It’s just the first week of the new year, but the Dota Pro Circuit is halfway through. With just three Major and three Minor qualifier rounds left before TI9, the first half of 2019 should be the period when the majority of teams will undergo their biggest roster changes.
Going into the new year there are a plethora of top-tier players not yet signed by an organization or who have just been removed from the teams they started the season with. Each of the major six regions has a name or two lurking in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to present itself.
Here are the hot picks in Europe.
Pajkatt – “…sometimes the puzzle just doesn’t come together“
The most notable player free of contract right now in Europe must be Per Anders Olsson “Pajkatt” Lille. After a top 8 finish at TI8 with OpTic Gaming, Pajkatt somehow ended up without signing with any organization in the big shuffle post The International. However, the end of 2018 came with good news as OG welcomed him among their ranks in preparation for the Chongqing Major. The team went into a two weeks bootcamp, but unfortunately, the time was not enough for the team to gel perfectly. They lost the Major qualifiers and a few days later, when the Bucharest Minor qualifiers were already running, Pajkatt got ill. OG played half of the qualifiers with a stand-in and managed to secure themselves a spot in the tournament. Just a week before the Minor, OG opened up in a Facebook post and admitted that the chemistry was the first and biggest issue while playing with Pajkatt and therefore they decided to not let him go.
“We realized there was not enough space in OG for Pajkatt to express his full potential. His profile, at the end of the way, no matter how excellent it is, did not match. Team chemistry is a very complex matter, and regardless of how competent an individual is, sometimes the puzzle just doesn’t come together,“ said OG just three days ago when they released Pajkatt.
MiLAN- “…can you not be sick!?”
Milan “MiLAN” Kozomara has been trying to breach the top tier ranks for a few years now. Along the way, he was on teams that delivered important upsets and big surprises. The TI7 European qualifiers story marks his true break out and since then, he’s been present at big LAN tournaments more often. In the post TI8 shuffle, he was co-opted at the newly formed Marchoutofarmy where he impressed every Dota 2 fan. Marchoutofthearmy was formed at the beginning of September last year and by the end of the same month, MiLAN and his team were already a threat in the NA region and were signed by J.Storm. Little he knew that the Kuala Lumpur Major qualifiers euphoria would soon be replaced with negativity and a general feeling of tension between the team members which eventually, lead to him getting kicked from the team. His removal came as a shock not only for the fans, but also for MiLAN himself, as he explained in a TwitLonger mid-December. The organization never issued a formal explanation for the kick, so all we have is MiLAN’s version. He says that at some point, when he couldn’t focus as much as he wanted to due to a nasty winter flu, one of his team members bluntly asked him “can you not be sick?” Things calmed down once J. Storm punched another Major qualifier ticket. MiLAN even got his P1 Athlete visa and was ready to start the practice for the Chongqing Major when he was suddenly informed that the team lacks leadership and therefore he will be replaced with Clinton “Fear” Loomis.
“March […] told me how the reason is that team lacks leadership and it is not about my skill or whatever and that it was either me or Forev and he basically said “you know I won’t choose you over Forev,” MiLAN summarized the meeting he had with the team captain a day before the kick was officially announced.
eL lisasH – “I’ll comeback”
Rafał “eL lisasH” Wójcik is the man behind the long-lived Polish squad ALTERNATE aTTaX/ Team Kinguin. It was the only five-Polish team we ever had competing at a high level and it took eL lisasH about four years of continuous dedication to get to a formula that would actually start showing at big tournaments. Unfortunately, when it mattered the most, in the TI8 European qualifiers, the team failed and this is where the Polish dream has ended. The team disbanded, Nisha got signed by Team Secret while the rest looked to re-form another national team. Not eL lisasH, though.
“I’ve decided that I will not continue my career playing only in 5-man polish team. I’m waiting for offers from around the world (not only EU or CIS). If the offers aren’t satisfying I will form my own roster which will play in CIS or EU. I don’t know how long it will take. I may even take a break for a season and play solo queue to improve my skill,” he said back in August 2018. He hasn’t entered any of the new season qualifiers, and it looks like he is indeed taking his time. A month later he added on his Facebook page that although he was receiving a lot of offers from Southeast Asia, he won’t accept any of them because he doesn’t feel ready and confident with his English to move to a new team house so far from home. “I think I kinda fit in CIS now and I want to build my position here. I don’t want to move because I’ve been always playing with Polish players and I want to train my communication in English for this year, so when I try something serious (relocating to another region such as SEA is quite a serious thing) I want to be ready, now I’m not,” said eL lisasH at the beginning of September 2018.
Nothing materialized since then, and as we enter mid-stage of the 2018-2019 DPC season we are looking forward to seeing him, Pajkatt and MiLAN announcing their new homes.