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TI 7 Profile: Team Liquid, a display of solidarity

Dota 2 Siddharth “Gopya” Gopujkar

        

Team Liquid, along with OG and Newbee, were one of the top contenders for TI 6. But just like the other two, Liquid crashed and burned with a 7-8th position finish, taking out Newbee before they went down. A year later, they are again one of the top contenders for the Aegis, but it has been anything but a smooth ride for the new Team Liquid to be the dominant force that they are!

In the aftermath of TI 6, when everyone was wondering where mid wizard Miracle would land, Liquid managed to persuade the former OG player to switch colors from green to blue. Miracle replaced FATA while Earth Spirit--God--Jerax was replaced by Bulba. What followed, were a series of dismal results with Liquid failing to qualify for The Summit 6, The Boston Major, ESL One Genting and Dota Pit Season 5. Change was imminent and while a lot of people from the Dota 2 community believed it was time for a disband, Liquid made just one change, with Bulba making way for the relatively unknown Lebanese playmaker GH. The change was a master stroke. Things started to turn as Liquid began to turn a corner as they claimed DreamLeague Season 5 and started qualifying for LANs, a feat most would have thought impossible given their displays in earlier tournaments. After winning StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3, everything Team Liquid have touched has turned to gold. Well, nearly. Baring their losses in DAC 2017 and The Kiev Major, Liquid have won every tournament they have played since Dota 2 7.00 was introduced, which include two StarLadder events, EPICENTER 2017 and DreamLeague Season 6. This is the roster that will be fighting it in Seattle:

Finland Lasse 'Matumbaman' Urpalainen
Jordan Amer 'Miracle' Barqawi
Bulgaria Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov Ivanov
Lebanon Maroun 'GH' Merhej
Germany Kuro 'KuroKy' Salehi Takhasomi
South Korea Lee 'Heen' Seung Gon (coach)


picture courtesy of EPICENTER

What has made this lineup so successful? They are the ones that have adapted the best to the constant change in metas. Valve has been throwing in new patches every other month in order to find one that has the best possible balance. The heroes in contention keep changing every few weeks (although 7.06 has been with us for a longer time than others) and Liquid have gone with the flow instead of attempting to formulate their own meta.

Team Liquid by the numbers in the 7.06 patch:
Games played: 40
Win-loss record: 28-12
Win percentage: 70%

Most played heroes in 7.06:

Hero Total games Wins Loses Win percentage (%)
Dark Seer 19 9 10 47.37
Tusk 18 11 7 61.11
Earth Shaker 16 13 3 81.25
Lone Druid 15 10 5 66.67
Invoker 12 9 3 75
Sand King 12 5 7 41.67
Slardar 12 5 7 41.67
Disruptor 11 6 5 54.55
Bristleback 10 7 3 70
Nyx Assasin 9 5 4 55.56
Dazzle 9 5 4 55.56

 

Earthshaker has a staggering win rate of 81.25% in 16 games! Liquid run the Shaker in either position three or four and at times, even as a position two for Miracle! The Invoker win percentage is expected as they have one the, if not the best, Invoker player in the world. This list does not show Io or Keeper of the Light as these two heroes are first banned in most games against Team Liquid and for good reason! Io is a hero that both KuroKy and GH are good on, and GH boasts a 100% record on KotL in this meta (7 games played, 7 games won). Liquid also have their combos that oppositions need to be wary about, with whom they have had a lot of success.

Successful hero combos:

Combo Total games Wins Loses Win percentage (%)
Lone Druid + Tusk 8 5 3 62.5
Earth Shaker + Keeper of the Light 6 6 0 100
Dark Seer + Tusk 6 4 2 66.67
Invoker + Tusk 5 4 1 80
Void + Invoker 5 4 1 80

 

Tusk makes an appearance in three of those combos and well, it’s little debate that KuroKy is probably the best wielder of the hero out there. In their 40 games, Liquid have picked a total of 90 heroes, which makes them versatile and hard to draft against (besides, of course, the first phase bans and maybe the Miracle Invoker). Recently, Liquid have switched strats a bit where at times, they let Matumbaman go mid on heroes like Lycan and Necrophos while Miracle ventures to the safelane on heroes like Huskar and Weaver. It’s good to have both farming cores being interchangeable; keeps the opposition guessing.

Last year, even though Liquid were one of the favorites to win The International, they were lacking a certain finishing touch. They had only won EPICENTER and had lost in the grand finals of two consecutive Majors (The Shanghai Major against Secret and the Manila Major against OG) and followed it up with a semi-finals loss to OG again in ESL One Frankfurt. Come TI 6, a bad performance in the group stage started them off in the lower bracket where Fnatic knocked them out 2-0 with a dominating performance. Even though they had the quality, nerves seemed to get the better of them towards the later stages of the tournament and it seems, it is an issue KuroKy has worked on with the team he is leading this year. That was evident in the final LAN before TI, DreamLeague Season 7 in Atlanta, where they were trailing 0-2 to Planet ODD in the grand finals but came back strong to take the series 3-2 and the title with it. That win will have further bolstered their confidence for the final push. As they head into the TI 7 group stages, Team Liquid will be regarded as one of the most feared opponents by all teams present! 

Click here for results, VODs and all the other information
 

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Siddharth “Gopya” Gopujkar
A Mechanical Engineer who is as interested in the mechanics of DotA 2 as every machine he studies. Pursuing his Master's at the Michigan Technological University.

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