Is zai retired after TI 2023? New statement shocks fans
Nov 1, 2023
Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg is one of Dota 2’s most recognized names, but did the offlane and support star suddenly announce that he’s retired?
The period after The International is always a time of change. Whether it’s rosters splintering apart to rebuild for the next season or legendary players bidding goodbye, it’s a turbulent time for everyone.
However, one casualty of the offseason happens to be one of the game’s most decorated names. According to a personal social media post, Team Liquid offlaner zai may have retired in the wake of the team’s 5th-place finish.
The statement was released on zai’s Instagram account on November 1, 2023, just days after the The International 2023. He states that he will be taking an indefinite break from competitive Dota 2. zai did not explicitly state that he is retired, but the use of the term “indefinite” likely means that he does not have plans to return.
Team Liquid was a predicted runner-up at The International after meeting Gaimin Gladiators in the finals of each DPC Major this season. However, despite dominating groups, Liquid fell to Spirit in the upper bracket semifinals and lost to Gaimin Gladiators in the next round. 5th place losing to both grand finalists is a very respectable result, but the fact it was seen as disappointing is a testament to Liquid’s expectations.
zai’s retirement would end an incredible legacy
If his retirement is official, zai will end his career as a sleeper pick for one of the greatest Dota 2 players of all time.
While he was generally overshadowed in his career by star captains like Johan “N0tail” Sundstein and Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, zai holds the distinction of being the highest-earning Dota 2 player not to win The International at $4,291,280 in career winnings. He played for several of the game’s most influential banners, including Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, Team Liquid, and sadboys. His decade of competitive play includes three DPC Major championships and four podium finishes at The International.
If he truly is retired from competitive Dota 2, zai’s talents will likely not go to waste. It’s very possible for him to return as an analyst or content creator, and his stream will likely resume sometime after a break.
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