mouz vs Team Liquid - Match Analysis

Posted by Susann "meruna" Berger 2 years, 7 weeks ago

There has been a lot of discussion about implementing a concede option for the game. Usually, proponents are told that you should never 'give up' and always 'keep fighting', because you 'can always win'. Yet still, there have been early and maybe premature gg's from pro teams, e.g. Na`Vi surrendering to iG at The International 2 after only 16 minutes and being behind 6-0. To not just concede defeat when the enemy has taken two sets of barracks is difficult; yet one of the teams of this match analysis held on to the game - an interesting ending guaranteed.

75-1354641076.jpeg Team Liquid started the group stage of The Defense in the lower bracket after a rather shaky 4-3 run through the group stage, falling to mouz, eL'Pride and Virtus Pro. Mouz, on the other hand, completed the group stage on a perfect streak of 7-0, but lost to Team Dignitas in their first game of the playoffs. Both teams have been battling their way through the lower bracket - Liquid took out syndereN's Re-defining Madness and 3DMAX; Mouz defeated dd. On the 25th of February, Liquid and Mouz had a face-off in a best-of-three format to determine who would move into the next stage of the tournament. After two exciting games, both teams sit on one win each and are one loss away from being eliminated.

The Draft
First Ban Phase
mouz bans
mouz starts off by banning two very popular heroes which both fit agressive strategies. By banning Wisp, they remove the option of having to play against a super-mobile Chaos Knight or Tiny.
Liquid bans Liquid use a lot of their extra time on the first ban phase, removing Nyx, a threat to all support heroes and Dark Seer, a great hero for pushing, farming and defending as well as big teamfights.
First Pick Phase
mouz picks mouz choose Keeper of the Light as their first pick - a hero who is very commonly seen in the first picking stage, but not very often on the first pick. His great pushing and anti-pushing power and Recall ability allowing him to pull allies back into a fight when they are split-pushing or after buying back must have been the reasons for mouz to pick one of their support heroes early. Like that, they also don't give their stategy away but leave a lot of popular and powerful heroes in the pool for Liquid.
Liquid picks
That said, Liquid pick up one of the most wanted support heroes, Shadow Demon. Disruption is a very powerful spell throughout the whole game, setting up kills early, replicating the carry in late game - such as Gyrocopter who has suddenly become a top tier pick in the Western scene. A good combination of magical and physical damage makes him hit hard early and especially in late game, his three AOE abilities wipe away any illusions and support heroes in team fights.
mouz picks
Even with those two big counters to illusion-based heroes, mouz still decide to pick up Phantom Lancer, the hero with - by far - the biggest agility growth who can stand toe to toe with any other carries in terms of farming and damage potential. Especially when laning with KOTL, Phantom Lancer also has good early game presence when spamming his Spirit Lance - a strategy which brought PL the nick name 'Cancer Lancer'. Brewmaster is good for two reasons here: First, his obviously unique ultimate which gives great crowd control through the Earth Elemental's stun and the Storm Elemental's cyclone. Second, his Drunken Haze ability should not be underestimated in late game against the enemy's carry. When fully maxed out, the skill applies a 75% miss chance debuff - that is 75% less physical damage from the carry.
Liquid picks This seems like a slightly odd pick at first but opens a lot of new options for Liquid. They can try to play it two-carry-style or use the Gyrocopter as support, just like No Tidehunter does. Lifestealer is a very flexible hero in terms of laning; he can go woods, aggressive or defensive trilane or even mid against Brewmaster. There have been games with a Lifestealer playing solo offlane but it is usually not be best choice; although he can dodge the Illuminate damage by casting Rage, he can still get ganked easily. The purpose of Lifestealer is not clear at this stage of the draft as he can't fight Phantom Lancer and his army of illusions and can get cycloned by Brewmaster in a team fight.
Second Ban Phase
mouz bans Three very unusual bans come out from mouz. They decide to leave heroes like Magnus, Enigma and Rubick in the pool and rather take out OD, a hero with strong damage potential Liquid has played in the past. Puck and Broodmother could have both caused mouz trouble in predicting Liquid's laning, and by removing Brood, they also take out a hero which usually buys Orchid, a good counter to PL's invisibility or Brewmaster's Primal Split.
Liquid bans Team Liquid's bans look more standard, removing anti-carry hero Bane who has amazing crowd control - Nightmare, Fiend's Grip and Enfeeble can make three heroes useless in a team fight situation. Bounty Hunter is a smart counter-ban since mouz are still missing a hero for the offlane if they decide to have it soloed. Liquid also remove Natures Prophet's split pushing power and avoid having to predict whether NP goes mid, offlane or jungle.
Second Pick Phase
mouz picks mouz pick up Visage, a rarely picked but still competitive hero who can be very effective in tri- on trilane situations due to his ability Soul Assumption. A good slow for early kills as well as the option of scouting and pushing with his familiars make him a strong pick who does not need to fear late game. Clockwerk confirms their plans of running a defensive trilane top and putting the melee strength hero bottom. Clock's ultimate adds some much needed stun and initiation power to their lineup. It is also important to mention that Hookshot can be cast on magic-immune targets, such as a raging Lifestealer - unlike abilites from other common offlaners such as Windrunner.
Liquid picks Liquid accepts the invitation to a tri-on-tri lane and pick one of the strongest heroes for those situations, Undying. Since the entire team only has one stun, Gyro's missile, they also pick Tinker for a reliable late-game disable through rearm-hex.
The Lanes
VisualisationLiquid's Line-up (Radiant)mouz' Line-up (Dire)
fluffnstuff - Top

