posted by Smyke,
The MegaFon Winter Clash invited six of the world's best teams to Moscow in a competition worth $300,000. It was the first LAN appereance for Team Liquid since The International 2018 — and they demonstrated why they're still a threat to the best teams in the world.

The favourites fall fast

The biggest surprise of the tournament was that Liquid didn't face either of the finalists of The Kuala Lumpur Major. Neither nor Team Secret gave a good performance in the group stage or later in the Lower Bracket of the playoffs.

Both teams lost against the best Chinese team in Dota 2 currently. PSG.LGD beat in the first round of the Lower Bracket, and then went on to earn a 2-1 victory against Team Secret in their second playoff match.

Although Xu 'Fy' Linsen and his teammates convincingly beat the two current-best Dota 2 squads, they weren't preprared enough for an exciting match in the Losers' Finals.

Na'Vi is back!

Nobody expected Natus Vincere to make it that far. The Ukrainian powerhouse was the only team that had to fight through the qualifier to earn a slot for the tournament in the Russian capital. By beating VP in the Group Stage, Na'Vi took first place in their group and went directly to the Winners' Finals, where they faced Team Liquid.

Kuro S. 'KuroKy' Takhasomi's team didn't compete in the first two tournaments on the Dota 2 Pro Circuit. However, Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov did play as a stand-in for Ninjas in Pyjamas at the first Major.

A bunch of Dota 2 community members doubted that Liquid would start the season well. In fact, people questioned whether the team would compete with the same line-up in the DPC after Soung-Gon 'Heen' Lee departed. The era of Liquid seemed to be history.

However, at the MegaFon Winter Clash they demonstrated the opposite. By winning both Group Stage matches, and recording a 2-0 win in the Winners' Final against Natus Vincere, they made it into the Grand Finals — aiming for their first LAN victory since the China Dota 2 Supermajor in June.

Liquid are unstoppable

With Na'Vi having to compete against PSG.LGD in the Lower Bracket, everybody expected the Ukrainian powerhouse's run to end here, but they surprised the Dota 2 experts yet again. The first game was an even match-up, but after 49 minutes Na'Vi beat the Chinese team in Game One.

Both teams switched up their line-ups in the second draft, but Na'Vi had the better outcome. They snowballed the TI8 finalists after just 22 minutes for a 2-0 overall victory. The Ukrainians had made it into the Grand Final by winning just two matches.

Liquid themselves needed to win just two games in the Grand Final to win the Moscow tournament, as they were granted a default win in Game One.

Both games didn't even last an hour in total as Liquid were crowned champions of the Winter Clash. This puts Liquid back on track for the upcoming DPC Major in Chongqing, where they will be one of the favourites to beat reigning Major champions

Can Liquid win The Chongqing Major next year?

Photo credit: Twitter - EPICENTER