North American esports giant Evil Geniuses (EG) announced on Wednesday (16 November) that it has released its entire Dota 2 roster and will be moving to compete in South America with a "superteam".
Artour "Arteezy" Babaev, Abed "Abed" Yusop, Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko, Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen, Tal "Fly" Aizik, and coach Kanishka "BuLba" Sosale have all been released into free agency, becoming among the most coveted free agents in the scene.
Abed and Nightfall are expected to return to their home regions of Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, respectively, while Arteezy, Cr1t-, Fly, and BuLba are expected to remain in North America.
In a video message accompanying the announcement, EG CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson said the release of its entire Dota 2 roster signals "a monumentous change" in the organisation.
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) November 15, 2022
"It comes with bittersweet emotions given for the past seven years our North American Dota team has been an anchor of not just Dota and Evil Geniuses in Dota, but to the broader Evil Geniuses organisation," said Jameson.
"With a heavy heart, I want to say a sincere thank you and see you later to the unparalleled and excellent Fly, Abed, Nightfall, BuLba, and, of course, Cr1t and Artour, who have been the anchors of our org and Dota team for years."
EG's CEO added that the organisation will now be moving its Dota 2 operations to South America, where they have built a "superteam". The organisation is expected to announce its new South American roster in the coming days.
"I think it's undeniable to see in our quest to continually lift trophies and develop excellent talent the opportunity and the grittiness of the South American Dota scene is unparalleled," said Jameson.
"It is something we at Evil Geniuses are very excited to enter into going forward and building an incredible superteam that reflects a lot of the competitive successes and movements in talent development that you see across our other titles."
The sun sets on North America
With the release of EG's roster and the organisation's subsequent move to South America, the North American Dota 2 scene has lost its greatest pillar.
EG have been the kings of North American Dota for almost a decade now, having brought the region its first and only Aegis of Champions back in TI5 and keeping it relevant in a Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) that has only become more and more competitive throughout the years.
The departing EG roster with its core of Arteezy, Abed, and Cr1t has been one of the most successful teams in recent memory.
On top of dominating the North American regional league, the team has also placed in the Top 4 of four Majors, including a fourth place finish at the MDL Chengdu Major as well as three second place finishes at the Leipzig Major, the ONE Esports Singapore Major, and the WePlay AniMajor.
However, EG have failed to find success at The International (TI), Dota 2's annual multimillion-dollar world championship tournament. Despite being considered as contenders for the Aegis of Champions, the team has only managed back-to-back 9th-12th place finishes at TI10 and TI11.
EG's run at TI11, which was held in Singapore back in October, was particularly disappointing. The team looked absolutely dominant in the Group Stage, finishing atop the standings of Group A with a 14-4 record.
However, EG absolutely crumbled during the Main Event and fell victim to back-to-back upsets at the hands of South American teams.
Arteezy and Cr1t spent the last six years with EG, having joined the squad in September 2016. Arteezy notably had two separate stints with EG before returning to the team in 2016, but has since then become the anchor and face of the both the organisation and North American Dota.
Fly joined EG in May 2018 after leaving OG, becoming the team's captain until November 2021, when he left for an unsuccessful stint in Southeast Asia with Talon Esports. He returned to the team in May of this year.
After becoming one of the top midlaners in Southeast Asia from 2016 to 2019, Abed left his home region to join EG in September 2019 and made himself known as one of the best midlaners in the world.
Nightfall joined EG in November 2021, moving to the offlane after previously playing as the carry player for Virtus.pro. Meanwhile, BuLba joined EG as coach in December 2017.
They are leaving some big shoes to fill, though EG are confident that their new South American roster will be up to the challenge.
Who will be on EG's new South American superteam?
With EG's CEO saying the organisation is looking to form a South American superteam, we can expect the new roster will include the biggest free agents in the region.
The biggest names in South America that are still free agents include former Thunder Awaken players Crhistian "Pakazs" Savina, Farith "Matthew" Puente, and Jose "Pandaboo" Padilla as well as former Beastcoast players Jean Pierre "Chris Luck" Salazar and Adrián "Wisper" Dobles.
These five players have already been rumoured to be the ones EG are looking to sign, and they fit the superteam description to a tee. It is also worth noting that they came from the teams that knocked the old EG roster out of TI11.
Pakazs, Matthew, and Pandaboo have been among the biggest rising stars in South America with Thunder Awaken.
They were instrumental in the team's 5th-6th place finish at TI11, the highest placement a South American team has achieved in the history of TI.
Meanwhile, Chris Luck and Wisper are two of the most experienced players in South America, being instrumental in Beastcoast's long period of domination over the region before Thunder Awaken's meteoric rise last season.
EG is expected to confirm the members of its new South American superteam in the coming days.
The release of EG's roster and departure from North America is the latest of many roster moves in the global Dota 2 scene's ongoing post-TI11 roster shuffle.
With so much of the Dota 2 competitive scene cantered around TI and its multimillion-dollar prize pools, most teams are formed with the goal of getting to the game's world championship tournament in a bid to claim the Aegis of Champions and the lion's share of the massive prize pool.
But only one team can win TI, with Tundra Esports being crowned as the champions of TI11 this year. With that, the rest of the scene are now scrambling to assemble the best rosters possible to try again next year.
For all the biggest moves in the ongoing Dota 2 post-TI roster shuffle you should know about, check here.
Former Evil Geniuses roster:
Artour "Arteezy" Babaev
Abed "Abed" Yusop
Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko
Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen
Tal "Fly" Aizik
Kanishka "BuLba" Sosale (coach)
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