Dota 2 rosters tend to be ephemeral. While some players stick together, the five-player roster that lasts an entire season is rare. Tracking Dota 2 roster changes can be difficult because they happen so frequently.
Rosters this season register on the Valve site and are not penalized for swapping players until Dota 2 Pro Circuit (DPC) points are at stake. It costs the team 20% of their earned DPC points to swap out a player. Playing with a stand-in at a DPC event results in taking home only 60% of the earned points (a 40% penalty).
So what teams have already switched up their rosters? The short answer is plenty of them. Let’s review a few of the highlights:
- Following a disappointing run at ESL One Hamburg 2018, Deng “Dstones” Lei was removed from Team Aster. Gao “loveyouloveme” Yuan of For The Dream stepped into the mid position for the Kuala Lumpur Major as a “loan.”
Implication: Team Aster were the first team to qualify for a DPC event and make a roster change anyways. They placed 13-16 (effectively last) at the Kuala Lumpur Major, so there were no obvious, immediate gains from changing players.
- On November 5, following a third-place finish at DreamLeague Season 10, Royal Never Give Up swapped out Adam “343” Shah for Xue “September” Zhichuan.
Implication: There were reportedly some language barriers with 343 on the squad, so the new team should be more in sync. The team forfeited 20% of their DPC points to make this change.
- Team Empire split into two teams, Team Empire Faith and Team Empire Hope. This saw players Vladimir “Chappie” Kuzmenko and Aybek “Naïve-“ Tokaev leaving the organization entirely. The new squads are Faith: Zaur “Cooman” Shakhmurzaev, Sergey Alexandrovich “G” Bragin, Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov, Fedor “velheor” Rusihin and Igor “Maden” Modenov, and Hope: Kiyalbek “dream’” Tayirov, Konstantin “Kodos” Kogai, Rodion “MYSmoon” Fomkin, Oleg “sayuw” Kalenbet, Vladislav “BLACKARXANGEL” Ivashenko.
Starting today Team Empire will be represented by two squads – Team Empire Faith and Team Empire Hope.
More info: https://t.co/Gf9W3KSTAv
— Team Empire (@team_empire) November 10, 2018
Implication: The intention seemed to be for Team Empire Hope to be the training team, but they earned a spot in the CIS Regional Qualifiers for the Chongqing Major by winning the Open Qualifiers while Team Empire Faith is nowhere to be seen….
- One of the biggest shockers of the season has to be Team Liquid’s coach Lee “Heen” Seung Gon departing the squad after two years. Heen worked with the team through the build-up and winning run at The International 7 and stuck with them through a pretty successful first season of the DPC.
Implication: Heen’s departure was self-motivated, reflecting his dissatisfaction with his own performance. The five-player roster has been stable since January of 2017 when Maroun “GH” Merhej joined the team. Their successes since then make it unlikely (but not impossible) that the squad will have additional roster changes.
- The North American squad gutted its existing roster following a 5-6th place result at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor. After an incident at DreamLeague put a negative spotlight on Andrei “Skemberlu” Ong, the team decided to bench him rather than continue to have him represent their brand. By their own request, Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao and Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu also departed, bringing the roster down to two members.
— compLexity Gaming (@compLexity) November 14, 2018
Implication: CompLexity gave up nearly half of their points to the make roster changes. New players haven’t been announced yet for the team, but with Regional Qualifiers for North America for the Chongqing Major starting on November 28, news of the new roster should come any day now.
- CompLexity Gaming CEO Kyle “Beef” Bautista announced on November 23 that Galvin “Meracle” Kang Jian Wen, Yang “Deth” Wu Heng and Adam “343” Shah will join the team on a trial basis. Meracle is a familiar face in SEA, while Deth most recently played for Entity Gaming, but has yet to make a splash internationally. Adam previously played for compLexity earlier this year and had been coaching Fnatic prior to that.
— compLexity Gaming (@compLexity) November 24, 2018
Implication: No visa delays this time around. The team’s already ahead of the previous roster in that they’ve had time to play together in person before the qualifiers. Unfortunately, they were eliminated from the Chongqing Major Qualifiers.
- While Peach Bay itself was never a contending team, for a few weeks it was the home of notable support player Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk. The CIS player has struggled to find his footing after being traded to Natus Vincere from Virtus.pro for Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan during the middle of the first DPC season. For the second season, he made his own team, Odium, then gave Peach Bay a shot.
Implication: The team’s likely to reshuffle completely, part of the recycling of tier 2 players that happens between qualifiers. Where Lil will end up is a big question mark, but the player’s sure to draw attention to whichever team signs him.
- After winning The International 8, the team took a much-deserved break for the start of the 2018-9 season. Now, Anathan “Ana” Pham is taking a longer rest, and OG will need to find a new carry player.
Implication: Will we ever see the TI8-winning squad together again? OG’s not released news about who their new carry will be, but whoever it is should become clear soon as the team’s set to participate in Chongqing Major qualifiers November 28-30.
- Per Anders “Pajkatt” Olsson Lille joins OG as their position one carry. Pajkatt is a true veteran of Dota who only won his first Dota 2 LAN while playing with OpTic Gaming last season.
Pajkatt is officially an OG.
— OG (@OGesports) November 27, 2018
Implication: Pajkatt may bring confidence and stability to the roster, which could help support Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen’s mid-play over the long term. However, the team struggled in the Chongqing Major Qualifiers. The Bucharest Minor from December 3-5 will be their next outing as a team.
- In an announcement this week, the Pain X roster has parted ways with the organization. In doing so, they have dropped Adriano de Paula “4dr” Machado and picked up Kartik “Kitrak” Rathi.
Implication: The team’s become slightly less South American with this change. Brazilian player Rodrigo “Liposa” Santos is the only remaining SA teammate.
- Highly respected Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, a staple of the SEA scene, departed from Mineski on November 11. Twelve days later, on November 23, the team announced that Johan “Pieliedie” Aström joins the team as their position five player. Pieliedie most recently competed with Fnatic, finishing 13-16th at The International 8.
— Mineski Pro Team (@MineskiProTeam) November 23, 2018
Implication: Swapping one seasoned veteran for another may not shake the team up enough to get the results they want. Mineski’ll be put to the test early as the Southeast Asian Regional Qualifiers for the Chongqing Major begin on November 25.
Dota 2 teams are quite fluid, so these rosters could see additional changes this season. Players are always looking to find their winning combination, so expect plenty more roster news as the season progresses.