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photo by: StarLadder

Team Liquid dropping Aukusti “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen from their active roster was shocking news for every Dota 2 fan. It’s the team with the longest standing line-up in the Dota 2 history, a team that always emphasized the friendship between all the members. We are just one Major away from The International 2019 and Liquid seemed to have finally found their stride. They made it to the grand finals of the MDL Disneyland® Major, they are qualified for the last Major of the season and for The International 2019. There are so many reasons for which nobody in the Dota 2 community would have expected them to make a change now.

Our special reporter at StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor, Taras Bortnik talked to a few of the talents in Kyiv to see if the decision was somewhat anticipated by the people behind the scenes, and also to find out what they think about Team Liquid’s decision.

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Artur “Goblak” Kostenko


“To some extent, this is a surprise for me, because KuroKy said that they were not going to make changes in the lineup till the end of The International 2019. But, if we take into account the rumors, MATUMBAMAN wanted to leave even before the last The International and it was said that they would create a Finnish team with JeRax and Topson. At the same time, I wouldn’t say that MATUMBAMAN’s performance was smooth lately, so I can’t say that I am amazed or something like that.

Will the change benefit the team? Depends on the replacement. Any conclusions done before the announcement of their fifth player is meaningless. I have absolutely no idea who will replace Lasse, but if Team Liquid took this step, then they know something that we don’t.”

Austin “Capitalist” Walsh


“I definitely did not expect that. Behind the scenes, it surprised us as much as many people in the community, especially because it felt like Liquid was going back into form. This makes it particularly surprising that they would make a roster change. I have no clue about the replacement, I can name some good carry-players, but it’s hard to see how are they going to replace MATUMBAMAN, because he was very unique, I would say. It’s also hard to see where will MATUMBAMAN go because it’s so late in the season and most of the teams have already made their last changes. Obviously, everyone would want to have Matu into the roster, but would they do a change this close to TI?”

Neal “tsunami” Khandheria


“For me, the change is not that unexpected, as the timing of it. I thought a lot of people like to blame Matu as the low hanging fruit, but I don’t think it’s warranted. At the same time, I think Liquid wanted a change, and that seems to be the only option for them. The timing, however, is wildly unexpected. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to do that this close to TI, but obviously we are talking about the roster that has been playing together for a very long time and they know each other well enough to know that things are not going well, despite getting to the grand finals of the previous Major. I guess there was no other option than to do it now and have at least one LAN to play before the TI.”

Alan “Nahaz” Bester


“Absolutely unexpected move! It came as a shock to me as much as to anybody else. And I think there are some flaws with the roster rules of the season. I have predicted from the very beginning that there was going to be at least one TI-squad that was going to release the player but never in my wildest dreams did I expect that team to be Liquid. I think I still had the Liquid squad in my top 4 of TI9. Despite the results, I didn’t think that they will be the first team to make a change this close to TI9.

And now you are worried about the kind of a domino effect. Obviously, if you are a player like Ace, for example, and Liquid comes calling you – that’s a tough decision. By the way, it’s just an example, no rumors about that particular player. I am just saying that there are 3-4 carry-players in the world that would definitely stay with their team. Anybody else… Team Liquid comes calling you – man, that’s an offer that you have to take really seriously. And you do worry about a domino effect… Inevitably some players are going to be displaced and at this point of the season this means that you will start from the open qualifiers for the single spot at the International.”

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