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Team Liquid's Dota 2 team will be welcoming back their offlaner, Samuel "Boxi" Svahn, for the qualifiers of The International 10 (TI10), team coach William "Blitz" Lee announced on Wednesday (9 June).
Boxi left Liquid's active roster to take "time away from Dota to be with his family" in April, with North American superstar midlaner Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan joining the team to be his stand-in. During Boxi's absence, SumaiL took over the role of Liquid's midlaner from Maximilian "qojqva" Bröcker, who then moved to the offlane role vacated by Boxi.
SumaiL helped Liquid finish second in the upper division of the Dota Pro Circuit's (DPC) European regional league and earn a direct seed to the Group Stage of the WePlay AniMajor. However, Liquid struggled mightily during the AniMajor and failed to qualify for the Playoffs.
In a post on his personal Twitter account, Blitz clarified that SumaiL only joined Liquid to stand-in for Boxi during his time away and was not being trialed to become a permanent replacement for the offlaner as some in the community have speculated.
"Boxi will be returning for the TI qualifiers. As stated beforehand, it was his choice to take the break and his choice to come back. There has been some speculation that we were trying to see who we would do better with but that could not be further from the truth. Boxi took some much needed personal time off and is now ready to play once again. I hope people are understanding and try not to speculate about his break too much," said Blitz.
"Thank you to [SumaiL] for helping us during our time of need, I wish we could have gone further but it was an absolute pleasure. Our results [at the WePlay AniMajor] were absolutely not his fault and he performed incredibly well under the circumstances. The team will root for you wherever you go!"
With their poor showing in the WePlay AniMajor, Liquid failed to secure a direct invite to TI10 and will have to qualify for the tournament through the regional qualifiers. Liquid will have to defeat the likes of OG, Tundra Esports, and many other aspiring squads in the European qualifiers from 7 to 10 July in order to earn their spot in TI10.
Meanwhile, SumaiL has once again become a free agent with his departure from Liquid. He will have to join a new team to compete in the next DPC and will unfortunately be missing out on TI10, unless he gets picked up by a team before the roster lock next Sunday.
It will be the first time that SumaiL will not be playing in TI since 2015, when he started his professional career and led Evil Geniuses to winning the championship at TI5.
TI10 will serve as the conclusion of the 2021 DPC. The latest iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament will be held in Stockholm, Sweden this August and will feature 18 of the best teams in the circuit competing for a cut of a massive US$40 million prize pool.
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