Dota 2 legend MATUMBAMAN makes a return to the scene as a panelist at TI12 only to witness his former team dropping to the lower bracket.
Fans watching The International 2023 (TI12) received a pleasant surprise through the return of Finnish Dota legend, Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen. He had already been spotted around for the group stages. However, Matumbaman made his first official appearance at TI12 as a guest panelist on the first day of the main event playoffs on October 27.
MATUMBAMAN makes his TI panel debute
This was MATUMBAMAN's first day as a Dota 2 panelist, and what a spectacular way to start as he kicked it off by paneling for the Upper Bracket Semifinals between Team Spirit and his former team, Team Liquid.
If Liquid grabs that Aegis, I'm going to be the first one to grab it with them.
Despite being a supposedly "neutral" panelist, MATUMBAMAN did not hold back in showing his love for his former teammates. His opening statement: "It feels great to be back at the old Key Arena, now Climate Pledge Arena. I'm technically the returning champion here so I mean it couldn't be a better moment. If Liquid grabs that Aegis, I'm going to be the first one to grab it with them."
Needless to say that Seattle has a special place in MATUMBAMAN's heart. He first picked up the Aegis of champions back when he won TI7 (2017) with the old iteration of Team Liquid. And now he is back once again in the emerald city with hopes of witnessing his former team to potentially win a second time.
Unfortunately, Team Liquid lost their series to Team Spirit 1-2 and dropped to the lower bracket. "It's a sad day to be a Liquid fan" says MATUMBAMAN before he added "It's a sad day to be a Western Europe fan" as the upcoming elimination series will be between Liquid and Gaimin Gladiators. With that, there can only be one chance for Western Europe to win TI12. Team Liquid will face Gaimin Gladiators at the Lower Bracket Quarterfinals on October 28, 10:00 a.m. PST.
What has MATUMBAMAN been doing prior to TI12?
It has been one year since MATUMBAMAN's retirement. His final pro game ended in a solemn defeat to Team Secret at TI11 Lower Bracket Final. In an interview with esports.gg, he made a promise to be “done-zo” with Dota after TI11. When asked on what his plans for the future were, he mentioned a variety of aspirations including but not limited to being an astrophysicist.
Instead, MATUMBAMAN enlisted in the Finnish army before coming back to Dota and TI12. On June 15, he tweeted a photo of his clean-shaven self, announcing his 90 percent completion of his service. Perhaps it was because of that we got to enjoy the return of MATUMBAMAN into Dota at TI12.
What's next for Matu?
Nobody knows what will be in store for MATUMBAMAN after TI12. For now, we can only enjoy his reemergence to the scene as much as possible; however long that will be.