Steven R. June 20, 2019
The Epicenter Major begins in just a few days and Team Liquid fans are just now finding out the team’s new lineup.
Replacing longtime core player Lasse Aukusti "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen is Aliwi "w33" Omar. The news was announced on the official Team Liquid website.
“Our Dota 2 team is filled with some of the greatest players in the world for their positions and w33 will fit in terrifically with them,” the team said. “W33 has proven himself to be one of the most resourceful mid laners in Dota 2, going toe to toe with the greatest players who have ever played the role.”
W33 is best known for his ugly divorce with Team Secret and his memorable run with Digital Chaos. As the mid laner for Team Secret, W33 helped bring the star-studded squad to the grand finals of the The Frankfurt Major and won the The Shanghai Major shortly thereafter. Despite that success, he was suddenly kicked from the team alongside Rasmus "MISERY" Filipsen in favor of Evil Geniuses players Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Saahil "UNiVeRsE" Arora in one of the most controversial roster moves in Dota 2 history.
The pair landed with a Digital Chaos organization that was forced to cobble together a new roster after having their own lineup gutted by Evil Geniuses. Despite fielding a team of free agents, Digital Chaos made it to the grand finals of The International 2016 by breaking off a string of stunning upset wins over heavily favored teams like EHOME and Evil Geniuses. Though the tournament was ultimately won by Wings Gaming, Digital Chaos became an overnight sensation through the performance.
That success didn’t last an especially long time, however.
During the following season, the team broke away from the Digital Chaos organization. They eventually found a new sponsor in Planet Odd, but failed to qualify for The International 2017 and broke up shortly thereafter. W33 has spent much of his time in the years since playing in South America with PaiN Gaming and the rebranded Digital Chaos, Chaos Esports Club.
The results haven’t been positive during that time as W33 and his teams have suffered consistently early exits despite qualifying for a number of majors, but he remains an exceptional mid player. That said, he still has big shoes to fill with Team Liquid.
The organization announced the benching of Matumbaman last week after nearly four years with the team. Alongside Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov and Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi, he helped rebuild Liquid’s standing in Dota 2 and established one of the game’s most consistently successful teams, winning a number of tournaments including Epicenter 2017, the China Dota 2 Supermajor, and The International 2017.
Liquid has enjoyed a decent 2019 that included a first-place run at MDL Macau 2019 and a second-place finish at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, but were still slipping back in a crowded European field. The team is hoping that the addition of W33 will help reestablish them as the best in the world.
Answers will come soon with Liquid set to compete at the Epicenter Major in Moscow. The event begins on June 22.