On February 5th, Team Liquid announced a roster change that was supposed to bring them out of the pit of failure they had fallen into. Joshua “jdm64” Marzano was replaced by a returning Liquid player from 2015, Keith “NAF” Markovic.
Immediately after the roster switch, the improvement in Team Liquid’s result was plain to see. 12-14th at ELEAGUE Major Boston to 1st at cs_summit 2 is an impressive jump in performance. Team Liquid even won against the reigning Major champions and their biggest rivals for the title of the best purely North American CS:GO team, Cloud9.
With NAF on the roster, the team had to switch around their roles, trusting the AWP to their veteran and captain, Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella. It seems to be working out fine, Team Liquid made it to the playoffs at StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4, where they will have to face SK Gaming in the Quarterfinals.
For IEM Katowice, however, they will go back to the old roster with jdm64 AWPing. Will we see the old Team Liquid or will their trend of better performance continue with jdm64 back?
There might have been a lot of reasons for Team Liquid losing with jdm64. It’s not impossible that the AWPer was simply bad but we suspect that the more likely reason was a clash of personalities.
In both the case of jdm64 being bad and internal problems influencing their play, Team Liquid should be able to work well enough together to do reasonably well in this tournament. After all, it’s not like jdm64 sucked for its entire stay on the team and professional players should be able to get over their personal issues enough to function well together for a single tournament.
If they can’t, it will be a huge loss for Team Liquid because IEM Katowice is one of the biggest and most prestigious tournaments of the year. We wish them luck in any case but also can’t help but wish to see NAF playing instead of jdm64. While the last hurrah might be welcomed by jdm64 fans, it’s better to gaze into the future instead of lingering on the past.