Zai leaves Liquid to “take a break”

09:06 PM November 03, 2023

Edited by Dave Bernasibo, Esports INQ | Photo via Team Liquid Dota on X

Veteran Dota 2 player Ludwig “Zai” Wȧhlberg officially announces his departure from Team Liquid. In separate X posts, the ex-Liquid offlaner announced his indefinite break from the Dota 2 scene, as well as sent his regards and love to the team’s manager and coach.

Close, but not enough

Zai has had a colorful professional Dota 2 career, spanning over 10 teams in nine years. He’s played around legends such as Clement “Puppey” Ivanov in Team Secret, Lasse “Matumbaman” Urpalainen in Team Liquid, and Artour “Arteezy” Babaev in Evil Geniuses. However, despite his track record of playing with legends, he has never once lifted the Aegis of Champions himself. Every time Zai played for a team that went to The International, they all ended in runner-up spots, with the highest spot being in third place with Secret in 2021, and then with Liquid in 2022.

Zai’s run with Team Liquid this season was nearly great— a consistent second-place finisher in all three Majors, tailing the onslaught of Gaimin Gladiators led by Quinn Callahan’s crew. Team Liquid has had strokes of magnificence, showing up first place in two out of the three Dota Pro Circuit tournaments in the EU region.

Screenshot via Liquipedia

However, even with a run as impressive as theirs, Zai’s ninth and ultimately last TI run (for a while), would not end with him lifting the trophy. The team ended their Ti sprint in 6th place after suffering two straight 2-1 losses against Team Spirit and Gaimin Gladiators, who would then meet each other in the grand final.

Taking a break

Zai originally stated in a post-match interview with Neal “Tsunami” Khandheria that “William (Blitz) looked at me and told me I had to go after that Centaur performance,” referencing the off-laner’s 11-death run as Centaur against Gaimin. “Most likely I’ll follow his lead, and this might be my last TI. I think I’m going to take a break. What that means for me, I’m not quite sure. Online forums and X feeds were flooded with speculation on whether or not the veteran player would be leaving the professional Dota 2 scene.

Zai recently posted on X that he will be taking an indefinite break, putting all speculations to rest. The player bid the team farewell, even jokingly stating that he’d fight Team Liquid coach William “Blitz” Lee if he ever saw him.

Team Liquid, as of writing, has not posted any official statement regarding Zai’s departure, his replacement, or the fate of the organization’s Dota 2 roster.


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TAGS: dota 2, gaimin gladiators, Team Liquid, The International
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