Western European Dota 2 powerhouse announced on Friday (10 November) that they have added former Tundra Esports star offlaner Neta "33" Shapira as their new position 3 player for the upcoming competitive season.
33, who was instrumental in Tundra's run to the championship at TI 2022, will be coming in to replace Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg, who has taken an indefinite break from competitive Dota 2.
Liquid's announcement of their signing of 33 also came shortly after Tundra announced their own parting with the star offlaner. Tundra has notably been slowly announcing the disbandment of its roster over the past few days, with Leon "Nine" Kirilin taking a break from pro play while Oliver "skiter" Lepko and Wu "Sneyking" Jingjun have also left the squad.
— Team Liquid Dota (@teamliquiddota) November 10, 2023
33's move to Liquid comes after disappointing showings for both Tundra and Liquid in TI 2023 in October.
Tundra were one of the biggest favourites heading into the tournament by virtue of being defending champions that had also been reinforced by a two-time TI champion in Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen.
Tundra had a stellar start to the tournament, finishing phase one of the Road to The International Group Stage as the first seed of Group D with a 7-1 record.
However, the downfall of the defending champions began in phase two of the Group Stage, where they were upset by North America's Nouns Esports and forced to a lower bracket start in the Road to The International Playoffs.
Tundra's struggles continued in the first round of the lower bracket, where they were knocked out by Entity in 13th-16th place.
Meanwhile, Liquid were also considered a heavy contender for the Aegis of Champions at TI 2023 and had one of the most dominant runs there, though they only managed to reach the Top 6.
After dropping their first game of the tournament to China's Azure Ray, Liquid won their next seven games and finished as the top seed of Group B in the first phase of the Road to The International Group Stage. In phase two, the Western European juggernauts soundly swept North America's Evil Geniuses to earn an upper bracket berth in the Road to The International Playoffs.
Liquid then scored another sweep over Southeast Asia's Talon Esports to advance to the upper bracket semifinals in TI 2023's Finals Weekend.
However, Liquid were defeated by TI 2021 champions Team Spirit in the upper bracket semifinals in the first day of Finals Weekend to get dropped to the lower bracket quarterfinals.
Liquid's first and only elimination match of TI 2023 was against a very familiar foe in Gaimin Gladiators. The three-time Major champions have been Liquid's kryptonite all year long, defeating them in the grand finals of the Lima, Berlin, and Bali Majors as well as DreamLeague Season 19.
In an all too familiar result for Liquid, they were defeated by Gaimin Gladiators once again and subsequently knocked out of TI 2023 in 5th-6th place.
But now with a TI champion in 33 joining Liquid's roster of Michael "miCKe" Vu, Michał "Nisha" Jankowski, Samuel "Boxi" Svahn, Aydin "Insania" Sarkohi, and coach William "Blitz" Lee, the team is looking like one of the strongest squads heading into the next season.
Blacklist's new roster is set to make its debut later this month in the Western European qualifier for ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023, which will be the last big Dota 2 tournament of the year in December and features a US$1 million prize pool.
Team Liquid Dota 2 roster:
Michael "miCKe" Vu
Michał "Nisha" Jankowski
Neta "33" Shapira
Samuel "Boxi" Svahn
Aydin "Insania" Sarkohi
William "Blitz" Lee (coach)