Team Spirit Might Not Play at Full Strength Till January 2024
While Dota 2 teams all over the world are busy preparing their rosters for the upcoming season, Team Spirit is enjoying a well-deserved rest and settling in after winning The International (TI) for a second time. It looks like some of the team’s players will extend this phase of unwinding for a little longer. During one of his recent livestreams, Team Spirit's manager Dmitry "Korb3n" Belov revealed that at least one of its players will be on vacation until January 2024. In addition, Korb3n noted that more Spirit players may take extended breaks, which means that the team can have more than one stand-in at next month's ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023.
Team Spirit to play at ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 with a stand-in
As Korb3n explained to viewers on his Twitch livestream, behind the scenes content will be lacking at ESL One Kuala Lumpur as members will be on vacation. He added that this was also true for some players, with one of them assured to be unavailable.
“So there won't be any more vlogs because everyone's on vacation—at least the players. I can say this: one of the players, not everyone just answered this question yet, one of the players will be on vacation until January - that's for sure already. I won't say who it will be, relax. I just don't even know if it's okay to say or not. Naturally, we will play with substitutes. The question is how many substitutions there will be.”
It is unlikely that Team Spirit will skip the event, but a lot depends on what rules ESL sets about substitutes since the team is still unsure how many substitutes it will have.
“It's not a fact that we'll skip [the next tournament]. Anyway, ESL depends on you know what? On their rules. How many substitutions are allowed, for example? If they allow, for example, two substitutions, and we only have two people going on vacation, for example, and the rest of us have a month, then we play, why not?"
Korb3n, when asked if Spirit could just skip and give players a longer break, responded that it would be difficult because these ESL events are the only way to Riyadh in 2024.
“[Can we not play?] You see, the thing is, ESL is Riyadh. Accordingly, tournaments from ESL and DreamLeague are also Riyadh. And if you don't play them, you don't get points. No other tournaments absolutely give you points for [invites to] Riyadh. Accordingly, you have to play tournaments from ESL.”
The Riyadh Masters, which took place in 2022 and 2023, has turned out to be one of the most lucrative tournaments in Dota 2 history, with massive total prize pools of $4,000,000 USD and $15,000,000 USD respectively.
The event is predicted to grow in value and significance as it is likely to be held as part of the Annual Esports World Cup, which begins in 2024.
Meanwhile, Spirit has received a direct invite to the upcoming and most likely last tier one event of the year, ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023. Despite not having its entire squad, the team will be eager to kick off the new season on a positive note. The tournament takes place from 11th to 17th Dec 2023.