Team Liquid is the heart of the StarCraft 2 community. If you want to follow that scene, you hang out at their website, and the chances are that tournament organizers and team managers will bring news and information to Liquid before they even release it via their own websites. Very simply, Team Liquid is the English-language StarCraft scene.
And today they launched a Dota 2 team.
It’s not exactly a sudden shift: Liquid added Dota 2 coverage to their site some months back, so it’s been clear that the team and organization are interested in the Dota 2 scene. But today they jumped in with both feet, announcing the formation of Liquid’Dota 2 and a starting roster of five pro players.
Liquid owner Victor “Nazgul” Goossens released an extensive statement explaining Liquid’s thinking with regard to Dota 2, the standards they set for themselves as they formed a team. They wanted “well-mannered and skilled” players, two cornerstones of Liquid’s reputation as a class-act in eSports. Goossens admitted, “The things Liquid looks for in players would be hard to find in the extremely volatile, and sometimes immature, nature of the Dota scene.”
Clearly, Liquid found their roster with Brian “FLUFFNSTUFF” Lee (formerly of compLexity), Sam “BuLba” Sosale (an Evil Geniuses veteran), Steven “Korok” Ashworth (of the defunct Quantic team), Tyler “TC” Cook, and Michael “ixmike88) Ghannam. The latter two are MOBA veterans with connections to other members of the team.
There is one other interesting facet to what Liquid are doing with their team: Korok, BuLba, and TC are all going to be role-switching between mid, carry, and offlane. That’s unusual in MOBAs, where most players specialize in exactly one role and a small slate of heroes suited for it. As Goossens says, “If you assume your players are perfect, being dynamic is unquestionably the best. However, it could be that the task of being dynamic is so much more difficult than a more focused role that it loses its effectiveness. In Dota, it is definitely plausible that you can have three players good enough to play these dynamic roles, as some Chinese teams are already showing. It is exciting to see the confidence our players have in being able to pull this off, and in doing so they have our full support.”
It’s a big moment for Liquid and eSports as one of the last Western StarCraft-only brands dives into Dota 2, and from Goossens’ statement, Liquid are very serious about fielding a long-term, stable roster that can hang tough alongside the Asian teams that largely dominate the scene. And by going with three dynamic positions, they’re already poised to show us something unusual at the pro level. If they can pull it off, Liquid will be an exciting addition to Dota 2.