Valve implemented new rules to try and prevent Dota 2 teams from kicking players after they’ve qualified for Dota Pro Circuit events, but that’s not stopping teams heading into the WePlay! Bukovel Minor.
Oliver “Skiter” Lepko has been kicked from Ninjas in Pyjamas just three weeks out from the start of the event. He has been replaced by Vikin.gg mid laner Jason “TANNER” Weedon. With this addition, NiP mid laner Nico “Gunnar” Lopez has been moved from the mid lane into a carry role. This follows a similar move by Geek Fam, who kicked Eric “Ryoya” Dong in favor of Karl “Karl” Jayme.
The news was revealed on the organization’s official website.
“Everyone on NiP appreciates the time and effort that Oliver has put into our team,” said NiP captain Peter “ppd” Dager. “We all wish we would have achieved better results but unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. Thank you, Oliver, for your earnest effort and best of luck with your future teams.”
NiP underwent a significant overhaul following a last-place exit at The International 2019, building a completely new roster around ppd. The team hasn’t performed especially well to this point in tournaments, suffering early exits from most events. NiP’s qualification for the WePlay! Bukovel Minor came as a bit of a surprise as they defeated J.Storm, who finished sixth at the MDL Chengdu Major, in order to earn a spot in the event.
Skiter opened up on the news in a post on Twitter, flatly saying that he was kicked from the team.
“Won’t be playing [at the] Bukovel Minor but I am motivated more than ever, so as of now I am looking for a new team. Thanks for the time we got to spent together and good luck to the boys at NiP,” Skiter said.
The team hopes that adding TANNER and shifting Gunnar will bring the team to greater heights.
TANNER, also known as Meepor, is a fresh face at the top of the Dota 2 scene. Per DotaBuff, the British player has sporadically played in various qualifiers and leagues since 2015 but he started appearing with more notable teams in August when he started playing with Wind and Rain.
He joined Vikin.gg in November and unsuccessfully competed in the qualifiers for a number of different events.
What led him to the team is uncertain, as is why NiP dropped a far more proven player in favor of someone that is so new in their career. TANNER will have the chance to prove himself at the WePlay! Bukovel Minor, where he will compete against the likes of Nigma, Royal Never Give Up, and Gambit Esports.