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Dota 2's Post-TI Shuffle Is In Full Swing

Dota 2’s biggest event of the year, The International, is over, and many teams are going with it.

Kenneth "Brightside" Williams
Freelance Esports Writer
13th Sep, 2019·☕️ 6 min read
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In the world of esports, careers are short. Players at the top of their game today can be forgotten about in just a few year’s time. They know this, so they take every chance and opportunity that they can. The pressure is on to join the best teams and make the most money, and business almost always trumps friendship in esports.

That rings true for the biggest esport of them all. Dota 2’s biggest event of the year, The International, is over, and many teams are going with it.

The tradition of a post-TI shuffle started with the first TI back in 2010. This brief period marks the end of the Dota Pro Circuit, meaning that there’s no penalty for top tier teams kicking and signing players. Esports organizations know that now is the time to start signing new talent, and they’ve already begun restructuring their teams for the next DPC season.

Keep in mind that many of these changes are still in the works and may change before the proper start of the season. Hell, some of these are probably straight up red herrings, but those tend to be the most fun anyway. There’s lots of rumors to go over, so let’s keep it restricted to the teams that attended TI9. Let’s start with the two-time champions.

OG

It’s no surprise that OG is sticking together after winning two TIs in a row, but just like last year, they’re not going to rush into the next season. ana is expected to take a break from the game as well as Topson. The latter specifically stated that it’s to think about his future career. He’s already selling hats with his personal logo, so I’m looking forward to his next entrepreneurial endeavor.

Team Liquid

w33 was a surprise replacement for Matumbaman, but he quickly won us over at The Epicenter Major. While his hero pool was tiny, his ability to outplay top midlaners was a shock. While a silver finish at TI seems like enough to keep the squad together, w33’s future with Liquid is up in the air. The only real question is who would replace him?

Team Secret

MidOne helped Team Secret become the team to beat throughout the 2019 DPC season, but he might not stick around to enjoy the fruits of his labor. The Malaysian mid might be departing. Rumors also say that Puppey is looking to replace him with Matumbaman, but take that with a grain of salt.

Evil Geniuses

Despite a decent showing at TI landing them fifth place and over $1,000,000 in prize money, EG is once again going back to the drawing board. Nothing is certain yet despite an ominous “We will confirm when we have confirmation.” public statement, but the rumors are flying left and right for the North American-based team.

According to an insider on Reddit’s Dota 2 board, Fly, s4, and SumaiL might all be looking to greener pastures. No real clue where the first two are going, though SumaiL might be forming a new NA stack with his brother YawaR. As for replacements, a prominent insider stated that one of Virtus.pro’s players will fill in. Ramzes on EG sounds spicy, but the language barrier might be an issue.

Vici Gaming

Fade now holds the record for the shortest retirement in esports, going from retired to playing Position 5 for Team Aster in less than two weeks. No word on his replacement, but Vici will need a banger of a captain to repeat 2019’s success.

Royal Never Give Up

The Chinese breakouts of TI9 aren’t resting on their laurels one bit. Their fan page admin has stated that Ah Fu and Lanm are both departing with replacements on standby. Fenrir, one of the old school greats of Chinese dota, is joined by dogf1ghts to fill out the roster. The new support duo will have to work hard to maintain RNGU’s newfound reputation.

Infamous

The South American stars won our hearts and minds with their 7th place finish at TI, but their organization is somehow displeased with such a great performance. While the players themselves are sticking together, their sponsor has left the building. They’ll be flying a new banner for the 2019 season, but which organization will sign them is up to speculation.

Virtus.pro

Here comes the big one; despite an incredible start to last season, VP’s rough placing at TI and overall decline has lead to the whole team disbanding. 9pasha and ArsZeeqq have confirmed their leave and only Solo has declared his stay. The silence from Ramzes and No(o)ne is deafening, and the former is already rumored to be heading to Evil Geniuses.

Newbee

Despite just getting their new foreign sponsor, the American team is looking to gut it’s roster ahead of the next DPC season. Sccc has confirmed his break on his personal Weibo and both pieliedie and Sneyking have allegedly been kicked. There’s no obvious replacements for these players, and I was looking forward to seeing them grow this year. Oh well, esports is a business.

TNC Predator

Despite an early declaration that the team would remain as is, TNC is also looking to remix their roster. Captain eyyou and the controversial player Kuku might be replaced with kpii and March from Mineski, according to a SEA Dota insider. TNC performed to expectation at TI9, so the changes might be due to personal reasons.

Fnatic

After coming up short at TI9, it’s no surprise that the team is getting some new personnel. Their new roster is already confirmed to be 23savage, moon, iceiceice, Dj, and Jabz. The early rumors were that iceiceice would take a leave, but it’s good to see the star remain in the orange and black. Jabz has also been moved to Position 5 to accommodate their new star players. Abed and DuBu will be sorely missed.

Keen Gaming

According to the team’s official Weibo account, captain dark will be benched for the next season. That’s a surprise until you learn who his replacement will be; M-god himself, Mushi. The legendary Malaysian midlaner is going to play hard support for the new lineup, but his fans will flock to him all the same. Hopefully dark sticks around as a coach or analyst.

Natus Vincere

One of the most respected names in Dota is only making one change for the next DPC season. Their offlaner Blizzy has been benched in favor of ex-VP offlaner 9pasha, per an official announcement. According to the statement, Blizzy wasn’t benched for his performance and will remain with the team for the remainder of his contract. Is that true? Who knows. I just hope his isn’t forced to brew coffee for his replacement.

Chaos Esports Club

While the gambit of buying out Matumbaman’s contract for the qualifiers paid off for CEC, they certainly didn’t get the paycheck they were expecting. A dead last finish would make any team want to restructure, but it looks like the players themselves are doing the scouting. KheZu and MiLAN have both tweeted out their availability, although the latter has deleted his. He found a new stack quick, I assume.

Ninjas in Pyjamas

The laughingstocks of TI9 are standing steadfast after their last place finish. Aside from Saksa tweeting that he’ll be taking a break, there’s no confirmed changes. TI5-winner PPD has allegedly been asking around for open spots, but I wouldn’t be quick to judge. He’s used to the podium.

PSG.LGD

No, I didn’t forget about the best team in China. They’re sticking together. That’s all.

Here’s To Next Season

Seeing your favorite team lose a player can be heartbreaking, but remember that these kicks and leaves are for the best. The short careers of esports pros can’t be spent lollygagging around hoping for success. They want to win, and teams will do everything in their power to hit the podium and stay there.

Also keep in mind that some of these are just rumors. Anything can happen between now and the first Minor. We’ll be back soon with the final rosters for the 2019 DPC season. Until then, enjoy speculating alongside the rest of the Dota 2 community.