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Professional Dota 2 teams see shocking roster changes ahead of championship deadlines

In a move that shocked the Dota 2 community and professional scene, recent Shanghai Major winners Team Secret have released two members of its roster, replacing them with players from The 2015 International Dota 2 Championship winning team Evil Geniuses — namely, carry player Artour "Arteezy" Babaev and offlane player Saahil "Universe" Arora.

Swedish esports outlet Fragbite reported last night that Evil Geniuses mid player Sumail Hassan and support player and co-captain Clinton "Fear" Loomis were also leaving the team. However, Polygon have confirmed with a source that though both players were considering leaving Evil Geniuses this week, that is not the case at this time. Instead, Hassan and Loomis will remain with team captain and support player Peter "PPD" Dager. Moreover, Evil Geniuses has a new roster ready to meet the impending cutoff deadline imposed by Valve ahead of the Manila Major.

According to Polygon's source, the new Evil Geniuses lineup will appear familiar to the team's fans, though they declined to be more specific.

Speculation about the state of Dota 2's professional scene began last night as Team Secret players Rasmus "Misery" Filipsen and Aliwi "w33" Omar announced via Twitter that they were no longer part of the organization's Dota 2 team. Just over an hour later, Team Secret owner Kemal Sadikoglu welcomed Babaev and Arora to the team, followed by an official announcement on Team Secret's official Twitter account. This sent the Dota 2 subreddit into chaos, overshadowing the release of a Spring Cleaning update for the game.

The sudden loss of two players put Evil Geniuses in an awkward position. With the introduction of the Dota 2 Majors last year, developer Valve introduced new restrictions and requirements for teams hoping to participate in the new, lucrative tournaments. Specifically, teams must have their rosters "locked" by specific dates prior to Major events. The cutoff date for the Manila Major, March 27, was announced just a few weeks ago. Teams who fail to finalize and register their rosters by March 27 will not be eligible for so-called "direct," no-contest invites to the Manila Major or to the regional qualifier phase of the event. More importantly, the Manila cutoff will remain in effect for this summers sixth International Dota 2 Championship — colloquially referred to as TI6.

Other teams have also been affected by the "post-Major shuffle." Newer team Digital Chaos, founded by personality Shannon "Sunsfan" Scotten, is functionally "dead," according to a tweet earlier today by Scotten.

This week's events have renewed discussion about the perceived instability of the Dota 2 professional scene at its highest levels. After last Fall's Frankfurt Major, well-known esports organization Cloud9 chose to disband its underperforming Dota 2 team. Following a disappointing finish at TI5, Team Secret, considered to be a favorite for the tournament final, lost two players including Babaev. He went on to rejoin Evil Geniuses — whom he left after the previous year's International.