Dota 2's online leagues are forcing teams to break up, rebuild

Neslyn A. April 26, 2020

Dota 2 teams are scrambling to adjust to the mass adoption of online leagues by tournament organizers.

The ongoing global situation has created a new normal, a fact which has rocked the Dota 2 scene and seen sweeping travel restrictions put in place. People were forced to stay at home or spend indefinite lengths of time abroad, including Dota 2 professionals.

Teams stuck in boot camps endure exhaustion and anxiety from being away from their families. On the other hand, players at home experience  connectivity issues and a decrease in the quality of practice.

This has resulted in teams taking different approaches to address these troubles. Organizations had to make decisions that will benefit them in the long run, something that has seen numerous high-profile roster changes.

Dota 2 pro players cannot play competitively at home

Recently, Furia Esports dropped its Dota 2 roster after its players complained that the organization failed to provide a boot camp facility, which forced the team to play remotely and affected their performance.

“Furia has amazing people on it and I wish them the best, but it’s a bit unfair to point out Dota 2 current status as a reason for not making investments,” Furia Esports coach Filipe "Astini" Astini said.

Another team that was impacted by the situation is Gambit Esports. The team decided to skip WePlay! Pushka League Season 1 because of the low quality of practice at home. The players were playing separately and it introduced new issues that influenced the team’s tournament results.

Ninjas in Pyjamas released Saahil "UNIVERSE" Arora from its roster to ensure the team's maintained its practice regimen and tournament participation. Despite this, NiP ended up dropping its roster entirely.

Igor “iLTW” Filatov departed Team Spirit for the same reason. He replaced Zaur “Cooman” Shakhmurzaev in Virtus.pro and helped the team win the title at ESL One Los Angeles online.

OG suffered the same fate. Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng and Topias Miikka "Topson" Taavitsainen are unable to play in the European region as they reside overseas.

The two-time TI champions have had a revolving door of substitutes, with Irakli "W1sh-" Peranidze, Omar "Madara" Dabachach, Neta "33" Shapira, and Sébastien "Ceb" Debs stepping in at different time to complete its roster.

The future of the competitive scene is still uncertain. Esports organizations are at a crossroads and those who adapt quickly to this new normal will prevail.