Liquid swap success for Stewie2k
The world of CSGO exploded on Tuesday as MIBR attempted to plant C4 right at the foundations of the North American scene. In a move that could have massive consequence for multiple teams, they have reportedly initiated contact with Team Liquid over a deal that would see Epitácio ‘TACO’ de Melo and Wilton ‘zews’ Prado link up with their former team-mates once more, while Liquid will receive Jake ‘Stewie2K’ Yip in return.
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The report, which was written by ESPN’s Jacob Wolf, says the deal is all but done and, if accurate, this could represent yet another move by Noah Whinston and his company that has a massive negative impact on the American scene as a whole. At the start of the year, he spent record amounts to break up the first North American team to win a CSGO Major, taking Stewie and Tarik from Cloud 9 and now he is set to destroy the best NA team in CSGO history to try and rescue his failing MIBR brand.
The decision to allow TACO to leave must be put at the door of any Team Liquid manager that signed off on this deal, to allow a player that has had such a massive positive impact on the side to leave. It may be that his contract was a 12-month affair, having left SK Gaming roughly a year ago and their hand was forced by him refusing to re-sign, but that is all speculation. All we really know is that the best team NA has ever put together is being taken apart, just when things were getting interesting.
Good for MIBR, lousy for Liquid
Now, it’s fair to point out first that this move absolutely makes sense for MIBR. The decision to hire desk talent as a coach and two Americans who didn’t speak a lick of Portuguese smacks of the ‘entertainment first’ policy Whinston subscribes to. Going back was the only logical step, and TACO is the best piece they could have acquired, being the key not only to the team’s play but also coldzera’s individual success.
For Stewie there are also a lot of upsides, as he gets to leave a team ranked around fifth in the world for one ranked in the top three and go back to speaking English again.
Liquid are as good now as they have ever been
How he’ll fit into a side with established stars already in place will be interesting to see, as Liquid are not the most vocal or expressive team, and that is all before we get to the awkward truth about coaching.
It is unarguably true that Liquid are as good now as they have ever been, and the majority of their progress has been down to the robust systems put in place by their leader and coach. Removing zews just as they hit their all time peak is an incredibly odd move, unless he made it clear he had no intention of staying, or the org feel they have come as far as is possible with him in charge and need to upgrade.
Of course, that then begs the question of where you find your upgrade, as it’s pretty obvious the market is not awash with great coaches. Some will say Liquid should hire Janko ‘Ynk’ Paunovic, the man who MIBR are removing, but a quick look at his results as a coach shows that is not an opinion based in any sort of statistical fact, as he was unable to win with a team full of Major champions.
So, once again North American CSGO has been blown apart, and it’s not yet clear where all the pieces will land. Tarik and Ynk are still looking for work, MIBR need a fifth and Liquid have to find a coach, but Noah Whinston will at least be pleased to have made some more headlines, in the year he turned the best team in the world into a top-ten contender.