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TORONTOTOKYO wants to play with Nightfall and Save-, may leave Team Spirit

Spirit's early exit at TI11 might spell the end of its championship roster.

While European teams mostly dominated The International 2022, Team Spirit was among the rosters that flamed out early as the defending TI10 champs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. And following that surprising early exit, rumblings of a potential roster shuffle have been slowly picking up steam. 

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Now it appears that some more concrete evidence to those reports has been unearthed, with escorenews reporting that star mid laner Alexander “TORONTOTOKYO” Khertek may be exiting Spirit’s Dota 2 roster. 

According to the new report, sources close to Spirit say TORONTOTOKYO has plans to form a new roster elsewhere that will center around himself, current Evil Geniuses offlaner Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko, and former captain Vitalie “Save-” Melnic. This would play into both the Spirit rumors and previous reports that VP was planning to release its entire Dota division, although the organization has since denied those claims

Related: Where did it go wrong? Mira discusses the collapse of Team Spirit at TI11

For TORONTOTOKYO, he was one of the final additions to the Yellow Submarine roster that was signed by Spirit in December 2020, having joined the team to compete in ESL One Germany at the time. He has been a key player in how explosive and diverse Spirit can play with its drafts, but that wasn’t enough to keep Spirit in the fight against the other top teams at TI11. 

Spirit’s manager even noted that he isn’t 100 percent sure that the team will stick together, adding fuel to the fire ahead of the big post-TI11 roster shuffle.

TORONTOTOKYO wasn’t the only player to have a disappointing end to their TI11 run either as one of his preferred teammates Nightfall was also forced out of the tournament early following a historic collapse from EG. Despite some excellent play in the group stage, EG went 0-6 to end their time at the event, including a double elimination at the hands of South American teams. 

EG tends to shake things up whenever the org has a disappointing season, and the offlane player is typically the first to go. So even though Nightfall was a standout during EG’s run, he might be heading back to Europe and looking to compete in the CIS again after a short break in North America. 

As for Save-, he has been listed on VP’s inactive roster since being moved there last November following VP’s exit at TI10 and subsequent reshuffle that also saw Nightfall be transferred to EG. He has not played for a team since that move and is rumored to be part of whatever mass release the organization is planning. 

Should TORONTOTOKYO leave Spirit and form this new roster, it will open up a spot for his former team to experiment with new players while also creating a new contender in Eastern Europe. If they aren’t picked up by an existing org, though, they might have to grind their way up through the DPC again.

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Image of Cale Michael
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.