Report: Liquid bench European ahead of BLAST Showdown
It hasn't been that long for the European Liquid team, but it looks like they are already forced to make a change. According to Russian leaker Alexey "OverDrive" Birukov, Liquid have decided that they will be moving on from Bulgarian Aleks "Rainwaker" Petrov in a surprise change for the organization.
However, while sources have told Dust2.us that Rainwaker has indeed been moved to the bench ahead of the BLAST Showdown, it is understood he is not yet fully out of the team. The team will be using their head coach Damian "daps" Steele as the Buglarian's replacement for the event, where he will also be the In-Game Leader, taking the role away from Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis.
Liquid is currently evaluating their options, roles, and configuration within the team, with Rainwaker having struggled to fully make the jump to top-tier competition. This benching does not mean that Rainwaker has been cut, nor does it mean that Liquid is looking for new players as of right now. There is a chance he could return to the starting lineup. It's understood that the team is looking to shake things up for this event and hopefully find more cohesion inside and outside of the server in order to progress forward.
Rainwaker had joined Liquid as a replacement for Nick "nitr0" Cannella and was later joined by Robert "Patsi" Isyanov from Spirit. Those two additions, alongside YEKINDAR would make Liquid a European-majority squad, much to the dismay of their American fanbase.
Keith "NAF" Markovic, Josh "oSee" Ohm, and daps made the move to Europe with the team, leaving their homes behind. Due to the decline of the North American competitive scene, more and more teams have looked to living and boot camping in the Old World as a way to keep their skill level up throughout the year.
Rainwaker was one of the more unknown quantities to the team, with his lack of tier-one experience a major cause for concern in adapting to the new high level of competition. The Bulgarian was brought in as a more supportive element of the team where he would anchor on sites. With the rapid change from his previous team of 500 to now playing on Liquid, there are concerns that the jump was simply too much for the player at this time.
Dust2.us reached out to Liquid and a representative declined to comment.