Two-time The International (TI) champion and OG position 4 support player Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka is retiring from pro Dota 2.
The support player said that he has no longer has the “willingness nor passion to play Dota 2 anymore”.
JerAx has played competitively as far back as 2013, making his TI debut in 2015 with South Korean organization MVP Hot6ix before leaving for Team Liquid. He made his second-straight TI appearance with Liquid in 2016, where they finished in the Top 8, before he left for OG in that year’s post-TI player shuffle.
As a member of OG, JerAx won two pre-Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Majors in Boston and Kiev. He stuck with the team following the gutting of their roster in 2018 that set them on the path to greatness, as they became the first-ever back-to-back TI champions in 2018 and 2019.
“I have been very fortunate to have my spot as a professional player, and I can’t quite understand how I ended up at this point. Small things could have been different, and I would have never made it,” said JerAx in a statement.
JerAx is widely considered to be one of the best position 4 support players in the history of Dota. He was among the players who pioneered the prevalent playstyle of a dynamic playmaker for his role, notably becoming famous for his play on heroes such as Earthshaker and Earth Spirit.
JerAx cited the pressures of competing at the highest level as a major factor in his retirement, noting that the yearly grind for pro players has made him “feel apathetic, exhausted, and almost numb.
JerAx also elaborated on his love for the game, comparing Dota 2 to an “endless puzzle that offers you solutions, yet none of them completely crack it”.
While JerAx noted that those feelings were what made him deeply connected to the game, he also lamented that those have faded away.
JerAx’s retirement comes after OG’s announcement that their star carry player, Anathan “ana” Pham, will be taking an extended break and will return to competitive play in the 2020-2021 DPC season.
The team is expected to announce ana and JerAx’s official replacements either on the premiere of the TI9 True Sight documentary on January 28 or on the team’s “OG Night” talk show on January 29.
OG also announced that they will be holding an exclusive tribute night for JerAx in the near future.