ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 invites are out, but TI champs aren’t ready to play Dota 2 yet

"Is it spring already?"
Team Spirit players shake hands with Virtus Pro players at TI 2023.
Photo via Valve

Dota 2’s next major event is in December, and ESL announced the four invitees for its Kuala Lumpur tournament today. Despite securing a spot at the event, the International 2023 champions, Team Spirit, could miss the competition due to roster problems.

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Team Spirit’s manager, Dmitry “Korb3n” Belov, disclosed that one of the players on their roster plans to take a break until January. While Spirit is open to attending ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023, their fate hinges on the tournament’s rulebook. 

As of now, it remains unclear how many Team Spirit members will take a break, so the organization cannot determine the exact number of substitutes needed for Kuala Lumpur. Though the tournament’s public rulebook is unavailable, most Dota 2 tournaments typically allow only one stand-in, with a maximum of two if teams provide valid reasons.

Team Spirit taking a selfie after winning TI12.
Another tournament already? Photo via Valve

In a now-deleted stream on Twitch, Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov expressed his desire to take a break while also clarifying that he wasn’t considering a retirement. Based on Dot Esports’ knowledge of the broadcast, Miposhka said he wasn’t planning to “go anywhere,” but he just needed a break before the new season.

Alongside Team Spirit, Gaimin Gladiators, LGD, and Azure Ray also received invitations to the event.

Since the Dota Pro Circuit is gone, professional teams are set to start the new competitive season earlier than usual and with a major event right off the gate. While Team Spirit could opt to skip this tournament, they prefer not to do so, considering ESL tournaments serve as a crucial pathway to the Riyadh MastersDota 2 newest-biggest prize pool event since the TI 2023 prize pool was significantly reduced.

Kuala Lumpur is also another long flight from Eastern Europe, making it an extra tiring process for Team Spirit players who just lifted the Aegis of Champions in Seattle last month. However, not a single invited team has declared their rosters for ESL’s Kuala Lumpur event, and they may want to wait after the regional qualifiers to choose their stand-ins.

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Author

Gökhan Çakır
Strategical Content Writer and Fortnite Lead for Dot Esports. Gökhan Çakır graduated as an industrial engineer in 2020 and has since applied his analytical and strategic thinking to many endeavors. As a natural-born gamer, he honed his skills to a professional level in Dota 2. Upon giving up on the Aegis of Champions in 2019, Gökhan started his writing career, covering all things gaming while his heart remains a lifetime defender of the Ancients.