Korok - Bot

tc - Top

ixmike88 - Top

Bulba - Mid

Alex- - Top

Black^ - Top

FATA - Mid

KuroKy- - Top

paS- - Bot

The Game
Phase 1: Early Game
Liquid's aim: Farm and levels on Tinker and Gyro, get kills on the trilane top. mouz' aim: Guard the PL and get him some easy kills.
Tri on tri

The game starts off with Liquid invading the Dire's jungle, placing a ward in the pull spot and trying to get an advantage on the trilane through that. The first blood isn't long in coming and happens top, as expected. Lifestealer casts Open Wounds on the Visage; however, Shadow Demon goes down first to a fully chanelled Illuminate. The first issue of Liquid's trilane already shows - SD and Undying have very little impact early on since they have no stun or slow. Lack of true sight in the first minutes makes them give away an easy kill on the Phantom Lancer. Liquid's supports who would love to buy boots have to spend their money on sentries first. In the meantime, Gyro is not challenged a lot by the Clockwerk and with his melee-oriented skillbuild - maxing Rocket Barrage and Flak Cannon - he can easily push Clock back. Tinker gets an easy kill on Clock when they both try to get the bottom rune at four minutes in, giving him a slight advantage in mid. Lifestealer and Phantom Lancer farm evenly at this point, the overall gold is favouring Team Liquid by +1000 gold after five minutes due to the almost free farming Gyro.

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This Illuminate is going to hurt.

Kills and farm

The two supports of Team Liquid have a hard time. Getting some experience on an agressive trilane is already as hard as it is, and with Visage keeping the pulls going, they realise they need to move. With them rotating to bot, Lifestealer needs to go into the jungle and will fall behind on last hits and gold, leaving PL to free farm on top. SD and Undying smoke and try to gank the Clockwerk bottom but fail due to the lack of disables and a fast teleportation in from Brewmaster. Having March of the Machines maxed out, Tinker starts to farm the ancients and gaining a lead over Brewmaster. A slight misplay comes out from KuroKy on the Visage: He tries to harass Tinker while he is farming and drops to the March, giving even more gold to the Tinker.

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Careful, Visage, this March will hurt you.

The first items

Both carries now start to pressure the towers; Gyro with his brand-new Helm of the Dominator, PL with a Yasha. He decides to go for the Manta Style build to be able to push with a lot of illusions later on. Radiance would not have been the right choice here as it would give a free Radiance to the Radiant as soon as Shadow Demon can disrupt Phantom Lancer or one of the illusions. Tinker gets his Boots of Travel at about 12 minutes, Brewmaster buys a Blink Dagger at 14 minutes. Korok starts to farm the jungle with Flak Cannon and buys a Yasha shortly before he gets ganked. Both sides' supports are pretty poor at this point, only having boots and wands. Keeper of the Light is doing a bit better and is on his way to a Mekansm.

