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All good things come to an end is a saying that can be aptly applied to Team Liquid’s Dota 2 roster. After challenging for trophies for 892 days straight, longer than any professional Dota 2 team in history, the team finally decided they needed a change. The team’s position 2 player, Lasse ‘Matumbaman’ Urpalainen will be stepping down from the active roster and even though he hasn’t been removed from the organization, Team Liquid have made it clear that Matu is open to new opportunities. Although the statement says it was a mutual decision, it is most probably a euphemism for declaring that he has been removed as the team tries to strengthen itself to push for their second TI title.

Moments like these are difficult, no doubt, not just for Matumbaman but also for the scores of Team Liquid supporters all around the globe. Starting in January 2017, this roster conquered a lot and left behind a legacy which will be difficult to match even for the strongest teams the game has seen. As Team Liquid bids adieu to Matumbaman, let’s take a look at what they accomplished in the 892 days these five players played together.


Stats

Total games played: 437 (283 wins, 64.76% win rate)
Total games played on LAN: 325 (208 wins, 64% win rate)
LAN tournaments won: 10

2016-2017 Season

The season started bleakly for Team Liquid with the team getting nowhere with the new roster. After half a season of disappointing results, the team made a change, removing Kanishka ‘Bulba’ Sosale and bringing in Maroun ‘GH’ Mehrej, a relatively unheard of support from Lebanon. The change immediately paid dividends as Liquid won their first LAN event of the season, StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3. Still, their performance suffered in big events like DAC 2017 and The Kiev Major. That was followed up with another StarLadder win, and this was where it all started to turn around for Team Liquid. Their comfort and confidence as a team grew and they followed StarLadder with a wins at Epicenter 2017 and DreamLeague Season 7. Towards the end of the season, Team Liquid firmly established themselves as one of the favorites for The International 2017 and went on to win it after a miraculous run through the lower bracket, culminating with a 3-0 win over Newbee in the most one-sided grand finals The International Championships have ever seen.

LAN events won

StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3
StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 2
EPICENTER 2017
DreamLeague Season 7
The International 2017


2017-2018 Season

The season after winning a TI is where a lot of teams take their foot off the gas pedal, but not Liquid. They kept up their winning ways with a win in the first DPC Minor of the year (and first DPC event ever) which was, surprise surprise, another StarLadder event. Another trophy Liquid added to their cabin before the year ended was the AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League, the second DPC Minor of the season. But the two big ones where they were thwarted were the Majors, ESL One Hamburg and DreamLeague Season 8. Coincidentally, it was Team Secret on both occasions who got the better of Team Liquid – once in the semi-finals (ESL One Hamburg – 2:1) and once in the grand finals (DreamLeague Season 8 – 3:0).

There was a bit of a quiet period towards the end of 2017 and start of 2018, but Team Liquid came firing strong again when the tournaments came. They managed to finish second at ESL One Genting, where Newbee got revenge on them for the defeat in the grand finals of The International 2017. Just a week later though, Team Liquid brushed it off by winning yet another DPC Minor, the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4 by beating LGD Gaming 3:1. Like ESL tournaments had become regular paychecks for Virtus Pro, for Liquid, it was StarLadder events. The next two Majors, ESL One Katowice and PGL Bucharest, were the ones where Team Liquid started to let go off their dominance. They finished both events in 3rd place (PGL Bucharest 3rd/4th), but chinks were beginning to show in their armor. The power was shifting to the likes of Virtus Pro and Secret (and later PSG.LGD). Following these two Majors, Liquid had very mixed and unpredictable results. A 5th/6th place finish at DAC 2018 was followed up by a second place finish at Epicenter XL, where they tried in vain to defend their title to a rising PSG.LGD. At the next Major (ESL One Birmingham), Team Liquid succumbed very early in the tournament to Pain Gaming and at this point, their strength as a unit faced a lot of questions. But this squad has had an uncanny knack of rising from the dead when no one expects them to and they came back strong to win the last Major of the season, the Dota 2 Supermajor in Shanghai. With this they also became the first team ever to win both, a Major (since Majors started in 2015) and a TI. With spirits buoyed up, Team Liquid went to TI8 to try and do something no team has ever done before – win The International twice. But they fell just short of their goal, losing 2-0 to PSG.LGD in the upper bracket and then to Evil Geniuses in the lower bracket and had to settle for 4th place, which was still a very respectable position. Considering how it had gone for other TI winning squads before them, Team Liquid had had a very decent season following their TI win.

LAN events won

StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3             
AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League
StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4
China Dota2 Supermajor


2018-2019 Season

The third season as the same roster started a bit slow for Team Liquid. They did not play in the first Minor – Major(s) of the 2018-2019 DPC season due to health issues in the team (actually, they could not qualify for the Major and did not participate in the Minor qualifiers). For the Chonqing Major, the second Major of the season, Miracle could not play with the team due to personal reasons. The team played with another TI winner, Shadow from Wings Gaming and earned themselves a 7th/8th place finish. Before the Chonqing Major though, they did manage to win the MegaFon Winter Clash to end the year 2018 on a high.  In the third Major, DreamLeague Season 11 (or the Stockholm Major), Chaos Esports Club (the former Pain Gaming roster) made short work of Team Liquid in a best of one elimination game to give them a lowly 13th-16th position finish. But like they had done in the Dota 2 Supermajor, they came back out of nowhere to secure a second place finish at the MDL Disneyland Major and cemented their place at The International 2019 in Shanghai. At this point, no one would have thought that the team would not be taking the same roster to Shanghai. Nahaz even tweeted to say he thought Liquid would win TI9.



But an unexpected loss to Gambit Esports at ESL One Birmingham was probably the final nail in the coffin, with the team realizing that something was needed if they wanted to churn out consistent, good results. The change comes in the form of Matumbaman being thrust out of the team with the new player still to be announced. Caotain Kuroky, had mentioned in an interview to VPEsports that the options in front of Liquid were to work hard or make changes. I’m sure they gave it their all, but it just wasn’t enough in this ever changing world of Dota 2.

LAN events won

Winter MegaFon Clash


A lot of questions will be raised in the days to come on whether or not this was the right move and Liquid’s results in the last Major and at TI9 will be more scrutinized than ever. Looking at the team though, all five men are very talented players so no change would have seemed correct looking at it from the outside. For now, we can just thank the longest Dota 2 roster for some of the greatest moments the game has ever witnessed.

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