophet and MATUMBAMAN’s Lycan flexed their defensive muscles and were able to sweep their foes. This then prompted a surrender from the Virtus.Pro past the 103-minute mark since they, as well, no longer have buybacks at that point.

Game 2

Team Liquid

Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen — Faceless Void

Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi — Invoker

Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov — Dark Seer

Maroun “GH” Merhej — Slardar

Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi — Winter Wyvern

Virtus.Pro

Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev — Necrophos

Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko — Viper

Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov — Sand King

Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk — Dazzle

Alexei “Solo” Berezin — Ogre Magi

Compared to the previous game, this Game 2 was much more linear as Virtus.Pro managed to snowball towards a winning lead. Despite an early kill lead for Team Liquid, they still couldn’t completely snatch away the gold lead due to their opponents’ superior farm and mitigation of losses. With great patience to find the one crucial moment or series of events that could set up their snowball, Virtus.Pro finally found an opportunity in an extended team fight near the Roshan pit where they managed to outplay Team Liquid even though they made some buybacks in the latter portion of it.

From then on out, Virtus.Pro didn’t look back. With the eventual 10/1/8 Necrophos and 8/1/10 Viper for Ramzes666 and No[o]ne, respectively, they were able to hard-carry their team as they successfully sieged the base of Team Liquid. And in the end, with the overall lead already too much and their base crumbling before them, Team Liquid conceded the game to the Russian squad past the 36-minute mark.

Game 3

Team Liquid

Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen — Venomancer

Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi — Anti-Mage

Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov — Nature’s Prophet

Maroun “GH” Merhej — Earthshaker

Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi — Lich

Virtus.Pro

Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev — Faceless Void

Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko — Queen of Pain

Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov — Magnus

Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk — Slardar

Alexei “Solo” Berezin — Ancient Apparition

Similar to the two earlier games, this one saw a consistent trade and minimization of leads in the early-to-mid stage. Past the 25-minute mark, a mid tier-2 tower and successful counter-initiation from Team Liquid boosted their gold lead, which they managed to secure only until Virtus.Pro once again evened it out later on.

However, in exchange, MinD_ContRoL found an opening to siege the top high-grounds of Virtus.Pro using the Treants of his Nature’s Prophet. With this consistent lane pressure from him and the pick potential of his team in the other areas of the map, Virtus.Pro was mostly on the defense within their base once again. And later on, with a final extended team fight at the top high-grounds of Virtus.Pro ultimately going in the favor of Team Liquid, the former finally surrendered the game, and effectively, the series as well.