Steven R. January 19, 2019
Team Liquid are playing short-handed at the Chongqing Major.
The team announced on Twitter that its mid player, Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi, will not be attending the event. No specifics were given but Liquid stated that his absence was due to “an urgent personal matter” which “occurred at the last minute.”
According to Fox Sports Asia a number of rumors cropped up alleging that visa issues, likely related to the recent diplomatic problems stemming from international arrests of Huawei executives, were to blame for Miracle’s nonattendance. No evidence has been presented to back up these claims. Miracle himself yet to comment on the situation.
Regardless of the reason, this is a massive blow to Team Liquid.
Despite entering the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season as one of the best overall teams after a fourth-place finish at The International 2018, Liquid has been plagued by inactivity to this point. It failed to qualify for the Kuala Lumpur Major in September, withdrew from the DreamLeague Minor under odd circumstances, and has not taken part in other noteworthy tournaments like ESL One Hamburg or the PVP Esports Championship. Liquid needed to make up for lost time in Chongqing and may now struggle to take advantage of that opportunity.
Subbing in for Miracle as Liquid’s mid is Chu "shadow" Zeyu. Though he is fondly remembered by fans as part of a Wings Gaming team that won The International, he has struggled to much success since. He has been on hiatus since May 2018, and was last seen playing in the carry role for Eclipse.
Though Shadow is certainly an able player, it’s unknown if he’ll be able to click with his new European teammates while running up against some stiff competition in Chongqing.