Dota 2 veteran Saahil “Universe” Arora has announced his retirement from competitive Dota 2.
The former The International champion was vague on his future plans, but stated he was leaving the game behind him regardless.
“I have decided to retire as a player from competitive Dota 2…Now, the time has come to pursue other interests and figure out what comes next. Thank you to my fans and past teammates for the amazing memories I will never forget,” Universe said on Twitter.
It’s a lot less stressful, and you’ll have a much more balanced perspective on life. You’ll miss competing so much, the thought of giving it one more go will haunt you always, but it’ll dissipate with time. Honored to have played alongside you, and even more to be your friend.
— Jacob Toft-Andersen (@TheMaelk) April 23, 2020
Universe has been a staple of the professional Dota 2 scene, with a career dating all the way back into the original Defense of the Ancients mod. He attended every Valve-sponsored Dota 2 tournament as a computer, with that run not being broken until The International 2019.
His best competitive years were spent with Evil Geniuses, an organization he had three separate stints with from 2012 to 2017. During that time, Universe helped Evil Geniuses post some of the best performances in the organization’s history including first-place finishes at The International 2015 and the 2015 Dota 2 Asia Championships. He split from the organization in late 2017 after a disappointing performance at The International 2017 and a poor start to the ensuing season.
Universe was most recently a competitor for Ninjas in Pyjamas, a team where he reunited with former Evil Geniuses teammate Peter “ppd” Dager. The organization achieved mixed results but was on an upswing that saw the team qualify for the ESL One Los Angeles Major.
NiP abruptly cut Universe, citing travel restrictions as the cause. The core of NiP’s roster was competing in Europe, but Universe was unable to effectively practice or play with them from overseas. This resulted in his release from the team, with his last appearance being a last-place performance at WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon.
Universe steps away from professional Dota 2 just days after former teammate and captain ppd made a similar move. It is unclear if their decisions to walk away came as a coincidence, or if they their decisions were linked and potentially portend a future joint venture.
Regardless, retirements in esports are never guaranteed to last and there is always a possibility that Universe may return to the game as a player. If not, careers in streaming, casting, or coaching are always a possibility.