As the 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit nears its end, it’s the season for Dota 2 team roster changes as organizations prepare for The International 2018. Although the earlier roster lock was meant to discourage teams from changing their rosters so close to Dota 2’s biggest annual festival, this was an inevitable scenario. Especially now that teams know if they’re in the running for a direct invite to TI nuch earlier than before.
As we head quickly towards what’s likely going to be another record-breaking esports event — it’s already nearing $10.5 million USD with more than two months to go — a lot of teams will be looking to get their slice of the pie. For the many who will miss out on a direct invite, that means changing up their roster in hopes of boosting their chances.
We don’t know when exactly the next roster lock will be, but, we’re betting on it happening before the big event. My guess is it will be either before the Open Qualifiers on June 14 or after the Closed Regional Qualifiers after June 25.
In any case, here are some of the Dota 2 team roster changes that we might just see happen soon.
Timado Returns to South America
Enzo “Timado” Gianoli’s venture outside of South America has proven unfruitful thus far. He first took his chances with Aliwi ‘w33‘ Omar and MidorFeed, only for the team to disband barely two months later. He then started to play well with VGJ.Storm, helping the team qualify for the GESC Thailand Dota 2 Minor and the MDL Changsha Major, only to be replaced later on by Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok, who left a struggling OG squad to help VGJ.Storm emerge as a legitimate threat.
With no team as of the moment, it’s highly possible that we might see Timado return to South America. His former team, Infamous, is a possibility. However, he didn’t exactly leave the team in good teams, so we highly doubt that. This leaves us with the only other prominent Dota 2 organizations in South America, paiN Gaming and SG e-sports.
The former’s roster is most likely already set, so we’re leaning towards the latter. Besides, the Brazilians have not exactly had much success with their roster. Also, compared to Infamous and paiN Gaming, SG e-sports are the only ones to have not made the playoffs in any LAN they have played in. We’re not saying that they won’t have a chance against either one of those teams in the Open Qualifiers, but their chances will be slim as it is.
Timado may not have the same impact w33 had with paiN Gaming, but he can’t exactly make the team any worse than they are right now.
Lil Reunites With Old Friends
No, we’re talking about Virtus.Pro. At least, not this current iteration. Rather, we’re talking about his pals over at Team Spirit, who, four of which, he spent a lot of time with from 2014 to 2015 and helped to upset Team Secret at The International 2015 where they ultimately finished in the Top 6 — no small feat considering they weren’t exactly considered contenders heading into the tournament.
Ilya ‘Lil‘ Ilyuk has shown no signs of wanting to leave Natus Vincere as of yet and Team Spirit have not exactly done so bad for themselves with their current iteration. But, who are we kidding? The most success any members of the current Team Spirit have had was with Lil, who is still arguably the best position 4 player in the CIS region and is a massive upgrade over Malthe ‘Biver‘ Winther.
We’re not saying that this will happen, but if Natus Vincere doesn’t shape up, don’t expect Lil to just sit tight and not find a way to get out of a losing situation.
The Chinese Shuffle
This is a big IF that depends a lot on whether or not VGJ.Thunder and/or Newbee retain their spot in the Top 8 and receive an invite to The International 2018. At 8th and 7th place respectively, they’re not exactly out of the running just yet. However, Newbee are in a slump and are already out of ESL One Birmingham 2018, while VGJ.Thunder have not exactly done so well for themselves. Sure, the chances of them dropping out of the Top 8 are low, but still, it’s worth considering. Besides, it’s not exactly far-fetched to bet on teams like Fnatic, OpTic Gaming, and TNC Pro Team to try and make a run for those two spots to secure themselves a direct invite to TI8.
If Newbee and VGJ.Thunder do miss out on a direct invite to TI8, expect the other Dota 2 teams in China who will be playing at the Regional Qualifiers to try and make changes to their rosters accordingly.
It wouldn’t even be out of the realm of possibility for either one of VGJ.Thunder and Newbee to change their rosters themselves.
Team OG Bite the Bullet
All throughout the season, OG have teased a return to relevancy only for better teams to put them back in their place. Their constantly underwhelming performance have made them an easy subject for Dota 2 team roster change rumors. Even when they did actually change their roster, it didn’t help much.
Now, OG are not exactly a bad team with Sébastien ‘7ckngMad‘ Debs on the roster. They’re still good, fringe contenders even. They could probably qualify for TI8 via the “easy” European Qualifiers with the same group of people and make a run at a Top 8 finish. But, that’s not the OG we know. The OG we know were not just hovering around relevancy — they were a sure invite and heavy favourites at any event they played at, including The International — and this current iteration of OG are far from it. Plus, we know that Resolut1on wasn’t the problem considering how well VGJ.Storm are doing right now.
We can’t exactly point out what’s wrong with OG. Sometimes, it’s Tal ‘Fly‘ Aizik and his drafting. There are also times that Gutsav ‘s4‘ Magnusson shines like the TI winner that he is, and there are other times when even he’s the weakest link. The same goes for either one of Johan ‘N0tail‘ Sundstein, Jesse ‘JerAx‘ Vainikka, and 7ckngMad. Someone or something different goes wrong for OG every game.
That then leaves us with one simple conclusion to make: change is needed.
Now, it may not come as a full roster overhaul, but whatever it is, a Dota 2 team roster change that has to happen, and it has to happen soon.
Evil Geniuses Risk the Open Qualifiers
Ever since Peter ‘ppd‘ Dager left Evil Geniuses after The International 2016, the knock on them has always been that they were a collection of five highly-skilled professional Dota 2 players instead of a team.
Now, ppd, doesn’t exactly have the most likeable persona. Or at least, that’s what he’s trying to show. He’s divisive on social media, although he has since admitted that he does this to further his own interest. As a captain, he has admitted that he’s strict. But, even though ppd’s style rubbed some people off in the wrong way, he knew how to succeed — Evil Geniuses never placed below third-place at TI during his time as team captain — and right now, OpTic Gaming, ppd’s new team, are easily playing better than Evil Geniuses.
Either way, that’s not the point. Rather, it’s that Evil Geniuses need some serious work. And, unlike back in The International 2016 where they had to go through the Open Qualifiers to get a chance to defend their title after going through a last-minute roster change — they ultimately finished in third-place at the main event, losing to Digital Chaos in the lower bracket finals — North America has a lot more teams for them to worry about these days.
Maybe Evil Geniuses will finally given in to the common belief that Artour ‘rtz‘ Babaev and Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL‘ Hassan are too greedy to belong on the same Dota 2 team roster. If they do that, SumaiL could slot back in the middle, and the last I heard, a two-time Major winner offlaner going by the name of David ‘MoonMeander‘ Tan doesn’t have a team right now.
Now, not all of these Dota 2 team roster changes could happen. N0tail has, for one, confirmed in an interview with VPesports that this is the roster they’re going to go to Vancouver with. But, that’s only if they qualify, which isn’t exactly a sure thing yet. Of course, OG don’t exactly have much competition in Europe, so there’s that too. Also, as for ramblings, Evil Geniuses already had to deal with fake news of a transfer between ppd and Rasmus ‘MISERY‘ Filipisen, and as we all know, while not always true, rumors are almost always an indication that some change will happen in due time.
In any case, it won’t take long for us to find out exactly what kind of Dota 2 team roster changes as the unofficial start of the game of musical chairs commences.
Which of these Dota 2 team roster changes do you think is most likely to happen? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.