Liquid, NA survive thrilling MSI matchup to record first ever Bo5 win over Fnatic

Team Liquid defeated 3-1 Fnatic at the 2024 Mid-Season Invitational to give North America its first-ever victory in a best-of-5 match over the European giants, eliminating them from the competition.

Fnatic looked shaky in game one as Team Liquid always caught them off guard with well-calculated ganks to gain momentum in the early game. The lead slowly became substantial, which TL utilized with their objective control over dragons, and snowballed the match with impressive performances from Impact on K’Sante and APA on Taliyah.

Eain "APA" Stearns of Team Liquid Honda shaking hands with Fnatic during MSI Bracket Stage at Chengdu.
APA literally walked his trash talk against Fnatic. Image via Liu YiCun/Riot Games

Fnatic quickly realized they should be proactively making plays and not letting TL control the tempo of the matches. In the second match, they retaliated with an impressive early game that completely stopped TL in its tracks to equalize the series. 

Throughout the matches, APA continued with his NA trash talk on the stage despite being told to shut up by Tian during his last game with TES. After a game three blowout, Liquid kept catching Fnatic in bad spots in game four as APA’s Tristana ended up with an 8/2/2 KDA as he, alongside Yeon’s Lucian on 7/1/5, kept NA hopes alive in the tournament.

North America’s recent performances on the international stage have been lackluster, especially against Eastern League teams, but this win against a Western side sets them up to play the loser of the match between T1 and BLG to continue their lower bracket run in the tournament. Meanwhile, with Fnatic’s early exit, Europe’s hopes solely lie on G2 Esports, who will try to stay alive against PSG Talon on May 12.

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