Tundra Dota 2 team lifting the Aegis trophy at TI11.
Photo via [Valve](https://twitter.com/dota2ti/status/1586709003224350720)

Tundra moves key player to inactive Dota 2 roster ahead of TI12 title defense

This is a rare sight caused by health concerns.

Tundra Esports is officially making a change to its Dota 2 lineup, moving Saksa to the inactive roster as training for The International 12 ramps up, the organization announced today. He will be taking an extended break from competing due to undisclosed health reasons. 

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This decision doesn’t come as a huge surprise since Tundra had to play with stand-in players to replace Saksa multiple times this season as he continues to battle health issues dating back to June. It is, however, a rare occurrence to see the reigning TI champions make a roster swap in any form ahead of a title defense run. 

Saksa joined Tundra last February as part of a then-controversial decision to kick team captain and founder Fata from the roster. They went on to have a middling regular season before absolutely crushing the competition at TI11, dropping just a single game in the playoffs and lifting the Aegis of Champions together. 

Tundra had better overall results at Dota Pro Circuit Majors this season, including a third-place finish at the Bali Major in July. The team called on coach Aui_2000 to replace Saksa in the lineup during the group stage of that run due to undisclosed medical issues—showing that the team could continue standing without him. 

This decision does not necessarily mean Saksa is going to remain off the active roster forever, but saying he is taking an “extended break” likely means there is no shot he will appear at TI12. Tundra will have to field a replacement player for upcoming events like DreamLeague season 21 as they begin to prepare for The International 2023. 

Speculation around this decision has been brewing since early August when Nine was spotted playing a lot more in position four compared to his usual lane role. If that was a precursor to Tundra going with another position swap for a key player, then Topson might be joining up with the squad for TI12 after skipping the qualifiers this year.


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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.