A major roster shuffle for the CIS Dota 2 scene is currently underway, with reports from the region indicating that star carry player-turned-offlaner, Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev, could be leaving Evil Geniuses (EG) to return to his old team, Virtus.pro (VP).
After a disappointing 9th-12th place finish in The International 2019 (TI9), Ramzes was one of the three players to leave VP in the ensuing roster shuffle to play in North America with EG. The move was notably surprising given that Ramzes shifted from playing as the carry to the offlaner in order to join his new team.
With the dissolution of the Ramzes-era VP, the level of competition in the CIS region has significantly dropped. The region’s top teams, VP itself and Natus Vincere (Na’Vi), failed to produce noteworthy results and struggled with roster issues throughout the 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) even before it was indefinitely suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.
That the DPC has been suspended may end up contributing to Ramzes’ return to his home region, given that he has been unable to play with EG from March, when the pandemic shut everything down, until the recently-concluded OMEGA League European Immortal Division.
Reports from CIS esports sites metaratings.ru and CYBERSLOVO cited the end of Ramzes’ contract with EG, as well as the team’s decision to not renew it, as the major driving force for his return to his home region and VP.
Should Ramzes indeed return to his old team, he will be returning to the carry position and replacing Igor “iLTW” Filatov. He will be reunited with his old teammates, Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko and Alexey “Solo” Berezin, as well as Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok, who joined the team in the post-TI9 shuffle, and Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov, who joined in February.
In addition, VP’s secondary squad, VP.Prodigy (VP.P), may also be seeing some changes. Former Gambit Esport midlaner Danil “gpk” Skutin and Na’Vi position 5 support player Illias “Illias” Ganeev are reportedly coming in to replace Rostislav “fn” Lozovoy and Albert “eine” Garaev.
There have also been rumblings that VP.P may end up becoming the organization’s main Dota 2 roster in the near future, which reportedly depends on the showing of the two squads in ESL One Germany and OGA Dota PIT Online EU/CIS Season 3.
The move seems reasonable given the fact that VP.P has been able to outshine the main squad in a number of events, including WePlay! Pushka League Season 1 and Epic Prime League Season 1, where VP’s secondary squad swept the main roster in the grand finals.
With that said, VP CEO Sergey Glamazda has since disparaged such reports by saying in a post on Twitter that the organization will “continue supporting young talents, not just in Dota.”
While whatever may end up happening with the VP organization remains to be seen, the CIS shuffle at large has already begun with Na’Vi benching three of its players, as well as its coach, ahead of a roster revamp.
As a result of his benching, 9pasha, who notably left VP in the post-TI9 shuffle to join Na’Vi, will be taking a break from competitive play until the expected return of the DPC next year.
The new rosters formed as a result of the CIS shuffle are expected to be revealed once ESL One Germany, where both VP and Na’Vi are set to compete in, starts on October 5.
The CIS will be the second region in the Dota 2 competitive scene to have undergone a major roster shuffle since the coronavirus pandemic put the DPC on hold. The first major roster shuffle, which happened in the Chinese scene earlier this month, notably saw top teams PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, EHOME, and Royal Never Give Up, among others, field new squads.