Peter “ppd” Dager spent years at the top of the Dota 2 competitive scene, with his biggest accomplishment coming in 2015, when he and Evil Geniuses won The International. During the early stages of 2020, however, he announced that he was stepping away from the game.
He officially retired from professional Dota 2 on April 20, but now, more than eight months removed from that decision, he is back. The popular player and personality explained his return on the WePlay Esports blog.
One of the main factors in deciding to retire in the first place was the cancelation of the ESL One Los Angeles Major and other effects brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After a rocky start to the season where we, NiP (Ninjas in Pyjamas,) competed in NA with Gunnar, Skiter, Biver, Universe, and myself, we made significant changes to our roster (Daxak, Tanner, Lelis, Universe, and myself) and qualified for the LA Major out of Europe (the hardest region,)” ppd said. “However, the day before we got on our flights to attend the Major we hoped would land us a spot at TI, President Trump announced the travel ban on January 31, which in turn canceled the Major and indefinitely suspended the DPC. “
Longtime teammate Saahil “Universe” Arora and Rodrigo “Lelis” Santos decided to travel home to wait out the pandemic, which resulted in their releases. This left ppd to lead a shorthanded NiP roster into battle in a number of online tournaments, and he said it took a toll on him.
“We were lucky enough to find both Blizzy and Milan, who helped us out, but our team was weak,” ppd said. “With Lelis and Universe both leaving, we were struggling to compete on such short notice. I don’t think I handled this stress particularly well, and I stopped enjoying the games. Dota, once again, felt like work.”
In retrospect, ppd said “taking a month or two off may have been the safer play,” but he doesn’t regret the spontaneous call to retire and move back to the United States.
Reflecting on his time away, ppd said he didn’t touch Dota at all in his first month back home and spent the following months exploring various areas of esports and game design to see what other opportunities might be out there.
Ultimately, he settled on streaming because he said he is passionate about the medium and never got the chance to fully explore it because of his hectic schedule as a pro. After three months of streaming six days a week, though, a spark has reignited some of his competitive spirit and he is shifting his focus back to the professional scene, for now.
“So, for now, I’m back. I’ll be competing in NA Dota tournaments and, hopefully soon, international tournaments with Fear, DNM, Moo, and Sneyking,” ppd said. “I am very grateful to these guys for carrying me and, honestly, I don’t know if I would have come back if I didn’t find such an amazing team to compete with.”
The revived Sadboys roster is gearing up to play in the upper division of the NA DPC regional league on Jan. 18 and is currently fielding offers from interested organizations who might want to enter Dota, according to ppd.