Team Liquid announced on twitter a mutual parting of ways with stars Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom’ and Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom.
The French brothers were a staple to the Team Liquid identity. Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom was ostensibly the face of the EMEA franchise. Starting with the team back when the initial rosters were being signed in 2020, ScreaM was one of the biggest name players on the market. His tenure lasted nearly three years, with countless victories and triumphs. Including a top-four finish at Masters Reykjavik and VCT Champions in 2021, the high points of this version of Liquid’s run.
As for Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom, he made the transition from CS: GO later in the cycle. To bolster the roster heading into the 2021 EMEA Last Chance Qualifiers, Liquid announced his signing. The move paid off with them qualifying and playing arguably their best VALORANT ever at Champions, losing to Gambit in the Semifinals. The chemistry between the brothers was apparent from game-to-game.
The Effectiveness of ScreaM and Nivera
Moreover, the two brothers together made quite a pair. ScreaM on Jett was consistently at the top of the table in terms of ACS. During Masters Reykjavik in 2022, he finished eight points ahead of the next player in ACS with a beyond-impressive 260.5 ACS. Even when Liquid were getting lackluster results and barely qualifying, Team Liquid ScreaM consistently finished as one of the most efficient damage dealers in the game. For Nivera, he played a more cerebral, defensive game with the Controller role. Both players were key to any success Liquid had and will leave a massive hole in the roster moving forward.
Unfortunately, the Liquid roster never could find their footing to truly compete for championships. Even with two top-four finishes, a surprise playoff appearance at this year’s Champs by beating former runner-ups Paper Rex, and countless notable wins, consistency was always an issue. Partially due to the fact that this team never had a legitimate in-game leader and had trouble establishing a style of play that worked.
Even with another star talent in Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen rostered, the organization couldn’t find the right formula. The double Operator setup Liquid was known for showed promise, but the mismatch of roles and styles sacrificed cohesiveness for explosiveness. The team was in a perpetual state of not adhering to the meta and never making the proper adjustments to the roster.
The next step for the Brothers and Team Liquid
Nonetheless, losing Nivera and ScreaM will hurt. Liquid will now be built around Jamppi, as the two brothers eye French organizations for 2023. Regardless of age, these two will instantly make whatever team they sign with a threat in EMEA. The experience is invaluable and these two can be brought on to lead a roster. Furthermore, the team will bring over huge name recognition and a sizable fan base to whatever org signs them next. As well as ScreaM’s trademark in-game camera expressions.
As for Liquid, they move forward with Jamppi, Dom “soulcas” Sulcas, Dmitriy “dimasick” Matvienko and a whole lot of questions. While teams like Fnatic and Na’vi are loading up on talent in EMEA, Liquid is hemorrhaging their own. It’s tough to see a path where Liquid improves from year-to-year when losing two core players.
Feautred image courtesy of Michal Konkol/Riot Games