Remembering the Team Liquid Dota 2 Roster & What the Future Holds
KuroKy and his teammates have decided to part ways with Team Liquid and form their own team. This decision was likely a result of their 2nd place result at The International 2019 and the managerial decisions that came after that. Kuro had already expressed his displeasure in working with esports organizations years ago, citing their high percentage cuts and unwillingness to offer good salaries. All contributing to the Team Liquid Dota 2 roster deciding to strike out on their own.
Of course, this all just speculation, as Team Liquid’s relationship with the German superstar seems to have been a positive one overall. And if prize pool splits had been a major problem for the Team Liquid Dota 2 roster in the past, I’m pretty sure that Kuro would have left Liquid after winning The International in 2017.
Regardless of what caused the split at this particular time, let’s take a look at the whole journey and remember some of the big results that were achieved along the way.
A Look Back at the Team Liquid Dota 2 Roster
It was a hell of a journey. Four years ago, KuroKy with his teammates of that time went from being 5Jungz to becoming Team Liquid. The famous esports organization signed them largely thanks to KuroKy’s reputation and it wasn’t long until they started proving what they were capable of.
The first iteration of Team Liquid was composed of MATUMBAMAN, FATA-, MinD_ContRoL, JerAx and KuroKy. Every one of these players has proved himself since then numerous times. And as we now know, they are all among the best in the world. With the exception of FATA-, all of them would go on to win The International. MATUMBAMAN, MinD_ContRoL and KuroKy did it with Liquid while JerAx did it with OG (twice!). But even FATA-, in spite of not being as fortunate, still won multiple Majors with Team Secret after he left the team.
2015 – 2016
This first season saw Team Liquid establish themselves and really learn how to start winning tournaments. Their biggest successes came at The Defense Season 5 (1st place), World Cyber Arena 2015 (3rd place), StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 1 (3rd – 4th place), The Shanghai Major (2nd place), ESL One Manila (2nd place) EPICENTER (1st place), The Manila Major (2nd place), ESL One Frankfurt (3rd – 4th place), The Summit 5 (3rd place) and The International 2016 (7th – 8th place).
Overall, this was a very promising start for Liquid. Two Grand Finals at Major events and a top eight finish at The International was probably more than they had hoped for.
After TI6, two important players left the team: FATA- and JerAx. Initially, only one of the replacements was a good fit for the roster. And that was Miracle-, who at that time was probably the best player in the world. The other one was BuLba, who didn’t do very well and only ended up playing for Liquid for around three and a half months. But when he was finally replaced, the replacement turned out to be a magnificent roamer, one of the best in the world at this role: GH. And in my opinion, he was the one that really made it possible for Liquid to win The International 2017.
2016 – 2017
The first half of this season was a complete failure for Liquid and things only started to get back on track after GH joined the team. And even then, the results weren’t the best at first. For instance, the team finished 9th – 12th at Dota 2 Asia Championships and 5th – 8th at The Kiev Major. And these two events were arguably among the most important of the season.
The moment when everything shifted for Liquid was in June, 2017, at EPICENTER. This was going to be their second triumph at this event, and with this trophy they finally had the confidence that they were now one of the best teams in the world.
Liquid’s road at The International 2017 started well, with five victories and three draws in the Group Stage. The won group A with 13 points out of 16 and came in second place overall, after LFY. The Chinese squad had earned 14 points in group B and had done this while experimenting with Pudge picks towards the end.
At the Main Event, Liquid lost their very first match against Invictus Gaming and had to take the long road to the Aegis of Champions. In the Lower Bracket, they defeated Team Secret (2 – 1), Team Empire (2 – 0), Virtus.pro (2 – 1), LGD Gaming (2 – 0) and LFY (2 – 1). Thanks to this long winning streak, they had the chance to finally play in the Grand Final, against Newbee. And the match set a new TI record: 3 – 0 for the winner. Nobody had ever won a TI Grand Final without losing a single game. But Liquid did it and they’re still the only ones to have done it, even two years after the event.
2017 – 2018
The 2017-2018 season was mostly a successful one for Liquid, although the team did have several disappointing results along the way. Keep in mind that this was the first Dota Pro Circuit, which made it very easy to see how well the teams did overall. Liquid finished 2nd with 9459 points. Only Virtus.pro managed to score more points than they did, so the 2017 form continued to be displayed by the team.
Everyone was playing at a very high level and was still motivated after winning The International. This was largely a result of KuroKy’s philosophy of winning and his desire to keep on adding trophies to his name, regardless of his past accomplishments. For most teams, winning 10 million dollars would have been the culmination of their efforts and probably a peak point followed by an immediate decline. But KuroKy and his teammates just kept on winning and getting top four results.
Among Liquid’s best accomplishments from this season, the following stand out: 1st place at StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3, 1st place at AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League, 2nd place at DreamLeague Season 8, 2nd place at ESL One Genting 2018, 1st place at StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4, 3rd place at ESL One Katowice 2018, 2nd place at EPICENTER XL, 1st place at China Dota2 Supermajor and 4th place at The International 2018.
As you can see, Liquid’s results in 2017-2018 were nothing short of impressive.
2018 – 2019
This season was a rough one for Liquid, until the last two Majors and The International. The missed Majors entirely, got bad results when they took part at them and even lost their position ½ player, MATUMBAMAN. But ultimately, Liquid proved once again that they are still one of the best teams in the world. At the last two Majors of the season they played in the Grand Finals, and then at The International 2019 they did the same.
However, things no didn’t quite play out in their favor. After winning the first game against OG, they lost the next three and had to admit defeat in the face of a much stronger opponent.
The next step for KuroKy’s roster is very intuitive. They will almost certainly form their own team and continue to compete just as they did last season. The name of the team has not yet been revealed, but with financial backing secured, Liquid’s former players have absolutely nothing to worry about. They will rely on their reserves and simply give themselves nice rewards after every important tournament result.
As for the organization itself, we’ll likely see a fresh Team Liquid Dota 2 roster built up from scratch. Such a strong brand in Dota 2 and esports in general will not give up on the game, now that their long-time roster has left. And with names such as s4 and Sumail on the free agents list, I expect them to start making big announcements pretty soon.