It’s the end of the road for 3 of the most iconic players in the history of DOTA 2. While the retirements of Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis and Zhang ‘Mu’ Pan are somewhat to be expected given the circumstances, Peter ‘ppd’ Dager’s departure from Evil Geniuses’ main squad is looking to be a huge blow to their potential in future events.
Mu-ving on or another “Chinese retirement”?
Mu was the first person to announce his withdrawal from competitive DOTA. The 26-year-old midlaner and his team, Newbee, went on a rampage of 29 consecutive victories throughout the pre-Manila period, but their record was broken by OG and they failed to win the major. This led him to contemplate retirement back in June, but his teammates managed to convince him otherwise. However, at TI6 they were not able to perform when it mattered and fell short of expectations, losing all the games on the main stage and finished at a disappointing 9-12th place. For Mu, that was the final straw and had decided to call it quits – or so it seems.
According to Chen ‘Hao’ Zhihao (who is also on a hiatus) – Mu’s teammate at Newbee and long-term friend – the midlaner has been spending his time playing MMORPGs. This is a familiar pattern for a lot of Chinese “retirees”, as they tend to take a break for up to 6 months and get away from DOTA 2, before making their comeback just before a big tournament. Other celebrated players such as Xu ‘BurNing’ Zhilei, Zhang ‘xiao8’ Ning, and Hao himself had carried out this practice before, and it’s entirely possible that Mu is following their footsteps. It is too early to decide whether this “retirement” will be temporary or permanent.
Regardless of his final decision, however, it seems to be a wise move from both Hao and Mu to take a break from competitive DOTA at the moment. Aside from TI winners Wings Gaming, a lot of Chinese organizations are shuffling around their entire squad, while new blood is also pouring in to mix up with old-school players. With the scene falling into such an unstable and chaotic state, even TI winners like Mu should consider staying in the sidelines for the time being.
Fear: A saga’s final chapter
The 28-year-old American veteran has also decided to put an end to his competitive days, and has retired to the position of coach at EG. He stated that health complications were the primary reason for the decision, specifically his arms – as they were not longer what they used to be. The injury has been impeding his performance ever since TI4, and while he remained steadfast for the last 2 years, it’s finally time for the old guard to earn his rest.
Perhaps the most celebrated and influential player in the history of North American DOTA, Fear had spent nearly a decade trying to make a name for himself. His unrivaled experience and potential were unearthed by Evil Geniuses, as the team picked him up for the carry position back in October 2011. Gradually, he became the lynchpin of EG’s success, as Clinton’s versatility and stability proved to be a valuable asset throughout many tournaments. Despite missing out on The International 4 due to an arm injury, Fear made a stunning comeback during the next year and achieved the honor of lifting the Aegis for the first time, taking home $6,634,660 along with his team. He continued to loyally stay with Evil Geniuses and managed to snatch third place at The International 6, and it happened to be his last appearance as a competitive player.
His life story portrayed in Valve’s documentary “Free To Play” is nothing short of a miracle that inspired millions of DOTA 2 players around the world, and yesterday he decided to put it to a close:
“Today, I’m announcing my retirement from competitive Dota. I have been living my dream of being a professional gamer for over a decade now, and in that time I’ve accomplished each of the goals I placed for myself and for EG Dota. Now, I have to pursue a new goal – getting healthy. I still have a passion for Dota and for competing, but the long term health of my arm has to come first. Thank you all for your support.” – Fear
Along with ppd, Fear had served as a cornerstone for EG’s victories. He was known to be not only an excellent player, but also a leadership figure that helped navigate the team through the difficult times. The co-captain is also famous for his ability to perform at the top level on many different heroes, giving ppd the distinct edge during the drafting phase as he has a variety of options to choose from for different strategies. The TI5 winners will definitely sorely miss having this advantage over their opponents for future tournaments. However, by picking up the position of coach, Fear ensures that he will be able to provide the moral support for EG’s fledgling squad. And they will definitely need it, as Fear is not the only person bidding his farewell to the blue jersey.
PPD: Strategizing beyond the Ancients
Peter Dager had gone down in history as one of the most successful captains in competitive DOTA 2, leading his team to three consecutive top 3 finishes ever since The International 4, along with numerous other titles from premier tournaments. Known as the mastermind behind Evil Geniuses’ strategies, ppd could miraculously win some games before they even began just from his precise drafting and the ability to read his opponents. The prime example for this was the TI5 grand final, when the 24-year-old support managed to crack CDEC’s inability to play Leshrac and made use of it to perfection, bringing home the Aegis along with $6.6 million dollars of winnings. Up until this day, he still tops the chart of eSports earnings with more than $2.6 million – a sharp contrast with his in-game net worth. Therefore, his decision to fall back to a managerial position at Evil Geniuses and Twitch can be a huge blow to the team’s performance.
According to EG’s official statements, when presented with the choice to either continue actively competing in the DOTA 2 scene or transitioning to a more business/management role, ppd decided to choose the latter. While this choice may disappoint a lot of EG fans around the world, it is ultimately the most logical option, and we all know critical thinking and planning ahead is what makes ppd the man he is today and a true “Evil Genius”. The American captain had decided to leave behind his legacy and move on so that his team can have a fresh start.
After finishing third in The International 6, it is clear that DOTA 2 is in a state where any team can beat any other in any given matchup, and no single powerhouse will be able to reign for an extend period of time. Even EG needed a fresh start, and Peter had decided to make one final support play by reeling in an exceptional talent by the name of Cr1t-, and putting himself on the backline. ppd entrusts the Dane with the leader role of the new squad, and tries to make a name for himself in the business world while still affiliated with his signature brand. It’s out with the old and in with the new for Peter, and he’s bound to be off to a great start.
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