One of the benefits of Valve’s annual International tournament is the forced stability it brings to the competitive Dota 2 scene. But even The International wasn’t enough to stop one team from making changes.
North American Dota 2 team Summer’s Rift has lost its spot in the American qualification tournament for The International after making a roster change, something Valve specifically prohibits for teams directly invited to the event or one of its qualifiers.
Many fans look forward to the months leading up to The International, as Valve’s required roster stability increases quality of play and makes it easier to follow teams and players. This stability is what Valve has sought to spread throughout the year with its new system of major tournaments, which will span a yearly calendar and place limits on roster changes for participating teams.
These rules are also common knowledge. So that made it all the more surprising that Summer’s Rift, which features such players as Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho and Brian “BananaSlamJamma” Canvan, managed to get itself ousted from the competition.
The exact circumstances have since become the subject of gossip on streams and forum threads. Apparently, Summer’s Rift’s James “Miraclechipmunk” Poguireitchik found out he was under consideration for being replaced. But when Valve informed the team that replacing Poguireitchik would render the squad ineligible for play, Summer’s Rift asked him back. The sides weren’t able to work things out, however, leaving the team in a serious lurch.
The resolution for Summer’s Rift has been to recruit a Canadian player going by the name “Dragonfist” and resort to participating in Valve’s open qualifier, a tournament that would require Summer’s Rift to work its way past hundreds of teams in a dangerous best-of-one format. It’s anything but ideal, especially for a squad that had already been slotted in for the official regional qualifier.
It’s an incident that speaks to the rising standard being applied to professional gamers across esports. Interpersonal issues and difficulties with team chemistry aren’t the justification for instant change they once were.