Shortly after helping Fnatic to a second place finish at the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League, Nuengnara “23savage” Teerahamanon was suddenly dropped by his team and replaced by Marc Polo “Raven” Fausto.
The move comes after a promising first nine months in 23savage’s first real professional team, as he helped Fnatic win five-straight online tournaments to dominate SEA. In that span of time, 23savage grew from a little-known pubstar to one of the most promising players to come out of SEA.
But now that 23savage is without a team, what’s the next step for him as he continues in his still-budding career?
When news first broke out that Raven left Geek Fam to join Fnatic, many expected that the latter would be getting 23savage in return. However, that has so far proven to not be the case.
Even so, one has to wonder if that could be the best course of action left for Geek Fam and 23savage, as both parties still stand to benefit if the Raven deal ends up being a straight-up trade. The fit isn’t that bad too, given that Geek Fam liked to run four-protect-one strategies for Raven and that Fnatic often had to run that very same setup to enable 23savage.
But with that said, Geek Fam seems set on moving on from the Raven era with another player. The team could slide either Karl “Karl” Jayme or Carlo “Kuku” Palad to the carry role and get former Team Adroit offlaner Jun “Bok” Kanehara to round out their roster. Aside from Raven’s top-notch performances, Geek Fam’s recent successes can also be attributed to their incredible chemistry, and with the former now gone, the team would do well to bring in a Filipino player that Karl and Kuku are more familiar with.
If Geek Fam is out of the question, then there are two more established SEA teams with gaps in their roster that could potentially bring in 23savage: Reality Rift and T1.
After bottoming out of the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League, Reality Rift released their carry player, Andrew “Drew” Halim, to free agency. While the team recently announced that they will be competing in the OMEGA League’s SEA Division with Lai “Ahjit” Jay Son as a stand-in, 23savage could be the player that helps Reality Rift finally make a breakthrough.
The fit isn’t that bad too, as Hiew “AlaCrity” Teck Yoong and Ravdan “Hustla” Narmandakh are both dynamic players in their positions that could create the space 23savage needs to shine.
Meanwhile, T1 released captain and offlaner Lee “Forev” Sang-don. While 23savage can’t just slide into the lineup due to 23savage and Forev’s positional differences, a bit of roster tinkering can maybe make it work.
T1 can move midlaner Muhammad “inYourdreaM” Rizky to the offlane position to make way for 23savage and form a sort-of “Big Three.” The team can then mimic the dynamic between Team Nigma’s Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi and Aliwi “w33” Omar and have 23savage and Galvin “Meracle” Kang Jian Wen shift between positions 1 and 2 depending on the draft. Making such a lineup work will be incredibly difficult, especially for inYourdreaM, who will have to sacrifice the most.
If there are no established teams left in SEA to accommodate, perhaps 23savage can look to China for his next chance to shine. He won’t be the first player to do so too, as the likes of Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang, and Yap “xNova” Jian Wei have shown that SEA players can find success there.
The Chinese Dota scene is currently on hiatus, as the region’s top teams have recently taken a break from competition. Any roster moves that could possibly involve 23savage will have to wait until September.
With that said, perhaps it’s better for 23savage to wait. After all, there’s no real rush for a young player like him when The International 2020 (TI10) won’t be happening until next year.
Even if he’s already one of the most promising players to come out of SEA, and one of only two players in the exclusive 11,000 MMR club, there’s still a lot of room for improvement in 23savage’s game. He could make good use of his time to get better and wait for a better opportunity once the Dota Pro Circuit comes back. Maybe by then he’ll get his chance to prove to Fnatic that they made a mistake in letting him go in the first place.