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Gyrocopter farming the jungle.

Phase 2: Let's fight
Liquid's aim: Force team fights with the item advantage. mouz' aim: Farm the PL some more, then team fight and split push.
Where is PL?

Lifestealer with his Drums and Phase Boots manages to kill Keeper of the Light behind the tier 2 tower in the mid lane. mouz react fast to this aggressive play and bring in Clockwerk and Brewmaster who can now put his Blink Dagger to use. He wants to kill off the weak supports but gets suprised by Gyro who was coming in. Liquid proceed to take kills, the tower and even the Familiars for some extra gold. Now, where is Phantom Lancer? Black has been farming his Diffusal Blade - even with the possibility of SD 'stealing' his illusions and the feedback, it's one of the most powerful items for illusion-based heroes and great team fights. While PL manages to solo-kill the Tinker who was not expecting a Diffusal blade, the rest of mouz smokes through the Radiant jungle and take the tier one tower. Liquid's attempt to trade towers fails as their push is slower and less aggressive; mouz can teleport back in time and even snipe off the Shadow Demon.

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Surprise: Gyrocopter is coming.

Liquid's time to shine

By the 20 minute mark, Team Liquid get their core items up - Tinker has BoT and Blink, Lifestealer buys an Armlet and Gyro finishes his Manta Style. The overall gold is favouring them by +2,000 gold since they have two carries and a Tinker farming a lot. However, the Radiant's supports are poorer. As an addition to the boots, Undying was able to afford an urn while mouz' Keeper of the Light has almost finished his Mekansm. mouz find Lifestealer in mid and initiate on him with Brewmaster's Thunderclap and Clockwerk's Hook Shot. Lifestealer quickly infests a creep and can wait for his team to come in and set a battlefield the Dire do not want to fight in. March of the Machines and a Tombstone make it impossible for mouz to dive behind the tier one tower. Clock drops immediately and even with Phantom Lancer attending this fight, they can't get a kill. Undying survives by the skin of his teeth, using his ultimate form, an urn charge and Soul Rip to stay alive. After this fight, the farm distribution looks like this:

Top 5 Networths
1Phantom Lancer11,077
The levels are fairly even at this point, the supports of mouz are still doing better than Liquid's Undying and Shadow Demon. Liquid wants to play agressively now and farm the Dire's jungle. Gyro, however, gets caught out of position by Clockwerk and a fully channeled Illuminate. Although he gets lucky with the Mirror Images and can escape from the cogs, he can't avoid the Brewmaster Clap. Tinker tries to help and blinks into the trees to cast a safe March of the Machines from there, but also gets stuck, leaving Lifestealer alone against Phantom Lancer and mouz' supports.

With Infest on cooldown, he cannot escape.

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Lifestealer infests a creep and waits for his team.




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A lucky Manta Style gets Gyrocopter out of the Cogs,
Tinker is stuck in the trees.

mouz pulling ahead

Another unfortunate fight happens for Liquid in the middle lane. Phantom Lancer finds and picks off the Undying and even though multiple Radiant heroes turn on him, they can't kill him due to Keeper of the Light's Mekansm and the lack of stuns - Tinker has, however, started building a Scythe of Vyse. Shadow Demon dies, and Lifestealer gets killed in the end because he wants to farm the Familiars. Liquid's time to be aggressive is over. The last fights had an impact on the overall gold; now mouz is ahead by +2,000. Keeper of the Light buys a Ghost Scepter to survive against Lifestealer, Liquid's Shadow Demon can finally afford a gem. With his 219 last hits, PL is planning on buying a heart. There is no item progression on the Radiant side with their farming heroes sitting on 193 (Gyrocopter), 137 (Tinker) and 118 (Lifestealer) last hits. Most valuable hero: Shadow Demon

Apart from Gyrocopter's big AOE damage, the only way Team Liquid can deal with the split pushing PL illusions at this point is to keep disrupting them to create their own army of illusions. With this reinforcement, the team tries to push the first top tower but decide to retreat since they do not know where the enemy is. mouz flanks them through the jungle but the fight does not go their way. With both sides' supports dying early - Keeper of the Light ironically goes down to Shadow Demon's PL army - Gyrocopter has to focus on Phantom Lancer and brings him down low. Since the Dire's supports are dead, they don't need much more crowd control than the Calldown to deal with the illusions. Phantom Lancer pull backs and leaves his team to die.




