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Talon Esports’ Heartbreaking Loss Against Team Liquid At The Riyadh Masters 2023

Dhruv Saikia
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Talon Esports failed to secure a guaranteed Top 3 finish at the Riyadh Masters 2023 after losing their upper bracket series against Team Liquid.
The last game of the series ended with a nail-biting base race, where Talon Esports had their victory stolen from them on the back of Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg’s Broodmother performance.
The team will continue their journey in the lower bracket of the tournament, where they face the winner of 9Pandas vs. Team Aster.

Talon Esports, one of the strongest contenders at the Riyadh Masters 2023, and the only Southeast Asian (SEA) representative, just fell short of securing a guaranteed Top 3 finish at the event after a heartbreaking loss to Team Liquid. 

Team Liquid seemed to have the upper hand in both games 1 and 2, however, Talon Esports managed to mount a comeback in Game 2 and secure the victory. Game 3 was more closely contested, with Talon Esports losing the game in a base race. 

Upper Bracket Round 2: Talon Esports vs. Team Liquid

In the first game of the series, Team Liquid showcased their dominance, gradually building an insurmountable lead against Talon Esports. The SEA team had an unconventional pick for Anucha "Jabz" Jirawong on Winter Wyvern, which had a relatively low impact in the game. In contrast, Michael "miCKe" Vu's Luna and Michał "Nisha" Jankowski's Leshrac had some stand-out performances, carrying their team to victory.

The second game witnessed a thrilling back-and-forth encounter between the two giants. Team Liquid had an early advantage, but Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon's outstanding performance on Terrorblade kept Talon Esports in the game. The young carry player’s exceptional gameplay allowed his team to swing the momentum in their favor, ultimately claiming victory in a hard-fought battle against Team Liquid.

Game 3 proved to be a much more intense game, with both teams refusing to give up an inch to the other. Talon Esports initially established a significant lead in the early stages, putting Team Liquid on the back foot. However, the Western European (WEU) squad showed remarkable resilience and turned the tide with some crucial teamfight wins. 

A standout performance from Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg on Broodmother kept Team Liquid's hopes alive, securing two lanes of barracks while Talon was busy with other objectives in the game. As the game neared its end, Talon Esports won a deciding teamfight and pushed towards the enemy throne, where it seemed like a Top 3 finish was within their grasp. But zai's calculated decision to sell items and purchase Boots of Travel led to a base race, clinching victory for Team Liquid in the nail-biting finale.

Despite the heartbreak of falling short against Team Liquid, Talon Esports' are still in the tournament and will continue their journey in the lower bracket. As the sole SEA representative in the tournament, the team has done very well so far in showcasing the region’s strength. While the loss was extremely heartbreaking for the players, the team must work on calming their nerves and looking forward to the next few games in the lower bracket, where every game will be a fight for their tournament lives. 

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Since 2012, Dhruv has developed a deep passion for Dota 2, which has only grown stronger over time. With three years of experience as a competitive player and a background in writing, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to create content around the game and its esports scene.

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