Credit: Joao Fereira - PGL

The North American region hasn’t been perfect lately, but many people were hoping for that to change at PGL Antwerp. Unfortunately, that hope hasn’t come to fruition yet. 

The two teams playing in the Challengers stage only managed to net a single victory. However, that victory came against the Mongolian squad IHC, a heavy underdog in this event. And even then, Complexity struggled more than they should have.

Tomorrow, Team Liquid faces elimination as they play 9z. And Complexity will most likely fall to Outsider, putting them in conversations for elimination as well. 

While Cloud9 pulled off a miracle 0-2 to 3-2 comeback in their Boston Major win, the chance of multiple NA team’s making it out of the group stages is very low. 

How did Team Liquid end up with their backs against the wall after only one day of play?

How did Liquid end up here

shox struggled on the first day of the Major – Joao Ferreira/PGL

In their first match of the day, if Team Liquid had played against any other team, their performance would have netted them a win.

G2, however, was too strong for Liquid, with Nikolai “NiKo” Kovac, Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov, and Nemanja “huNter” Kovac- all having 20+ kills in the one map series. Richard “shox” Papillon’s 5-18 scoreline didn’t help much either, and Liquid couldn’t achieve anything on their T side. 

Against Imperial, Keith “NAF” Markovic kept Liquid in the game for the first half, with almost double his teammates’ ADR. But, Gabriel “falleN” Toledo knew his old team’s strategy too well and knew exactly how to take down Liquid.

Their opponents today, 9z, went into PGL Antwerp hoping to pull off a miracle as they did in the qualifiers. However, Ence was having none of it. Lotan “Spinx” Giladi went off for his team, posting an insane 30-8 scoreline against 9z to completely shut them out of every round.

A few clutches went to 9z, but they were only able to put up seven rounds in the end. 

Their second map was a South American rivalry, with their opponent being MIBR. Maximiliano “max” Gonzalez and Franco “dgt” Garcia put the team on their backs for this matchup, and 9z found themselves tied 14-14, with the possibility of winning or overtime being just one round win away.

However, MIBR won two rounds in a row instead and sent 9z to the verge of elimination. 

Losing to 9Z would be devastating for Team Liquid. The players have been preaching patience, citing the long term for a project that underwent drastic changes at the start of the year.

But for the legendary players on their roster, going home without a single win from the Major is inexcusable. 

Zain Merchant is a writer at covering competitive first-person shooters, with an emphasis on the two biggest names in FPS esports: Counter-Strike and Valorant. With a background in business analytics, Zain is able to break down everything happening in both CS and Valorant in a way few other authors can. He's also fluent in Japanese.