Just over one year ago, Dignitas signed their Smite team, which would go on to be an immovable rock at the top of the young game’s professional scene. They placed second at the Smite Launch Tournament, the best showing from an American squad, followed by a win at the RTX Smite tournament earlier this month.
Players have come and gone for other top squads like Cognitive Gaming. But the Dignitas lineup is a rock that’s stood the test of time… until now.
Today the team revealed their first ever roster change since donning the Dignitas yellow and black. Solo laner Anatoliy “AnatoLiy” Alekseyenok will be moving to a coaching role to make way for the mechanically gifted Alex “Shing” Rosa, the captain and jungler of SNIPE Gaming.
Dignitas captain Drew “Lassiz” Boyd let the news slip during one of his trademark topless streaming sessions yesterday morning. At least after he made it clear he wasn’t “trolling”—someone suggested he should have put his shirt on before broaching such a serious topic.
“Shing actually is joining our team,” said Boyd. “Anatoliy is going to be moving to sub. The team and him do understand that Anatoliy has been underperforming.”
Boyd made clear that Alekseyenok is not getting kicked off the team. He’s very much still part of the Dignitas “family.” The long-time solo laner will play the role of coach, something Boyd feels he’s very suited for. “Toliy’s always been a huge team player on and off the field,” he explains.
Alekseyenok himself took the change in stride. “On one hand it sucks for me as a competitive player to be replaced,” he said on Reddit. “However, I have no one to blame but myself as I have been under performing.”
“In my eyes, this is a win-win situation for our team. We get a very talented mechanical player in the solo lane and I will remain on the team as a dedicated coach/manager/sub for the team. This is nothing new to me and I welcome the changes as they are for the best and looking to the future this is what is needed.”
The choice in replacement, Rosa, may seem odd at first glance. He’s currently playing jungle for SNIPE Gaming and his little competitive solo lane experience, though he’s become a ranked monster there recently. But Boyd and Alekseyenok both believe it’s the right move.
“Mechanically he’s one of the best players in Smite, and he’s very, very driven,” said Boyd, who actually teamed with Rosa before the Dignitas days.
“Shing is definitely a better solo laner than a jungler,” Alekseyenok added. “With a little bit of molding [he] can easily be one of the best solo laners in the world and help our team take it to the next level.”
Rosa was quick to accept the position when it was offered.
“I want to reach the upcoming Smite World Championship,” he explained in an interview on the Dignitas website. “Team Dignitas has always been, and in my opinion will continue to be, a top two team and that’s what is needed to get there…. Snipe is a great team, but sadly I feel that Dignitas has a better chance”
The transaction won’t complete until after the upcoming Smite Pro League Kickoff event in early August, meaning Alekseyenok will get a farewell tour with his long-time teammates.
Rosa won’t be as lucky; while he’ll still attend the tournament, SNIPE is going to use his replacement “Weak3n” in the jungle at the tournament, SNIPE mid laner Jerbie revealed. Still, he said the move comes with “zero drama.”
“We’re excited for [Shing] and happy for him because sometimes, people just want different things, and that’s okay.”
Image via Hi-Rez Studios