Roster shuffles are inevitable after The International, but there’s a big one kicking things off with Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg leaving Team Secret to join Team Liquid.
According to both teams’ official social media, the transfer is finalized. The Swedish offlaner will join Team Liquid, though it’s unclear where he will fit into the team.
zai first joined Secret in 2018 and was an instrumental part of cementing Team Secret as the best team in the world for most of his tenure. zai will continue his career on Team Liquid for the 2022 Dota Pro Circuit season.
With Secret, zai won three DPC majors and achieved three top-eight finishes at The International. He also contributed to the team’s absurd streak in 2020 that saw the team win seven tournaments in a row. Team Secret’s third-place finish at The International 2021 was also the organization’s biggest payday ever at $3,601,600. The decision to leave was reportedly mutual.
Before the online era, Team Secret was known as a cutting ground for top-level Dota 2 players. Dozens of pros have enjoyed stints on Team Secret from Artour “Arteezy” Babaev to Johan “N0tail“ Sundstein. It will be very difficult to find a replacement for zai. No candidates have been announced, but the new player is probably already a top-tier offlaner.
As a highly decorated player, zai’s free agency lasted about two hours. North American organization Team Liquid quickly announced it had contracted zai to play for the 2022 Dota Pro Circuit season. Liquid did not qualify for The International 2021, but captain Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi appeared as a desk analyst for the event. Liquid now has six players signed, a rarity in Dota 2.
zai’s position on Team Liquid has not been announced. zai has played support and offlane at the highest level and could potentially step into either position. If he continues his career as an offlane core, he could replace Samuel “Boxi” Svahn. Otherwise he’ll most likely replace Tommy “Taiga” Le as soft support. Expect to see some more team announcements from Liquid soon.