Nine Leaves Tundra to Take an Extended Break From Competitive Dota 2
Tundra Esports' position four player, Leon "Nine" Kirilin, has parted ways with the organization and is taking an extended break from competitive Dota 2. After what he has accomplished with Tundra, including winning The International (TI), he stated that it is time for him to take a step back, and relax as he does not want to be stressed out from competition anymore. Furthermore, Tundra tweeted its appreciation for the midlaner, who has also proven to be a valuable support player in recent times for the team. As Nine added, he will return to competitive play if and when he feels it is time.
Tundra Esports Nine aims to unwind during his extended Dota 2 break
“Your time at Tundra has been nothing short of legendary winning us our first TI championship. Thank you for you unwavering dedication, unforgettable moments and sublime plays,” Tundra wrote in its farewell post for Nine.
The following players now make up Tundra Esports' Dota 2 roster.
Oliver “skiter” Lepko
Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen (status unknown since he was recruited for TI12)
Neta “33” Shapira
Wu “Sneyking” Jingjun
In his tweets, Nine also thanked the organization, his teammates, and the support staff for the last three years, noting that he had experiences he would never forget.
“However, the last 2 years were the most stressful of my life, and I can't continue like I did. It's time to chill a bit and live life just the way I want to,” he said, adding that he would still play the game and follow it.
Tundra signed Nine and mudgolems in January 2021, when they were just getting started. The squad peaked later in the season and missed TI by one series after losing to OG in the Western Europe (WEU) qualifiers grand final.
However, Tundra picked up where it left off in the 2021-22 season and performed admirably for the rest of the season. It had some weak performances at the end of TI11 that raised concerns about its form, but a highly dominant performance at TI11 saw it emerge as the champion.
The 2023 season had its ups and downs, the most significant of which was the departure of Martin "Saksa" Sazdov near the end of the year owing to health issues. Tundra brought Topson, and Nine had to move to position four to replace Saksa. The reigning champions enjoyed an excellent start at TI12, but two unexpected losses in the playoffs resulted in an early exit.
Nine has proven himself as one of the most versatile Dota 2 midlaners throughout his time with Tundra. His performances on non-meta mid heroes like Winter Wyvern, Spirit Breaker, and Keeper of the Light, among others, have been influential and, at first, a menace to enemies who were unable to counter it.
Though Nine has stated that he can return, it will be interesting to see how long it takes him. In the past, many players have been lured back to the game when high-stakes tournaments take place with top teams, and the competitive spirit runs high.
Meanwhile, it is unclear where Tundra's roster will be for the 2024 season, as well as what other changes may occur in the squad.