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mouz coming in through the side.

Phase 3: mouz' dominance
Liquid's aim: Don't lose the advantage, find a way to deal with the PL illusions. mouz' aim: Start the split push and show PL's strength.
The base push begins

mouz sneaks into Roshan's pit for a fast Aegis, the Double Damage rune on Phantom Lancer is certainly helping with that. With his Heart of Tarasque finished, mouz want to go aggressive. Tinker is still missing some gold for his Hex and both Gyrocopter and Lifestealer haven't finishedtheir next item either. mouz invade the jungle and manage to find and kill the two most important heroes of Liquid, Shadow Demon and Gyro. With those anti-push heroes down, mouz destroy the middle tier two tower and start on the base. Even when SD respawns, he gets cyloned up in the air by Brewmaster's Storm Elemental and mouz can dive the base for further kills. Together with Gyrocopter, Liquid can finally push mouz out. Phantom Lancer loses his aegis and mouz retreat. Since Liquid has no wards out at this point, the chase is difficult. The overall gold favoures mouz by +3,000 gold by now, the XP by +4,000. Clockwerk bought a Blade Mail to deal with all the AOE damage, Brewmaster is close to his Aghanim's Scepter.

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What are you going to do without SD?.

Welcome to mouz' lategame

Liquid know the Phantom Lancer is getting out of hand. They push middle with a battlefury up on Lifestealer and a Butterfly on Gyrocopter. The battlefury is directed at killing illusions, the problem with this is that a large part of Lifestealer's damage is coming from his passive Feast which does not add to the cleave. The Radiant want to make something happen and jump on Phantom Lancer in the mid lane. Because he bought his own Butterfly, they can not bring him down. Even though Gyro can kill the supports, Liquid lose four heroes. This fight results in 5,000 gold and 7,500 XP advantage for mouz. Brewmaster and Visage have their Aghamin's Scepters up and with their current strength, they can claim yet another Roshan - this time giving the Aegis to Brew. Liquid cannot contest this as they have to deal with the illusion army of Phantom Lancer split-pushing. It becomes very clear now that even a Lifestealer with a Battlefury cannot deal with this. Around the 40 minute mark, mouz enter the base again. Clockwerk initiates in Tinker who gets focused down and due to buying back earlier, cannot join the fight again any time soon. After buying a Crystalys, Phantom Lancer deals more damage than Liquid can take and scores an Ultra Kill inside the Radiant's base. He goes down to the tower damage and Lifestealer who bought back, but buys back himself and gets recalled by Keeper of the Light. mouz proceed to take middle and bottom barracks.

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The Battlefury is not working.



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Ultra Kill!.

Phase 4: Never give up
Liquid's aim: Make a miracle happen. mouz' aim: Take top barracks and end the game.
How to counter a PL

mouz goes top in order to push the last set of barracks. Brewmaster comes in too close and gets hexed and killed quickly. He is out of the fight for five seconds until his Aegis will revive him. Now, Liquid can show their remaining strength, hex the Phantom Lancer and disrupt one of his illusions. Clockwerk saves Phantom Lancer from dying by a great Hookshot, but can not save all of his team. Both teams retreat; Liquid won this fight 3:1. Gyrocopter can afford a full MKB to counter PL's evasion from the Butterfly and starts to push out mid. Even though Phantom Lancer finds a Double Damage rune, mouz are scared of going in again and give more time to Lifestealer to farm his own MKB. With buy back available on all of mouz' heroes bar Clockwerk, they finally decide to go top again, sending the Phantom Lancer's - who has bougt a full Daedalus - illusions in first.



