Team Liquid made a fortune this weekend at ESL One: Cologne 2019.
Nabbing their fourth win in a row, Team Liquid took the top prize in Cologne and, with it, the $1,000,000 Intel Grand Slam bonus.
In achieving the victory, Team Liquid set a number of records. For one, they became the first Intel Grand Slam team to win four events in a row. (Three was already a record.) They also took the bonus just five events into the season, a record many experts feel could stand for years.
Stunning 2019 success for Team Liquid
The Intel Grand Slam win combined with their victory in Cologne means Team Liquid has now won six events in 2019. We’re looking at the iBUYPOWER Masters in January, plus the four Intel Grand Slam tournaments, plus the Grand Slam itself. Across these tournaments alone, they have earned $1,675,000 in prize money and bonuses.
However, just last year they were very much the bridesmaids to the dominant Astralis. The turnaround proved incredibly swift for the new top team in CS:GO.
The North American team consists of three American players (nitr0, EliGE, and Stewie2K), two Canadian players (NAF and Twistzz), and an American coach (adreN).
In 2016, Liquid became the first North American team to reach a Major Grand Final, coincidentally also at the ESL One: Cologne event. But they struggled in 2017 and found Astralis immovable in 2018. Clearly, 2019 is their year.
How ESL One: Cologne 2019 panned out
Team Liquid began their quest for success in Group A. They found their opening match against MVP PK one of the toughest of the tournament. Liquid edged out a close 16-14 win. They were pushed very hard once again in the second round of matches. They just scraped past Natus Vincere 2-1 in an epic contest. Round 3 against NRG Esports proved competitive but slightly less so at 2-0.
That earned Team Liquid, along with NRG Esports, a playoff spot. They were joined by Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas from Group B, with Natus Vincere and Team Vitality qualifying as the third-place teams from the two groups.
As a top seed, Team Liquid moved directly into the semifinals against Natus Vincere. Team Liquid really hit their stride in this contest, winning 2-0 (16-12, 16-12).
An eagerly awaited matchup with Astralis beckoned in the final. But in the other semifinal, Team Vitality stunned the Danish squad. Vitality then made a mockery of NRG Esports and swept past them into the final.
The final didn’t start well for the underdogs, though. Team Liquid took the opening map in this best-of-five contest by a 16-6 scoreline. Team Vitality then dug in and earned a fine 19-17 win on Dust II to level the contest.
Ultimately, Team Liquid proved their quality in style winning 16-10 on Inferno and then 16-7 on Mirage to claim the $125,000 top prize for the tournament, and the small matter of that $1,000,000 bonus prize.
Intel Grand Slam Season 3 starts now
With Team Liquid claiming the $1,000,000 bonus, the third season of the Intel Grand Slam will begin with the very next big event, which is the Intel Extreme Masters XIV in Chicago on July 18-21.
Team Liquid will be one of the eight teams in attendance along with MiBR, Renegades, Team Envy, ENCE, G2 Esports, Team Vitality, and forZe hoping to claim a share of the $250,000 prize money. It would be Liquid’s fifth Grand Slam win in a row.