By Radu Muresan
September 21, 2019
The post TI9 shuffle period is in full swing, and quite a few superstar Dota 2 free agents are looking for their next team. In this article, I’ll take a look at who these players are, where they might go next, and analyze their past achievements.
MATUMBAMAN is best known for his years at Team Liquid and the trophies he won while he was there. The list includes five Major Grand Finals, one TI title, and numerous other trophies.
MATUMBAMAN is mainly a carry player, although in recent years we’ve often seen him play in the middle lane. His performances on heroes like Broodmother, Lone Druid or Death Prophet have made him a good position two-player in addition to his prowess as a carry.
One crucial thing about Matu’s departure from Liquid is that he wasn’t kicked from the team as a result of his poor performances. In fact, at the time of his departure Liquid had just played in a Major Grand Final. However, in spite of this excellent result, Liquid had been in a state of complacency for a long time. They were comfortably numb and ok with not winning. And that made KuroKy take a radical decision, even though there was no one, in particular, to blame for how things were going.
Matu’s next step was Chaos Esports Club, a team he lead to The International 2019. Initially, nobody believed that they could win the European Qualifiers. But they did it anyway and took part in the most prestigious event of the year with a newly formed roster. Of course, as it was inevitable, they failed miserably when confronted with the world’s best teams, but at least they tried.
As one of the top Dota 2 free agents, Matu is likely already shopping for a suitable team for himself. One obvious option is Team Liquid, simply because the organization has lost all of its players after Kuro’s decision to depart from the club. In putting together a new roster, I wouldn’t be surprised if Liquid offered MATUMBAMAN to play the carry role.
Other teams that might be interested in him are NiP and Virtus.pro. The first of these two showed severe signs of weakness at the recent TI9 while the second one is missing two players. Both the offlaner and the carry have left and need to be replaced as soon as possible.
The second big name that’s on everyone’s lips these days is SumaiL. However, the difference between him and someone like Matu is the reputation. The Finish player is indeed an accomplished carry. But SumaiL is considered to be one of the best midlaners in the world. Top three in anyone’s book for sure. His mechanical skill is unbelievable. He can win a game on his own if the other team doesn’t try to prevent him from decisively winning his lane.
SumaiL spent more than four years with Evil Geniuses. He joined them at the age of 15 and rapidly proved to be a Dota 2 prodigy. The same season he entered, he led the team to two big titles — one at Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015 and one at The International 2015. Over the next four seasons, he placed 3rd at TI two times and 3rd at Dota 2 Majors at least five times.
It was a wild ride for almost 5 years on @EvilGeniuses. The team I started my career and was planning to end it on. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Goodluck to EG, and yeah, LOVE YOU ALL for mad support. I'm not taking a break/retiring that goes without, doesn't it?— Sumail (@SumaaaaiL) September 16, 2019
Overall, SumaiL’s past achievements (and ego!) are indisputable. He’s grown a lot as a player and as a human being over the last five years, and now he’s finally ready to embark on a new journey as one of the most desirable Dota 2 free agents. Given the time he spent with EG, I think he’s one of the most stable players in all of Dota when it comes to commitment and his desire to win.
All of these qualities make SumaiL one of the most sought after players at the moment, and we’ve already seen OG flirting with him on Twitter. I think ana will most likely leave OG if he hasn’t already, which is probably why Seb and his teammates are trying to court the young midlaner. However, the question remains: if he were to join OG, what role would he play? Afterall, Topson is not a carry player, and SumaiL is at best an offlaner in addition to being an exceptional midlaner. But why waste his talent like that? Perhaps if Topson can play mid, that would allow OG to sign SumaiL, if the whole story gets confirmed of course.
Other destinations for SumaiL include the soon to be announced Team Liquid roster, Virtus.pro (although this is not very likely, due to the complete incompatibility that exists between him and the Russian culture/players). Or, Team Secret (maybe Puppey has had enough of Midone’s way of approaching the game) or perhaps even KuroKy’s new team. Keep in mind that w33 was brought in at a time of considerable uncertainty when Kuro’s options were very few. Now that SumaiL is on the market, the ambitious captain who’s played three TI Grand Finals may ask w33 to leave and bring in an even stronger midlaner.
The third big name on the list is s4. The legendary midlaner turned offlaner a few years ago. Like the other two players on this list, s4 is a TI winner and very experienced Dota 2 player. Not only that, but he’s also an excellent captain. His versatility makes him very desirable and should open a lot of doors for him. Although it’s not yet clear where he may want to go next.
One option is his first true love, Alliance, which has now become a serious competitor again. They’re arguably a top 10 team at the moment, and with s4’s help, they may quickly reach the next level and start challenging the giants of this esport. I’m sure what the current Alliance roster would have to say about this, given that one of the players will have to step down (either the offlaner or the midlaner). But Loda would probably open a bottle of champaign and celebrate the return of his former teammate, with whom he won The International 2013.
As the team’s coach and mentor, Loda wants to see them succeed the way he once did. And with s4 out of EG, he might tempt him to try one last time to make Alliance the famous club they were some six years ago.
Other potential destinations for s4 include Team Secret (if they’re unhappy with zai, but I doubt it), Team Liquid or even an Asian team. After all, both Vici Gaming and PSG.LGD have lost their captains, and s4 is known to love Asian culture.
UNiVeRsE is another big name that everyone seems to have forgotten about. The offlaner is a TI champion and probably still one of the best in the world at his role. The only question is: who might need an offlaner at this time? The only team that comes to mind is Virtus.pro, and I find it hard to imagine UNiVeRsE adapting to the Russian culture, climate and everything else.
One other potential destination for UNiVeRsE is Team Liquid, but they haven’t announced anything yet. No doubt, the NA organization will not say goodbye to Dota 2, now that they’re TI champions and have created a massive fan base for themselves. So it’s only a matter of time until we start to find what their plans are for the next season.
While not at the other’s level, KheZu is also on the list of players who are searching for a new team. His most recent team was Chaos Esports Club, with whom he qualified for The International 2019.
KheZu’s past includes one season at Team Secret, so he is not entirely foreign to big teams and big tournaments. The only problem with him is that he’s competent only in the offlaner role. And just by chance, everyone else on this list except MATUMBAMAN can play that role very well. So it’s going to be quite challenging for him to find an excellent team, but you never know what the future holds. The next few weeks will be decisive for him, as well as the other four players on the list. The new Dota Pro Circuit season is knocking at the door. The first qualifier is less than three weeks away.
Thanks for joining us for a look at the top Dota 2 free agents who will likely find a new home soon. For more news and updates on the Dota Pro Circuit and more, stay tuned.
Tags: Dota 2