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Clock hooking Lifestealer to save PL.

Liquid defending

Mouz are sitting just outside the base, sending in Phantom Lancer's illusions and rockets from Clockwerk. Visage tries to scout with the Familiars, but they get picked off two times in a row, giving extra gold to Liquid. In the meantime, Shadow Demon's PL army push out mid very far and Lifestealer buys his MKB. Almost ten minutes after the last fight top, Phantom Lancer becomes impatient and gets in too close and cops quite some damage from the Flak Cannon. A rather chaotic fight breaks out in which Liquid manages to come out on top. They need to buy back some of their heroes but since the fight is in their own base, they can join the fight again after dying within seconds. The whole fight was fought inside the March of the Machines and the Tombstone area - Brewmaster dies and buys back, Phantom Lancer and Keeper of the Light get scouted out by Shadow Demon's Poison and killed by Tinker.

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Item progression.



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KOTL and PL cannot escape.

Divine Time

Phantom Lancer and Visage buy back so mouz can kill Roshan again, this time protecting their carry with the Aegis and giving the Cheese to Brewmaster. Phantom Lancer 'only' has two lives, though, as his buyback is on cooldown. Gyrocopter, who has been saving his money since the MKB, buys a Divine Rapier. This is Liquid's time to come back. Lifestealer infests into Tinker who is not afraid of blinking into four enemy heroes on the top lane - Phantom Lancer has been split from his team and joins the fight some seconds too late through the secret shop. Tinker's hex keeps Brewmaster from using his Primal Split and with the united forces of Gyrocopter and Lifestealer, they can bring down Phantom Lancer easily. Shadow Demon and Tinker die to the rest of mouz but can buy back. Tinker even manages to snipe off the retreating Keeper of the Light with a fast teleport and his Force Staff and Blink Dagger. Why did this fight go so differently? Mouz wasn't able to use their crowd control spells of Brewmaster and Clockwerk's Cogs and Hookshot because they got initiated on. Hookshot, the only spell to stop Lifestealer in his Rage, misses. The damage coming out from Gyrocopter and the Rapier speaks for itself.



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Tinker is not afraid.


Of mouz' five dead heroes, only Keeper of the Light and Clockwerk can buy back to defend the incoming push mid. Gyrocopter immediately attacks the tower but plays it calmly to not lose the Rapier. Even with Brewmaster and Visage respawning as the tier three tower falls, mouz cannot defend against the smart play of Liquid. When Phantom Lancer finally respawns, the Ancient is down to half health already. Liquid take game three and eliminate mouz from the Defense.

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mouz can not defend this.

The gold graph tells the story of this game. Liquid winning the early game by farming two carries and getting some easy kills, mouz pulling ahead with their Phantom Lancer and a slow, but steady comeback. An interesting thing to point out are the small boxes below the graph, showing the kills which happened. After the team fight around the 40 minute mark, there were no kills but the Radiant was completely outfarming the Dire at that point, ultimately leading to two MKB's and a Divine Rapier.
mouz' mistakes analysis_mouz_liquid_runes1.jpg

Now, why did mouz lose this game? The graphic above shows the rune control of both teams. Red means mouz got the rune, blue is Team Liquid's colour. FATA's rune control with his Brewmaster was excellent throughout the whole game, but it didn't save his team from losing. Their noncommittal play in the top lane when only one set of barracks was left gave Gyro the time he needed for the gamebreaking Divine. mouz' game plan was well thought-through, their early- and mid-game agression was ideal but they were too careful in lategame. When they got initiated on, they didn't get their planned combination off - Brewmaster uses his ulti to take Shadow Demon out of the fight, Clockwerk disables Lifestealer. Instead of sitting on the top lane for about ten minutes, they should have pressured all lanes with Phantom Lancer and gained more map control so all of the Dire's heroes could farm. The importance of this match Liquid proceed on their path in The Defense's Lower Bracket and play against EG tonight at 21 CET. The winner of that game will face off against Fnatic.EU in the Lower Bracket Final.

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