Somnus waving to the crowd at TI12.
Photo via Valve

Somnus, Chalice, and fy have all left Azure Ray weeks before major Dota 2 event

The org is already moving in a new direction without three legends.

Just because some of the best Dota 2 teams in the world are starting to compete in tournaments again doesn’t mean post-The International 2023 roster shuffles are done. Now it’s China’s turn for a surprise as Azure Ray announced the departure of Somnus, chalice, and fy. 

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Azure Ray entered Dota in May with a roster built around legendary Chinese midlaner Somnus as he made his return to competitive play after a five-month “retirement.” Fellow veterans, and former teammates chalice and fy joined him on this venture, with all three players agreeing to forgo a traditional salary for the duration of the season. 

Azure Ray players grimacing after losing at TI12.
Losing at TI is always rough, but Azure Ray had a blast. Photo via Valve

With that core and a known Chinese business investor—general manager of Volkswagen Hong Kong, Yang Yiqing—behind them, AR was formed from the ashes of YBB Gaming, alongside Lou, 天命, and coach LaNm. Immediately following their debut, the team became a top contender out of China with a seventh-place finish at the Bali Major heading into TI12 Regional Qualifiers where they decimated the other teams like Xtreme Gaming and Invictus Gaming. 

At TI12, Azure Ray climbed their way into the upper bracket and finished fourth overall, taking home $185,898 and showing that China was a stronger region than many fans expected last season. However, it looks like a massive shakeup is on the way for the region’s underdogs as all three core players have officially left the roster

Considering Somnus was basically retired up until the very last stage of the Dota Pro Circuit and the team mostly competing for enjoyment and thrills, anything could happen to this legendary trio moving forward. Fans are hoping they stick together to compete for the Aegis in 2024 but are also noting that most of the big teams China have already shuffled rosters post-TI12, leaving only a few options like Xtreme Gaming barring the return of orgs like Royal Never Give Up to the scene. XG could be a likely landing spot since it was also founded by Yiqing and movement between similarly owned orgs is not an uncommon sight in Chinese Dota

No details about why this shuffle is happening were shared, with Azure Ray’s public statement simply listing the team’s accomplishments since forming in May, mentioning how management is “sorry to see the departure,” and thanking them for their efforts. However, soon after the announcement of the trio leaving, the team also confirmed its new lineup

Xm and XinQ are moving over from XG’s lineup, lending more credence to the early XG rumors for AR’s former core since it leaves that team with four open spots. Xm also seems to be pulling a Somnus and playing without a salary. Former Team Aster offlaner Xxs is also joining the team alongside former Vici Gaming coach Liekkas, with the team opting to retain Lou and 天命. It is unclear how this roster change will impact the team’s ability to compete or if it will result in them being replaced by a different team at ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023, which begins on Dec. 11. 

If Somnus, chalice, and fy do remain together for the upcoming season, we should hear about their new sponsor in the coming days.


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Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.