Dota 2 esports is a chaotic space, but it doesn’t get much more chaotic than Ilya “Illidan” Pivcaev’s one-day stint with Team Empire.
Illidan is a veteran in the Dota 2 pro scene. The Russian was the backbone of Virtus.pro for three years and helped establish the organization as elite with a top-six finish at The International 2015. Though he became a journeyman from there, he had stints on a number of top CIS organizations including three runs with Team Spirit and a coaching gig with Quincy Crew.
After spending the last two years largely on the shelf, Illidan returned to action as a substitute for Team Empire. This led to him being added to the team in an official capacity. But that didn’t last long as he seemingly announced his retirement just a day later.
“Total apathy from these games. I myself don’t seem to understand anything and I play badly in a game that I don’t really want to play. I feel that I’m only making Empire worse,” Illidan said on his Telegram account.
That post came 43 hours after he announced joining the team. His run lasted just one match, with Empire losing 0-2 to HellRaisers.
While Illidan’s brief run with the team is a hilarious tale, it doesn’t impact the team all that much. Empire was already down 1-2 in the Eastern European DPC League’s lower division and faced a rocky road towards promotion.
The DPC season was likely meant to effectively serve as a boot camp for The International 2022’s qualifiers. The team will have time to find a new carry player and can still look to avoid being relegated to open qualifiers at the start of next season.
As for Illidan, it’s uncertain what the future holds. Never say never in esports, but it’s hard to imagine another comeback after this.