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Team Liquid’s fate at The International 2019 hangs in the balance after a poor group stage saw them plummet into the lower bracket of the playoffs. Recently the team made a roster change which saw Aliwi ‘w33’ Omar join the squad and with the looming start to playoffs, we managed to sit down for a few minutes with the player.

Hi w33, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. Diving right in; the group stages of TI9 are now complete but things did not really go the way of you and Liquid – this was obviously not the plan. Can you walk us through what it was that went wrong?

We just had a few mistakes that eventually caused us to fall into the lower bracket. We just hope we can do our best next time and manage to push through. We wouldn’t be here at TI if we didn’t think that we could win or beat any team.

In your opening game on day one against Newbee, you picked up Viper and it did not go too well. Can you explain to me the reasoning behind that hero choice?

New patches keep coming and change things constantly. If you just stick to one or two heroes, you’ll never be successful and you have to try everything. A hero can be extremely good and you try it but once you’re in the game, you make one mistake and it can change everything. Maybe you’re not used to it because you didn’t play it as much or practice it enough. Sometimes things work out differently though in an important game and what you try will work out.

Everyone is obviously talking about the OG core IO, it’s probably one of the most interesting aspects of the group stage. So, what are your thoughts on it and as a follow up, do you like seeing support heroes moving out of their role and into different areas of the game?

A few teams were actually very close to having a mid Chen in the last Major, there were a lot of teams actually practicing this – it was very strong. Heroes nowadays are not set in a single position. As you see lately there’s Invoker and Queen of Pain support, Earth Spirit or Wisp carries. Positions don’t exist anymore, they’re just heroes now and they can be versatile.

Along the same path, do you feel the patches lately constantly move the game forward or is there still something you find missing sometimes?

No, the game is going very well. It’s very different from a few years back when we had one or two heroes that would be picked in every game and demolish entire tournaments. A lot of heroes have big counters already and people don’t know it until they start thinking about it. There always is a counter nowdays. If you think back to TI6, there was no counter to Shadow Demon + Luna + Kunkka and now there’s just so much to counter everything else now.

You’ve recently left behind the South American Dota 2 community and come back to the “greener” pastures of European Dota. How has this transition been for you.

Obviously it is much different, I don’t need to fly all the way to Brazil every time. I get to spend more time settled in and I have stability. But the difference is that I can actually play some Dota now, when there’s no qualifiers, I can relax.

On that note, are there other games that you enjoy playing?

I used to play one or two other games. Rocket League and Apex Legends too. It all helps to relax and if you’re going to sit on a computer, you might as well enjoy it, it doesn’t matter what you do.

We’re in Shanghai for The International, we’ve all been here a few days now. Have you been enjoying your time here?

It has been great so far, the people, the food have all been amazing.

Do you have a favourite food that you’ve tried or something you keep going back for?

Well, they have Arabic food here and I’m half Arabic, so I can’t get enough.

It has been a pleasure talking to you and thank you very much, once again, for taking the time to do this interview. We wish you the best of luck in the tournament and finally, do you have any shoutouts that you’d like to give?

Just to our fans around the world, thank you for supporting us, we really appreciate it and we’ll try our best to keep going.

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