A comparison: Alliance vs. Team Liquid – who's better?

posted by Brasozial,
While three world-class teams are still missing from Europe, Alliance and Team Liquid are representing their region. Both European squads had a good performance in the group stage and qualified for the Upper Bracket, but Alliance and Liquid lost their first series in the playoffs and are stuck in the Lower Bracket now. After winning against their Chinese opponents both European teams will face each other in an elimination match tomorrow.

Placements so far: Alliance wins

If you just look at tournaments and matchups between those teams since TI9 finished, Alliance are clearly the favourite. Adrian 'Fata' Trinks's team won DreamLeague Season 12, as well as the qualifier for MDL Chengdu Major and were ranked third at ESL One Hamburg 2019.

Team Liquid, on the other hand, just finished fourth in Rotterdam and didn't even make it to the playoffs in Hamburg. Even if we look at direct matchups, Alliance areahead, as they won the duel in the qualifier for the Major – the only series between the two teams. Since there isn't much data about matches in this season we decided to compare the two stacks on each position.

Position 1: Nikobaby vs. miCKe

Actually, it's not easy to compare Alliance's carry to Liquid's, because Aydin 'INSaNIA' Sarkohi likes to switch roles for his carry depending on the draft. Although Michael 'm`ICKe' Vu is the position 1 player of the team, sometimes Max 'Qojqva' Broecker takes over which makes them not that easy to read in drafts.

However, for this comparison we decided to pick miCKe for the carry and qojqva for mid lane. It doesn't really make a difference, because Nikolay 'Nikobaby' Nikolov has been the star on Alliance lately. The Bulgarian carry has been one of the biggest surprises of this new season. With a KDA of 17.92 at DreamLeague Season 12 he crushed all possible opponents. Same goes for ESL One Hamburg where he had the best KDA, although just finishing third.

miCKe is also a great carry, but this season seems to be Nikobaby's time to shine. This is why we give the first point to Alliance.

Position 2: Limmp vs. qojqva

Although Nikobaby seems to outshine his team-mates, people tend to forget about Linus 'Limmp' Blomdin's skillset. The Swedish carry is just 24 years old, but has been considered to be a top-notch mid laner for quite some time. However, he's still searching for the right team-mates. Neither his time on Alliance, nor on compLexity Gaming nor on Ninjas in Pyjamas have given him really the chance to prove his worth.

So far, the new Alliance team give him the space he needs to make the highlight plays. His stats can't be compared to Nikobaby, but whenever the Bulgarian carry has a lacking performance, Limmp is there to take the lead.

Max 'Qojqva' Broecker is also rather young with 24 years of age. Some might be surprised by his young age compared to his size or experience in the scene. His first professional steps in Dota 2 can be traced back to 2013 with Mousesports* '13. He's been considered a huge talent for quite some time, but never really made the step into tier 1 – up until last year. He was one of the big reasons why the former Alliance stack were so successful and still are.

However, he hasn't had many chances yet to shine since joining Liquid. A few mistakes and some solid performances are not enough and this is why we give this second point to Limmp and Alliance.

Position 3: 33 vs. Boxi

We'll make this short: both offlaners are really underrated if you compare them to the best offlaners in the world. In fact, both players had a great season before TI9 and would have made an attempt on best offlaner of the year if Ludwig 'zai' Wåhlberg wouldn't have dominated the game.

So far especially Samuel 'Boxi' Svahn proves every game that we should keep an eye on him. Whenever Team Liquid have a good performance this season, it's because Boxi finds an opening in the enemies lines and initiates perfectly. Just look at the recent game against EHOME if you don't believe us. This is why we decided to give this third point to Liquid.

Position 4: Taiga vs. Handsken

The Scandinavian scene has some great talent that will inspire and enlighten us the next years – and two of them are Simon 'Handsken' Haag and Tommy 'Taiga' Le. Especially Handsken seems fresh and exciting lately after giving up the captain role. He can finally concentrate on being a good support again.

However, Taiga is still a few steps ahead. The Norwegian support seems to be rather shy and cautious if you look at his interviews. But this doesn't apply for his gamestyle. He's one of those new position 4 supports who are playmakers. He can be compared to the likes of Maroun 'Gh' Merhej, Yazied 'YapzOr' Jaradat, and Jesse 'JerAx' Vainikka. Because of this new style of support he's indispensable in the latest updates, we'll grant this fourth point to Liquid.

Position 5: Fata vs. iNSaNiA

Most people think about this one mistake when they hear the name Aydin 'INSaNIA' Sarkohi, the one time he picked the wrong hero for his team leading to a loss in the Lower Bracket at The International 2019. But this isn't doing him justice: iNSaNiA is one of the most talented captains of the younger generation. He built a team of trust and experience that he can rely on. On top of that, as mentioned in the beginning, he likes to utilize his carries in different roles making his drafts ahead.

However, Adrian 'Fata' Trinks just switched recently from carry to captain – and who would have thought that he could do so well? He's the leader his young team needs, giving them space, tranquility and support. Yes, Fata is on the way to be a top-class captain, but for now iNSaNiA is still a bit ahead. This is why we give the last and final point to Liquid.

Verdict: Alliance vs. Liquid

If we count the points for each position, Liquid is a bit ahead with 3-2, but let's be honest in Dota 2 this is almost like nothing. Not just the general performance is important, but whether or not the players feel comfortable in that series. Momentum can shift, drafts can be unexpected – everything can happen. However, one thing is for sure: a great battle awaits.

Who are you rooting for?

Photo credit: DreamHack - Alex Maxwell

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