Although it was less than a week ago that Minstrel announced his departure for greener valleys, Team Liquid have been working through potential roster changes for over a month now.
That period that started with longstanding DPS id_ benched for NRG's enigma during January's Alienware Monthly Melee where they went out to Rise Nation in 5th-6th place.
A change of heart then saw id_ return to the starting six after Minstrel left and rapha moved to Lucio. The experimentation continued with fellow Quake legend cYpheR lining out for Liquid in the Enter The Arena tournament, but they would only finish 9th-16th after being eliminated by eventual winners Selfless Gaming.
In their most recent competitive outing Liquid had fielded former Colorado Clutch DPS, Lui, running full time Sombra in the ongoing Overwatch Carbon Series. Two losses were the outcome: 3-1 to Hammers and 3-0 loss to Renegades.
So the news comes slightly out of the blue today that Liquid haven't signed any of the aforementioned players, instead announcing that popular Romanian streamer Robert "shadder2k" Mocanu will be filling out their roster for 2017 along with a nice interview profiling his gaming history.
shadder2k has been known for his prolific Genji play since the closed beta when Seagull singled him out for praise as a genuine diamond in the rough around June 2016. He's no diamond when it comes to the leaderboards though, having been in and around the European server's top ten since matchmaking launched.
Although originally earning his reputation as a public player, shadder2k has been dabbling in organised play as far back as June, most recently popping up in November with the promising but ultimately doomed Rlly Cool Guys roster.
Genji was always the hero that was painfully absent from Team Liquid's repertoire. Now they have picked up a relative rookie who is known almost exclusively for that hero. One might wonder if they are opening themselves up to a different set of problems in the long run?
"Definitely not" was shadder2k's response when I asked him if he would only be playing Genji, adding that his hero pool within Liquid includes "Genji, Soldier, D. Va, Hog, Zarya, maybe some Bastion if it comes to it".
You can catch his official debut in 3 hours time against compLexity in the Overwatch Carbon Series, but beyond that shadder2k mentioned that he hopes to be "moving in a few months" to join his team mates in North America. Does the Overwatch League beckon?
The Team Liquid roster is now:
- Kevin "AZK" Larivière (DPS)
- Andrew "iid" Trulli (DPS)
- Adam "MESR" De La Torre (Tank)
- Shane "rapha" Hendrixson (Support)
- Tim "DaHanG" Fogarty (Support)
- Robert "shadder2k" Mocanu (Flex)