According to an ESPN report published this week, Liquid plans to disband its Overwatch team “in the coming weeks”, dropping out of Contenders as well as declining to pursue a slot in the Overwatch League.
According to the report, Liquid intends to sell its Contenders spot in Season One, leaving one slot open in both regions for replacement teams. In Europe, Movistar Riders are in a similar position having disbanded after Season Zero.
The report caused a Twitter furor among personalities in the scene as they came down on either side of Contenders spots being sold rather than passing to the next best team in Season Zero. Replacement teams for Liquid and Movistar Riders have not yet been announced and the transition process is believed to be ongoing.
Sources also told ESPN that the Team Liquid organisation was “unlikely to pursue participation in the Overwatch League”. This is reportedly not due to a lack of funds, having recently received backing from venture capital group aXiomatic, but because the org does not see OWL as a "valuable use of their capital", ESPN said sources close to the team's plans disclosed.
This news comes shortly after reports of veteran endemic esports organisations entering into OWL. Cloud9 have confirmed their spot representing London in the Overwatch League, while ESPN also reported that EnVyUs would be representing Austin-Dallas.
Liquid never found as much success in Overwatch as either of those teams and seemed content to paddle along with the same middling core for over a year, which has featured AZK, DaHanG, and MESR since April 2016. The team began to see some success recently with the addition of shadder2k and then Fury, placing second in PIT Championship NA and Contenders Season Zero, but was never a world-class team.
With a roster containing former top professionals from other esports, the disband of Liquid is likely to see most of their players return to original playing fields rather than continue in Overwatch.
rapha, DaHanG, and id_ are set to play for Liquid in Quake Champions at QuakeCon (alongside Overwatch competitor winz on loan from Rogue) on Aug 24-27th, dates which overlap with Contenders Season One.
AZK was recently unbanned from ESL CS:GO events, prompting plans to reunite with his former teammates DaZeD and swag, the latter two have revealed.
ESPN reports that the remaining players and staff, shadder2k, MESR, and coach INTERNETHULK, will search for new opportunities within Overwatch, though no mention is made of Korean flex Fury who joined the team in June.
The former Team Liquid roster was:
- Kevin "AZK" Larivière (DPS)
- Robert "shadder2k" Mocanu (Flex)
- Kim "Fury" Jun-ho (김준호) (Flex)
- Adam "MESR" De La Torre (Tank)
- Tim "DaHanG" Fogarty (Support)
- Andrew "id_" Trulli (DPS Substitute)
- Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka (Head Coach)