The team announced the sudden removal of carry player Souliya “JaCkky” Khoomphetsavong from its active roster. Less than 24 hours later, T1 confirmed the signing of new carry player Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon on its Twitter account.
As such, T1’s roster for the ONE Esports Singapore Major will be:
The signing of 23savage is a big one for T1. 23savage enjoyed a breakout year in 2020 with Fnatic, but abruptly left the team for Vici Gaming at the end of summer.
23savage never ended up playing for Vici Gaming as visa issues kept him from traveling to China, which was followed by stand-in Yang “Erica” Shaohan performing very well. He was released from the team in January and has competed as a stand-in for BOOM Esports and HOYO in the PGL Southeast Asia Dota Pro Circuit league.
— T1 (@T1) March 4, 2021
As a result of the roster change, T1 will incur a penalty on any Dota Pro Circuit qualifying points earned during the ONE Esports Singapore Major, as well as those earned from placing third in the winter season. T1 likely believes 23savage was enough of an upgrade to warrant this pair of penalties.
The signing of 23savage by T1 is a familiar phenomenon to Dota 2 fans. On many occasions in the past, teams have qualified for a major or large event and moved to cut a member of the roster that helped them make it there.
The most famous examples of this are Khoo “Ohaiyo” Chong Xin getting kicked from Fnatic in 2018 and Nico “Gunnar” Lopez getting kicked from Team Team in 2019, both of which saw Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao play a central role in the controversies. While EternaLEnVy took the heat in both cases, there are a slew of other similar examples of this from other teams in years past.
While it’s hard to blame T1 for making this move given how standard these sorts of cutthroat decisions are across sports, this still represents a loophole in the system. T1 is bringing a different roster into the ONE Esports Singapore Major than the one used in the Dota Pro Circuit leagues, and that undermines the integrity and legitimacy of the leagues as a whole.