The TI7 roster shuffle always brings with it the most unexpected of changes, much more so this year with Dota 2’s competitive system going through a complete overhaul that forces teams to give it their all right from the get-go instead of gearing up only for the months preceding TI — that might still happen next year, albeit less likely.
Since we’ve already talked about which teams we thought won and lost the recent TI7 roster shuffle, we will now take the time to talk about some of the changes that caught us off guard.
Alliance Drop Entire Roster
Alliance hasn’t been at the top, nor even near the top of the Dota 2 scene in years. However, their latest complete lineup without Jonathan ‘Loda’ Berg seemed to be doing quite well. Sure, they failed to qualify for The International 7, but they did give Alliance their first LAN title in quite a while at The Final Match LAN tournament in Peru.
That has to account something, right? Nevermind the fact that it was against lesser competition and basically had no bearing.
Dropping Simoni ‘Handsken’ Haag, Linus ‘Limmp’ Blomdin and Jonas ‘jonassomfan’ Lindholm was pretty understandable; those three are a package deal unless Limmp is playing with his brother, Rasmus ‘Chessie’ Blomdim, which he is doing right now with CompLexity Gaming.
But for Alliance to gut the entire roster — Adrian ‘Era’ Kryeziu and Axel ‘Pablo’ Källmanin left soon after the aforementioned trio did — in a competitive season with more money going around and more chances to compete than ever before?
As of the moment, Alliance only have Jonathan ‘Loda’ Berg on the roster, which, as one might expect, has become a bit of a meme.
PPD & Zai Out of Evil Geniuses
Hands up if you expected Evil Geniuses to shuffle their roster the way they did.
Fresh off of a disappointing 9-12th place TI7 finish, it would’ve come off as a huge surprise if Evil Geniuses didn’t make any changes. However, all eyes were either on Andreas Franck ‘Cr1t-‘ Nielsen or Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev leaving; the former was to blame for Evil Geniuses’ disappointing ending to the season, underserved or not, while Arteezy leaving Evil Geniuses isn’t exactly news anymore.
So, you can only imagine the shock on many people’s faces when it was announced that Peter ‘ppd’ Dager was leaving the only organisation that he has ever played for. Not only that, but he was also taking Ludwig ‘zai’ Wåhlberg along with him.
Perhaps even more surprising was that it wasn’t because of a rift between ppd and rtz that caused the former’s departure. Instead, as revealed in an earlier interview, it was because management essentially had to choose between ppd and their star mid player Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan.
As for Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis returning to active competition, it was more of an eventuality; you can’t just keep someone that competitive out of the game.
EternaLEnVy Goes to SEA
Jacky ‘EternaLEnVy’ Mao packing his bags to head east towards Malaysia and Fnatic was as unexpected as things can get, even by TI7 roster shuffle standards. Him taking Johan ‘pieliedie’ Åström and Steve ‘Excalibur’ Ye along with him? Even more so.
Players very rarely transfer regions unless they can’t find a team at home, and are you willing to bet that no one was going to take EternaLEnVy in North America and Europe?
Fnatic, as currently constructed, are a good team on paper. However, they have yet to warrant such a huge career move, failing to qualify for a tournament this season.
Digital Chaos’ Roster Shuffle
Digital Chaos made a lot of rather unexpected moves this TI7 roster shuffle; you can count the failed Digital Chaos.SA venture if you want, but that was more confusing than it was surprising.
As for their roster, Arif ‘MSS’ Anwar was a worthy pickup and arguably an upgrade over Lee ‘Forev’ Sang-don in the offlane. But, bringing over David ‘MoonMeander’ Tan, a two-time Major winner among others, only to make him captain of the team from the position five? That raises a whole lot of questions.
Welcome to Digital Chaos, folks.
W33 Forms Stack With Him at the 4
It’s not often that one of the most mechanically skilled mid players in the world makes a positional switch. Even when they do, they move to the offlane, just as Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson and Daryl Koh ‘iceiceice’ Pei Xiang have done.
So, when Aliwi ‘w33’ Omar announced his stack and his move to the position 4, most people were skeptical. After all, the guy replacing him in the tightly contested lane, Miha ‘cancel^^’ Antonio, hasn’t exactly had the most successful career.
— Troels Nielsen (@syndereNDota) September 28, 2017
As it turns out, much of the skepticism was right; W33’s stack, now named MidorFeed, has had little success to start the season. Even worse, they have already lost their captain, Martin ‘Saksa’ Sazdov, whom they have since replaced with Troels ‘SyndereN’ Nielsen.
Given the fact that they’re playing in one of the most stacked regions this season and the scarcity of remaining qualifier tournaments, it’s probably only a matter of time before the team disbands.
Other TI7 Roster Shuffle Changes
Anathan ‘ana’ Pham leaving OG was a bit of a surprise. However, it would’ve turned a lot more heads had he chosen to move to another team instead of taking a break. Meanwhile, his replacement, Roman Resolut1on’ Fominok, was all but confirmed already thanks to the rumors that circulated online.
Surely, no one must’ve expected Natus Vincere to pick up relatively unknown carry player Vladislav ‘Crystallize’ Krystanek; a decision that has panned out for the black and yellow so far.
In any case, we’ll find out soon if these teams who took the risk will be able to continue their success, or, for those whose moves haven’t panned out yet, find a way to turn things around this far into the season.
Do you agree with our picks? Which TI7 roster shuffle changes caught you off your guard the most? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.