Report: Liquid set to release shox
According to a report by George Geddes of Dot Esports, Liquid are set to part ways with Richard "shox" Papillon at the player's request. shox's exit from Liquid comes after an incredibly disappointing finish at PGL Antwerp 2022, which saw the team eliminated 0-3 in the Legends Stage following losses to Heroic, FURIA, and Vitality during which the veteran French player was the lowest rated of the whole event, ending the Legends Stage with a 0.64 rating.
While shox's performance is undoubtedly a factor in Liquid agreeing to release the player, Dot Esports also suggested shox is unhappy on Liquid due to travel issues between North America and Europe, likely limiting the amount of time spent with his family.
While it is an easy narrative to assign all of the blame on shox for Liquid's failure at the Major due to his poor performance, it is only a piece of a puzzle in a lineup that cratered in Antwerp after showing promise at events earlier in the year. During the Legends Stage, Keith "NAF" Markovic seemed to be the only player firing on all cylinders while Liquid's crown jewel, Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, had his worst-rated event in nearly five years.
Along with the stats line being abysmal, Liquid's coach, Eric "adreN" Hoag, painted a picture of a dysfunctional team that needed to "go back to the drawing board before Dallas" in an interview with Dust2.us. Whether removing the shox and adding a player who will fit better with the team's systems is the right choice is yet to be seen, however, this will go down as an expensive blunder for Liquid after acquiring shox from Vitality at the end of 2021.
Without shox, Liquid would be:
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
Keith "NAF" Markovic
Joshua "oSee" Ohm
Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella
Eric "adreN" Hoag (Coach)
If Liquid do elect to release shox, they will need to find a new fifth on short notice, as IEM Dallas is right around the corner on May 30th.