Dota 2 all-star Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan will be attending the Berlin Major, but his jersey will be a shock to most fans.
SumaiL has been confirmed as a stand-in for Chinese squad Team Aster for the Berlin Major. The news comes after weeks of rumors surrounding a surprise appearance on a foreign team. Among other controversies, SumaiL is not known to speak any Chinese. He also made a career out of beating teams from the region, which further adds to the strangeness.
After a few days of rumors, the news was confirmed by none other than Team Aster cofounder Xiao Fei during a personal stream. After being translated and spread through English-speaking communities, the news shocked the scene. It’s very uncommon for teams to break language barriers for a stand-in, but The King may be worth it in the company’s eyes.
This is one of the strangest stand-in situations in the history of Dota 2 esports. SumaiL is an extremely iconic American player best known for his time on Evil Geniuses, a team that infamously dominated most Chinese opponents in its prime.
However, with a $500,000 prize pool on the line, SumaiL must do his best to give a region a strong showing at the Berlin Major.
SumaiL to solve Aster troubles at Berlin Major
Team Aster has experienced issues with its roster since late 2022, and SumaiL at the Berlin Major will be the squad’s third mid player since they began.
In late 2022, regional icon Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang made the surprising decision to retire entirely from Dota 2. Aster struggled to find a replacement, ultimately promoting Zhai “Xwy” Jingkai from its development team Aster.Aries. However, despite placing top four in both tours and a respectable 8th place in Lima, he’s being removed from the squad right after qualifying for the Berlin Major.
Fans speculate that internal disagreements may have sparked the change, but the team’s playstyle also plays a role. Du “Monet” Peng and Lin “Xxs” Jing are rockstars in the carry and offlane roles, which often means a sacrificial mid to compensate. Xwy’s personal preference for scaling mids like Ember Spirit and Pangolier may not fit with the team’s gameplan.
Still, removing him right before the major definitely signals another type of conflict within the team.