Blacklist International Announces Departure of Three Members From Dota 2 Squad
Southeast Asian (SEA) organization Blacklist International announced the departure of two core players and its assistant coach Kenny "Xepher" Deo from its Dota 2 roster. In a tweet on 4th Oct 2023, the organization revealed that Xepher, midlaner Karl Matthew "Karl" Baldovino, and offlaner Damien "kpii" Chok's contracts had expired and would not be renewed. The roster update comes after the team reached the grand final at The International 12 (TI12) - SEA Qualifier but lost to a much more powerful Team SMG squad, ending its chances of playing at TI12.
Blacklist International parts ways with Xepher, Karl, and kpii
“Today we say thank you and farewell to our beloved Blacklist Rivalry members: Karl "Karl" Baldovino, Damien "kpii" Chok, Kenny "Xepher" Deo. Their contracts have come to an end and are not being renewed,” Blacklist announced on Twitter, thanking the three members for their contributions.
Karl was a member of Blacklist's original roster setup last year while kpii and Xepher joined in the middle of the season. There are only three players on Blacklist International's Dota 2 roster now, as well as no coach.
Marc “Raven” Polo Luis Fausto
Timothy “Tims” Randrup
Carlo “Kuku” Palad
In its debut season Dota 2 season, even though Blacklist boasted big names, it did not live up to expectations and failed to qualify for the first two Majors.
In an attempt to bring about a change in results in the middle of the year, Blacklist parted ways with its captain, Nico "eyyou" Barcelon which led Kuku to take on the position five role. This move created an opening in the offlaner position, which was filled by its kpii.
Although the team improved in the final Tour after kpii’s addition by placing second, its debut at an international LAN in the Bali Major 2023 ended in a disappointing 13th-14th place.
In the end, Blacklist didn't have enough Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points to qualify directly for TI12, so it had to go through the qualifier. The Kuku-led squad proved to be a tough competitor in the qualifier, but with only one slot available, it had to be the best. Unfortunately for it, SMG was at its best throughout the event, defeating it 2-0 in the upper bracket final first and then 3-0 in the grand final to qualify for TI12.
Although the next season is still some time away, Blacklist has made its intentions clear regarding a roster revamp. Whether more roster adjustments will occur currently remains uncertain.
The SEA organization will likely take its time and evaluate all options before finalizing a team for the 2024 season that upholds the reputation of the brand.