The results make it seem like Matu kicked his four teammates.
Team Liquids performance at The International 2017 was one of the most historic runs in the tournaments history. Fans didn’t expect them to be in the lower bracket after topping their group, but it was just the start of an alternate journey that would lead Liquid to the Aegis of Champions.
In 2017, Liquids roster featured the perfect combination of talent and experience. With KuroKy at the helm, MATUMBAMAN, Miracle-, MinD_ContRoL, and GH rose to the top, but a poor result before TI7 could have broken the legendary roster. Yaroslav Vladimirovich “NS” Kuznetsov, a Dota 2 analyst from the EEU region, shared that Liquids TI7 roster was on the verge of splitting as TI7 was rolling around.
Liquid said they wanted to change players, NS said, but they were told it was impossible because they were invited with their current roster.”
NS added that Liquid representatives also informed EPICENTER that the team would have problems if they were to participate with their existing roster, which ended up winning the Major. Liquid also went on to win TI7, and the squad stuck together for another year.
Despite placing fourth in TI8, Liquid parted ways with MATUMBAMAN and replaced him with w33, which made NS think Matu could have been kicked before TI7 if the team underperformed at EPICENTER 2017.
Though Liquid finished second in TI9, NS believed the roster change was essentially a downgrade because Matu was at his prime. The roster without Matu rebranded into Nigma Galaxy after TI9, which also marked their peak.
Nigma still consists of its original four players. The team have yet to be able to qualify for another TI, even relegated to the second division as Matu returned to his former banner and is currently locked in for a top-four finish at TI11.