IM plants the Seed of victory
Photo source: Team Liquid
Even a seven-win performance from TaeJa wasn't enough to stop Incredible Miracle taking victory in Team Arena Challenge 3.
When Liquid threw TaeJa into the ring after the first round, it seemed like a huge risk. The all-kill master is usually saved until he's desperately needed, not when his team is only a game behind. But by the time he had taken down back-to-back Protoss players, including the reigning GSL champion Seed, it all seemed to be going as planned for Team Liquid. Sure enough, a couple of hours later and the all-kill was complete, increasing TaeJa's unbelievable success rate. It almost seemed like the second set, an therefore the title, was an inevitability.
TaeJa had shown that he could win in almost any circumstance - coming from behind, maintaining an early lead or simply outplaying his opponent in a long macro game. Could it be possible that five games in a row might have fatigued him? Liquid again went down 0-1 in the first game but threw Zenio in second this time, saving their star turn until later.
Down 1-3, they finally unleashed the beast. The ROG Summer champion started where he left off, taking down First and Yonghwa. But after just two wins, he was stopped by another champion - IM's Seed. With their star performer taken out, suddenly things looked troublesome for TL. Incredible Miracle needed just one more point and Liquid had no choice but to send out Hero, despite Seed's proven ability to win high level PvP games under pressure.
From there, it played out as expected. Seed emerged victorious and so did IM. It took them two sets, but they managed to overcome the most successful players in TAC3 and one of the best in the world right now. Liquid just lacked the depth of IM's squad and were in trouble from the moment TaeJa was defeated. They have some solid players, of course, but IM's were just that little bit better when it really mattered.