Entering The Fray: ESL One Birmingham and TI9

May 27 2019

Earlier in May our Dota 2 team secured their invite to TI9 after finishing 2nd at the MDL Paris Major. It was a hard fought battle through the likes of Keen Gaming, Vici Gaming, OG, PSG.LGD, and EG before falling at the hands of our old friends — and foe, Team Secret.

While the loss stings it still means we have qualified for the biggest tournament of the year, TI9. Everything builds up to that moment but before we get there we still have ESL One Birmingham and EPICENTER awaiting us.

However, even though not much time has passed since the finals of the MDL Major, the world of Dota 2 has been drastically altered once again with patch 7.22. Our faithful Io is back in Captains Draft and every hero in the game was given an Aghs upgrade among many other changes to individual heroes and to certain parts of the map itself. It’s a new battleground that teams must feel their way through and ESL One Birmingham will be the first opportunity for teams to test things out from the new patch.

In pub games we’ve already seen Matumbaman messing around with the new Broodmother web speed among other interesting changes that the patch has to offer, no doubt seeing if it would be viable in a real game.

We also see the return of GH’s Io as we previously mentioned which will undoubtedly result in teams banning the hero in the first phase against us. This opens up even more possibilities as the number of available heroes to pick from will grow. Who knows we may even get to see the little ball of light for the first time in months being masterfully controlled by GH.

Part of what makes Team Liquid so terrific is the ability to adapt to patches relatively quickly and to find potent synergies before other teams even think of the concept. Be it with Kuroky’s support Riki or GH’s KotL, we’ve regularly seen heroes that other teams often ignore end up looking overpowered in the hands of one of our players. Of course this also comes with a fair share of trial and error where every idea may not be a winner, but with Epicenter and TI9 on the horizon, ESL One Birmingham is the perfect place to test things out.

It will be no easy task to lift the trophy in Birmingham given the level of competition but at the same time it would be no surprise to see our players do just that. The work ethic and mindset of everyone on our team is second to none and we’ve seen that pay off in spades multiple times in the past. It won’t be a surprise to see some crazy drafts happen this week so make sure you tune in!

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