The 2022 Dota Pro Circuit is entering its final stage with the Summer Tour regional league, and teams who had previously remained silent are all officially announcing their final rosters ahead of their first matches. This includes Team SMG, which amid continued backlash from a previous roster move, signed veteran support player Johan “pieliedie” Åström to complete its lineup.
This move was quietly made prior to the DPC Summer Tour’s roster lock on May 29, with SMG failing to acknowledge pieliedie’s signing until earlier today. It is likely that SMG decided to do so because of an ongoing controversy between the organization, its Dota roster, and former player Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross Jr.
On May 20, SMG announced it parted ways with ninjaboogie ahead of the Summer Tour in what appeared to be a typical roster change. The player later claimed, however, that he had been kicked from the team after asking for a slight extension in arriving at bootcamp for the season in order to spend time with his mother, who had been very suddenly hospitalized following a stroke.
According to ninjaboogie, a brief text exchange with his teammate MidOne was all the communication he had before being removed from the roster following a meeting between the remaining players held without him.
“MidOne just asked for my decision and the night I gave it I was kicked. I even tried to argue about the decision and said if I took that flight on [May] 14th I wouldn’t have been kicked,” Ninjaboogie said. “What hurts is they even had the team meeting without me. If I could have heard their point of views maybe I would come up with the decision of stepping down myself.”
Before the team announced the roster move, ninjaboogie’s mother passed away due to complications from her stroke and battle against late-stage cancer.
This additional information provided by ninjaboogie led to SMG being flooded with scathing responses across the organization’s social media pages, even from big names outside of the Dota community like Jack “CouRage” Dunlop.
Pieliedie, who has spent time playing across multiple regions, including North America and Europe, is now returning to Southeast Asia for the first time since 2018 when he played for Mineski and was inevitably replaced by ninjaboogie. This is also going to be his first appearance during the 2022 DPC, having last played for Team Bald Reborn during the 2021 season.