Team Liquid faced a rocky start to the 2019 - 2020 Dota season. They came in last place at ESL One Hamburg with losses to Gambit, Quincy Crew, and TNC. Their previous appearance at Dreamleague didn't go much better. A fourth place finish might look impressive, until you realize that there were only six teams and they got knocked out by an NA stack whose roster had barely existed for more than a few weeks. Let's not forget that this squad (then playing under the Alliance banner) also went out much earlier than expected in TI 9 after an accidental Gyro pick in the lower bracket eliminated them before they even had a chance to show what they were made of.
Things turned around for Liquid at the Chengdu Major - they decided to show up when it really mattered. They took first in Group C with a 2-0 victory against Aster and 2-1 against Evil Geniuses. They faced a poor start in the bracket with a 1-2 loss against J.Storm, but victories over Ehome and Alliance propelled them into the 5th-6th place position, where they were eliminated by Evil Geniuses.
The team seemed to regain some of their pre TI9 energy, and are sitting in a strong place to find their way into TI10 this year (pending any roster moves and point deductions). Although the points have been slightly reworked this year, last year's point minimum to head to TI was Keen Gaming with 1140 points. This puts Liquid, with their 900 points, in a healthy position to make it to The International. All they need to do is place well at one more Major. They could even farm minors for the rest of the season and probably still have a chance!
It's a little early to call Team Liquid inconsistent, but after only winning a single one of their 10 games at the ONE Esports Invitational, we do have to start to question how reliable their performance is. They crushed the EU qualifier for the Leipzig Major without dropping a game, but can only manage a single win against LGD a few weeks later? (LGD being a team that didn't even make it out of the Open Qualifier for the Leipzig Major). If they have an upswing at the Leipzig Major, they could very well grab themselves a spot for TI 10 - off of two solid mid range tournament performances. It won't matter if they come in last at every single other event for the year - if the points trend similarly to the past couple years (with a few top teams hoarding most and the bottom 8-10 teams in close competition) then we will likely see teams at TI 10 that have no guarantee of being strong contenders.
It's no secret that the DPC system has several flaws - with one of those flaws being the top heavy nature of the circuit. Although discussions have mostly circled the prize pool distribution, it's also important to take a look at the point distribution.
Team Secret walked away with nearly 15000 points. Vici Gaming came in third place in DPC points, and they nearly doubled the point totals for fourth place team Evil Geniuses. A lot of the big names did skip the first major this year - so that alone should give a slightly better point spread. But what does that say about a system that the TI winning team didn't feel the need to show up until the end of last year? Or that the big teams didn't feel like the Majors mattered much this season?
It may seem like we are turning into a broken record - but the DPC system requires more than just a fine tuning at this point. The question is, who's going to take it to the mechanic, and will you even like the upgrades that they install?