Many in the Dota 2 community have been saying for so many years now that the North American Dota 2 scene is dead.
The apparent nail in the coffin came last week, when Evil Geniuses (EG) dropped its entire roster and announced a move to South America.
EG have been the face of North American Dota 2 for almost a decade now. Not only did the organisation bring the region its first and only Aegis of Champions back in The International 2015 (TI5), they have also been keeping it relevant in an ever-competitive Dota Pro Circuit (DPC).
I have never been a fan of EG, but how the organisation treated the release of their roster and their exit from North America is such a damn shame.
The likes of Artour "Arteezy" Babaev, Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen, and Tal "Fly" Aizik deserve a much better send-off than just a ho-hum "thank you" tweet.
These guys have been the faces of EG for years now and have kept the organisation relevant in its home region and in one of its pillar titles, regardless how disappointing their results have been before they were released.
Heck, EG only released a highlight video for the team a day after the announcement and after backlash from the community.
It didn't even last for two minutes and the players barely got 30 seconds of spotlight between them. Is that really what this EG roster, the organisation's last great North American Dota team deserves?
Of course not, and such a low-effort tribute belies a bigger problem with the EG organisation that is its own can of worms.
It's a microcosm of how the North American Dota scene really.
Say what you will about the region, but it has still produced some great players.
It's just that, for the longest time, they have lacked the proper organisational support they needed to go far.
I'm aware that North American Dota is far from profitable for orgs, but I'd still like to believe that there is still passion in esports and that it's not purely business yet (copium).
And yes, EG and many other North American squads have choked on the biggest stages so many times now.
But that's not really unique to the region, no? Take my word for it, as a fan of Southeast Asian Dota I know how it feels when your teams fail to live up to their promise.
And that's how the cycle goes. A team shows potential, gets signed to a "prove your worth" deal, encounters challenges and loses like so many other teams do, and gets unceremoniously dropped.
EG have been a monolith over North America for so long, many thought it won't happen to them. But then it did.
Don't get me wrong, while I mourn North America's continued downward spiral, I still celebrate South America's meteoric rise.
After being mocked for years that they don't deserve the Major slots and regional support, South America has proven they deserve it and more.
I'm happy that some of South America's biggest stars are getting signed by EG, but I'm also sad for the stars that the organisation left behind in North America.
What next for North America?
So with EG out of the picture, North American Dota is just dead, right?
There's still a bit of hopium left for fans of the region, but it's not much.
Fly confirmed that most of the former EG roster will be staying together, so that should still be a good team. The only question is if there will be a good enough organisation that can support them.
There's also TSM.
They looked like they were on their way to becoming the next great North American team after their second place finish at the ESL One Stockholm Major, but their abysmal performance at TI11 means the squad is unlikely to remain without changes.
The FTX fiasco may also affect TSM's commitment to Dota, but they're basically North America's last big team now (unless the former EG squad get a new org).
North American Dota is still alive, but just barely. With EG leaving for greener pastures, it won't take much to fully kill the scene at this point.
Unless some other big org or Valve themselves step in to inject some life into the region, North American Dota won't last much longer.
I just hope that once North American Dota does kick the bucket, it gets the send-off it deserves.
The scene's history and community deserves some dignity, and not the pathetic excuse of a tribute EG posted on their way out.
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