The finals of EPICENTER 2017 are here, and it happened quickly. One of the biggest prize pools of 2017 will go to Evil Geniuses or Team Liquid (who are trying to repeat as champions). Successfully defending the EPICENTER title will lead to TL’s greatest prize earning of the year. On the other hand, EG will equal the $250,000 they earned after losing 0-2 to OG in Kiev.
Team Liquid: An unsuspected finalist
Fans that were present (online or in person in Moscow) for the EPICENTER 2017 group stage saw LGD.ForeverYoung produce a dominating performance.
First, OG fell in sweeping fashion. Team Liquid was next to catch LGD’s fade, falling by two games to one. Finally, Team Secret and Na’Vi were swept heading into the playoff round. The point of all this is simple: LGD.ForeverYoung appeared ready to claim a big reward at EPICENTER; they proved to be a pretender rather than a contender when Team Liquid swept them June 10.
EPICENTER 2017 side note: Clutch Gamers and Natus Vincere both failed to win a single game in Moscow (0-8 group stage records).
EPICENTER 2017: Finals predictions
EG defeats TL because their form is better, having just won the Manila Masters. I’m struggling to give Team Liquid a whole lot of credit for outing the streaking LGD squad. One org is highly experienced in big tournaments, and the other is not; pressure mounted and veterans rose to the occasion.
Team Liquid has won two StarLadder tournaments this year, but failed at DAC. Faceless took a Bo1 and booted TL in the opening playoff match. With this moment in mind, and TL’s 5-5 group stage record at EPICENTER 2017, there really is no way to tell which version of Team Liquid will show up to the finals trying to repeat. Defending the EPICENTER title against America’s number one team is a tall order.
The added motivation of trying to repeat and maintain a title is not to be underestimated. However, this will not be enough to stop Evil Geniuses; EG will not underestimate TL and drop this series.
If you have predictions of your own, share them with me on Twitter.