Team Liquid MATUMBAMAN Is Out, Team Liquid to Announce New Carry
Just one week before the last Major of the Dota Pro Circuit, Team Liquid announced their first roster change in almost two and a half years. The team’s carry player, now-former Team Liquid MATUMBAMAN, has agreed to leave the team by mutual consent according to Liquid’s staff. He had been playing for Liquid for three years and eight months at the time of this announcement, which blew everybody away.
Team Liquid MATUMBAMAN’s History
MATUMBAMAN went through the best period of his career with Liquid. He started a complete unknown and has become a superstar of the game. Today, he is no longer just another carry player. He is a Major winner, a medalist and Grand Finalist of more than 10 big events at the highest professional level, and above all, a TI champion.
Top Results for MATUMBAMAN
Here’s a brief history of some of MATUMBAMAN’s most important results with Team Liquid:
- The Shanghai Major 2016 (2nd place)
- EPICENTER 2016 (1st place)
- ESL One Manila 2016 (2nd place)
- The Manila Major 2016 (2nd place)
- The International 2016 (7th – 8th place)
- DreamLeague Season 6 (1st place)
- StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 (1st place)
- EPICENTER 2017 (1st place)
- DreamLeague Season 7 (1st place)
- The International 2017 (1st place)
- StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3 (1st place)
- AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League (1st place)
- DreamLeague Season 8 (2nd place)
- ESL One Genting 2018 (2nd place)
- StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4 (1st place)
- EPICENTER XL (2nd place)
- China Dota2 Supermajor (1st place)
- The International 2018 (4th place)
- MegaFon Winter Clash (1st place)
- MDL Macau 2019 (1st place)
- MDL Disneyland Paris Major (2nd place)
As you can see, MATUMBAMAN is easily one of the most accomplished players in the history of Dota 2. And given his young age of 24, I expect him to find another great team for himself, most likely at the end of this season, and continue his career with more successes.
MATUMBAMAN’s Future as a Pro Player
Of course, I am aware of the fact that MATUMBAMAN’s victories with Team Liquid were largely the result of his teammates’ hard work too, and that his path ahead will probably not be as successful as it was up until this point. But there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to lift another trophy in his career, just because he decided to separate from Team Liquid (or the other way around).
A tribute to MATUMBAMAN’s time with Team Liquid
Within a good team, MATUMBAMAN can definitely deliver as a carry and based on what he’s shown us so far, he has an excellent chance of being asked by one of the big clubs to join up and offer them his services.
Keep in mind that over such a long period of time, a player learns an enormous amount and absorbs much of the knowledge of the game possessed by his teammates. In that sense, MATUMBAMAN knows how KuroKy thinks as a captain. He knows how Miracle thinks as a midlaner. And he understands a wide variety of tactics and strategies, making him a treasure for anyone who acquires his services.
Team Liquid’s Road Ahead
Liquid is now theoretically playing as a four-man team, although we do know from them that they’re actually in training with their 5th man. A team of their caliber must have thought of everything in advance and it’s only natural that they wouldn’t just randomly drop a player one week ahead of a Major and just two months before The International 2019 without finding a suitable replacement.
Who Will Be Liquid’s New Carry
We obviously don’t know who that replacement is, and it’s also quite difficult to guess. There simply aren’t that many top-quality free agents that can play the carry role. And the few that are probably don’t have KuroKy’s blessing. Consider EternaLEnVy for instance, who’s known as a questionable teammate in the industry as a result of his many betrayals. No doubt, he’s an excellent player, but it’s not likely that Kuro will want him for the carry position.
Based on Kuro’s former decisions and the fact that the current free agents market is rather slim when it comes to excellent carry players, I partly expect Liquid to announce something shocking: that their new carry will be some pub star again. It may sound like an unlikely hypothesis but keep in mind that Liquid only has one week left until the Major. So they must have had to decide really fast on who the 5th player will be.
At the same time, both Miracle as well as his teammates are very high MMR players and are constantly playing pubs. Subsequently, you’d expect them to encounter at least one amazing carry that hasn’t been given a real chance to succeed so far. If KuroKy has managed to find that player, then he might be able to save Liquid for the last Major of the season and The International 2019. Otherwise the situation is looking grim for the former TI champion. Because with so little time left, you need an absolutely phenomenal player to compensate with skill and versatility what the team will be lacking in cohesion and experience as a five-man unit.
Expect Liquid to Drop in Strength
Regardless of who will be revealed as Liquid’s fifth man, the team’s road ahead is almost guaranteed to be a bumpy one. EPICENTER Major 2019, one of KuroKy’s favorite events, is only one week away. Liquid has participated three times, made it to the Grand Finals each year, and out of their three attempts they managed to win two. There’s no doubt that Kuro intends to play well in this fourth attempt by bringing a roster that can actually win.
Regardless, I’m afraid the chances are stacked against him at this point. At this level of competition, you need a lot more than 10 days of training after a roster change before you play fluent Dota with a new lineup. Think about it: the new player needs to consolidate his own style within the team, he may need to practice new heroes in order to be able to execute Liquid’s tried and tested strategies, he needs to adapt to Liquid’s tactics, and coordinate flawlessly with his other four teammates.
Not to mention the fact that when opponents strategize against you, they always take into account your weaknesses and push you outside of your comfort zone. A team of five that has been playing together for a long time has a perfect response to any situation. But a team with one or more entirely new players will have to think about the right response and will often commit errors when forced to play fast.
For these reasons, combined with the fact that I can’t imagine any world-class carry who could join Liquid at this point (because they’re all part of other teams), I believe that KuroKy’s team is about to drop quite a bit in terms of strength. Luckily for them, they’re already qualified for The International 2019 regardless of what happens at EPICENTER 2019 Major. However, anything above a 7th – 8th place would be a miraculous achievement for them under their current conditions.