Player announcements have become big-money business for esports organizations, drawing site traffic and satiating sponsors with equal aplomb. Unfortunately for one side, HTML has betrayed one of the biggest roster moves in Western Dota to date.
Visitors to the Dota 2 Asia Championships website were treated with some unexpected intel when the site’s source code revealed Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Ludwig “Zai” Wahlberg, both formerly of Evil Geniuses, on the roster of European powerhouse Team Secret. A screenshot of the snafu surfaced on Reddit early this morning, forcing Secret to come clean on its official Twitter:
We wanted to make a more formal announcement regarding the future of our roster but unfortunately the secret is out! http://t.co/mca7GEXbUW
— Team Secret (@TeamSecretDOTA2) January 2, 2015
This bizarre leak confirms earlier reports by the Daily Dot regarding Babaev’s status with the team, as well as rumors regarding teammate Wahlberg’s future, sparked when Babaev candidly discussed the Swede’s status on his Twitch stream two days ago.
The website also lists previously reported Kurtis “Aui 2000” Ling and North American amateur Syed “Sumail” Hassan– a.k.a. “D3M0N“–as Evil Geniuses for the event, though Evil Geniuses has yet to confirm whether these appearances are anything more than temporary substitutions.
In the world of competitive Dota, Babaev and Wahlberg need little introduction. A former member of Kaipi with Cloud9 figurehead Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao, Babaev found his footing with renowned player Clinton “Fear” Loomis on SADBOYS and, later, Evil Geniuses. With a combination of confident play and remarkable in-game mechanics, Babaev led the Boys in Blue to the top of the Western Dota world on the back of hard-carry, control-intensive heroes.
Wahlberg, a former Heroes of Newerth player, served as support for Evil Geniuses during his tenure, but few would say that he was an accessory to the team’s success. At only 17 years-old, Wahlberg’s Enigma, Visage, and Wraith King became threats in their own right as the Swedish prodigy cemented his place in the professional ranks through clutch plays and veteran-level instincts.
The move is a true coup for Team Secret, a side whose rise to the top of European Dota is owed in large part to International winner and two-time runner-up Clement “Puppey” Ivanov. The former Natus Vincere mastermind brings a level of creativity and expertise to the table that, when paired with fellow International champion Gustav “S4” Magnusson, has given the team a reputation for big plays and aggressive, unique strategies.
The unfortunate casualty in the shuffle is Johan “BigDaddy” Sundstein. The talented Dane made a name for himself on Fnatic in 2013 and 2014, playing Io with world-class proficiency. With Wahlberg moving to the number four spot, however, Sundstein’s time with the roster he helped found is officially at an end, despite strong performances with his European compatriots.
With all eyes on The International seven months away, few can afford to waste time on a losing formula. With two International winners and confident leadership on Secret’s side, it is likely that Babaev and Wahlberg thought their best bet was to leave the slumping Evil Geniuses for the West’s greenest pastures.
Image via Valve