Road to The International: Team Liquid

The International 7's group stage starts today. To get you prepared, I'll be previewing each of the teams at the event. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to get all of the previews up before the group stage began but I will still be putting up new previews for the rest of the teams throughout the week. Next up is one of the most prevalent organizations in esports, Team Liquid. Check back the rest of the week for more previews.

This incarnation of Team Liquid's Dota team (wholly different from the American TI3-era team) is back at The International for the second straight year. Last year, Liquid struggled through the group stage and were forced to start in the Lower Bracket in the main event. The team came together to salvage a 7th-8th finish at Key Arena but it was still a disappointing showing for a group that had aspirations of winning the aegis. As with most teams that fail to meet expectations at TI, roster changes broke up last year's Team Liquid squad. Liquid and OG swapped their young superstars as Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi came over from OG to replace the departing Jerax. Miracle- would take over the Mid role for the Liquid, meaning that last year's mid (Fata) stepped away from the team. Replacing Jerax's role as the 4-position support was a member of Team Liquid's TI3 team, Bulba. The two newcomers joined returning players, Lasse "Matumbaman" Urpalanien, Ivan "MinD_Control" Borislavov, and the captain, Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi.

Liquid would struggle early on this season with the new roster. So much so that the team failed to qualify for the season's first major in Boston last Fall. The fallout from failing to qualify cost Bulba his spot on the team and he was replaced by Maroun "GH" Mehej, a pubstar with relatively little professional experience. The change almost immediately turned Liquid's fortunes around. They earned an invite to the Kiev Major by winning DreamLeague Season 6 and StarLadder i-League Season 3. At Kiev, they lost 2-1 to Invictus Gaming in the Quarterfinal leaving an invite to TI up in the air. However, they would earn that invite after winning both the StarLadder i-League Invitational and EPICENTER 2017. Liquid also looked strong in their TI tune-up at the DreamLeague Season 7 finals in July. They successfully defended their title, although they did not play any other TI teams at that event.

Liquid's play style revolves around their superstar Mid, Miracle-. Their priority in most games is to secure Miracle-'s farm early on to allow him to take over the game. GH has also been a bit of a surprise with his strong play at the 4-position. He may not be as flashy as some of the other top 4-position players but his consistent play on heroes like Earthshaker and Keeper of the Light has given Liquid a much-needed boost. KuroKy has also proven to be a capable captain. He stands as one of just 3 players to have played at all 7 TI's but was not a team captain until last year with Team Liquid.

PlayerRoleCountrySignature HeroesBest TI Finish
Lasse "Matumbaman" UrpalainenCarryFinlandLycan, Lone Druid, Juggernaut7th-8th (TI6 - Team Liquid)
Amer "Miracle-" Al-BarkawiMidJordanInvoker, Shadow Fiend, TA9th-12th (TI6 - OG)
Ivan "MinD_Control" BorislavovOfflaneBulgariaDark Seer, Beastmaster, Batrider7th-8th (TI6 - Team Liquid)
Maroun "GH" MerhejSupportLebanonEarthshaker, KotL, IoFirst TI
Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi (C)SupportGermanyRubick, Visage, Nyx Assassin2nd (TI3 - Na'vi)
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