Fnatic have defeated Team Liquid in the TI6 Lower Bracket, knocking the last European team out of the event.
Liquid finish in 7th-8th, a disappointing result for a team that were one of the favorites for Top 4 going into TI. Though Liquid have had a string of top LAN performances recently, including first place at EPICENTER and second at both of this year's Majors, at TI they seemed to struggle to find the synergy and coordination that have defined their play so far this year.
Fnatic won the first game of their set easily, out-killing Liquid 37-12 and closing things out at 40:10. The second game was much closer, with Liquid's aggressive draft racking up early kills and helping them establish firm command of the game by the 20-minute mark. However, Fnatic turned things around with some epic team kills in the mid game.
Though Liquid fought hard to regain their lead, Fnatic maintained the momentum, wiping Liquid in a final high-ground siege as the game approached 54 minutes. Liquid were forced to call GG, despite leading 39 kills to 33 in the final tally.
Both Team Liquid and Fnatic looked shaky in the Group Stage last week, finishing in the Bottom 4 of Group B with a tied 5-9 scoreline. But the two teams found their footing in the Lower Bracket — Liquid eliminated fan favorite Natus Vincere and Chinese powerhouse Newbee, while Fnatic took down two European squads, Escape Gaming and Alliance.
When Liquid and Fnatic met in the Group Stage, Liquid took a 2-0 victory over Fnatic, so winning this series should provide them with an additional burst of confidence for the Top 6. Fnatic offlaner Chong Xin "Ohaiyo" Khoo told theScore last week that they were confident they could fix their problems before heading into the Lower Bracket, and it looks like they've succeeded.
Liquid's elimination comes as just the latest in a series of shocks for Western fans. OG, the consensus favorite among fans and analysts, were knocked out in the Bottom 8 after losing both of their main event matches. Fan favorites Natus Vincere, Team Secret and Alliance were likewise eliminated in the first two days of games.
With this series decided, the TI Top 6 are now locked in: Wings Gaming, Evil Geniuses, EHOME, Digital Chaos, MVP Phoenix and Fnatic are all that remain of the 18 teams that flew into Seattle.
Fnatic's win also means that for the first time, two SEA teams have made the Top 6 at the International. However, only one of them will go on to the Top 4, since Fnatic next face MVP Phoenix in the Lower Bracket.
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.