AoE II: Liereyy is crowned the new King of the Desert after a 6-3 win over MbL

After six weeks of a long winding path and gruelling battles, a new king has been crowned for King of the Desert 3, and it is none other than the Austrian, Kai ‘Liereyy’ Kallinger. Liereyy replaces the old king, TheViper, who won the first two iterations of the tournament. KotD 3 was a $50,000 event played on a slightly modified, more open version of Arabia. Liereyy defeated the Norwegian MbL 6-3 in the best-of-11 grand final to clinch the top spot and make himself richer by $17,000. MbL will take home $9,000.

MbL defeated Mr_Yo in the group stages while Liereyy lost to DauT, which changed the brackets a bit in a way that the top four seeds ended up in the same half of the playoffs bracket. MbL got a slightly easier run to the final, in which he totally dominated and lost just one game. Liereyy on the other hand, had to battle it out against Hera and Mr_Yo in the quarter finals and semifinals respectively, with both series going to a deciding game. But the tough path just got him better prepared for the grand final, in which he was clearly the better player.

The final started off as a very one sided affair with Liereyy going up 3-0. The games were close, but Liereyy’s decision making was just a tad bit better than MbL’s in the moments when it mattered. But just when it seemed MbL might have been down and out, he came back strong to make it 3-2. The crucial moment of the series came at 4-2, when MbL had Goths against Liereyy’s Magyars. Had the game gone late, MbL would have had the upper hand. But Liereyy sneaked a villager in MbL’s base before he could wall and attacked him from the inside to get the win and take it to 5-2. A 4-3 there could have changed the dynamics of the series. Here are the civilizations for the nine games played in the grand finals:

Game 1: 1-0
Liereyy: Burmese (W)
MbL: Cumans

Game 2: 2-0
Liereyy: Japanese (W)
MbL: Ethopians

Game 3: 3-0
Liereyy: Malians
MbL: Celts (W)

Game 4: 3-1
Liereyy: Franks
MbL: Khmer (W)

Game 5: 3-2
Liereyy: Vietnamese
MbL: Teutons (W)

Game 6: 4-2
Liereyy: Slavs (W)
MbL: Berbers

Game 7: 5-2
Liereyy: Magyars (W)
MbL: Goths

Game 8: 5-3
Liereyy: Vikings
MbL: Mayans (W)

Game 9: 6-3
Liereyy: Saracens (W)
MbL: Chinese

This is Liereyy’s second premier 1v1 win of the year. He also won Red Bull Wololo II, not to mention the Battle of Africa win, which was a 3v3 tournament in which MbL was his teammate. The Austrian has sent a message to the other players that in the tournaments to come, he is the player to beat. TheViper dominated the professional AoE II scene for a long time, but it seems like the competition has gotten a lot stronger, which can only be good for the growth of the game.

The AoE II esports scene has been gaining a lot of traction in the past year or so. The host of KotD 3, Memb, announced that he would be doing another $50,000 tournament in 2021 with the same sponsor, Pinztec. But the community does not have to wait that long for a tournament. The AoE 2v2 World Cup 2020, which is a $30,000 tournament hosted by T90, will be beginning in November. So while Liereyy rightfully basks in the glory of his big win for now, it won’t be long before we see the best in the business back in action.

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