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Liquid pulled off a spectacular upset in the opening match of the Blast Premier World final as they beat world No. 1 Natus Vincere in a thrilling third map. That result pushed them to this upper bracket semi-final.
Liquid will be up against a quality team in Gambit, who have managed to find unprecedented consistency in the last few months. This incredible rise has seen them ascend to No. 4 in the world rankings.
This is a matchup that should be dominated by the strength of Sh1ro and his long-range proficiency, which will have a telling impact down the stretch.
It was Nafany that was the most impactful player in Gambit’s opening match against Heroic. He registered 43 kills with just 31 deaths and an average damage per round of 82.4 and a KAST (rounds in which he produced either a kill, assist, survived or was traded) of 81.4%.
While Sh1ro had more kills (45) and a better K-D (+16 as opposed to Nafany’s +12), he had a significantly lower damage per round (82.4). While Sh1ro was not at the same level as Nafany in every round, he was still stellar by any measure of comparison.
These two players will be the key for Gambit in this match considering they have been long-range specialists for a while now, either with the AWP, sniper or even rifling. Liquid will have to produce some incredible defense to keep these two out of their camp and bomb sites towards the end of rounds.
Apart from these two in-form, resurgent players, Gambit have several other factors in their favor too. One influential factor is Gambit’s recent form, which includes eight wins in their last 10 matches. Those two defeats were against Vitality and Virtus.pro.
Liquid, on the other end of the form spectrum, have managed to win just four of their last 10 matches, which will not do much for their confidence or rhythm. While one of those wins was against a strong Na Vi team, they were severe underdogs in that game.
Gambit have been excellent at Vertigo, winning 8 of their last 10 maps there, which could mean a preference for that map at some stage. Gambit have an better win percentage in recent CS:GO action in Ancient, winning 83 percent of their maps in the last six attempts.
Liquid may not have the map advantage, which will certainly make a difference in the third map if this match goes there. That will mean if Gambit lose a map, they should have a discernible positive factor in their favor if this semi-final needs a decisive third map.
Natus Vincere went into their match against Liquid as favorites to win without dropping a map. They had the better team, the deeper roster, the skilled specialists at a wide range of weapons and the recent form. Still, Liquid put in a quality performance to win 16-11, 7-16 and 16-7, with a dominant third-map performance in Inferno.
Naf was the wrecker-in-chief for Liquid, producing 64 kills along with 41 deaths with an average damage per round of 86.8. Fallen managed the AWP well, which will give him plenty of confidence because he still managed a positive K-D, worth 40 kills and 39 deaths.
Liquid will need Naf to step up again considering he has managed a team-leading 0.74 kills and 0.60 deaths per round in the last three months of CS:GO action with an ADR of 82.1 and a KAST of 74%.
Others in the team include Elige, who has produced the same kill rate as Naf but at a higher death rate (0.68 per round). His average damage per round is over 80 as well during this period. These will be Liquid’s go-to players during an offensive phase in this match.
|Liquid vs Gambit Information|
|Teams||Liquid vs Gambit|
|Location||Copenhagen, LAN event|
|Time||Thursday, December 16 at 10.00 AM EST onwards|
|How to watch||Blast’s Twitch and YouTube channels|
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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