Filipino Dota 2 team Blacklist Rivalry announced on Monday (22 January) that they have parted ways with founding member and carry player Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto. Blacklist Rivalry has yet to announce their replacement for Raven.
Raven's departure comes after Blacklist Rivalry only managed mixed results with its retooled roster with Abed "Abed" Yusop, Kim "Gabbi" Santos, and Juan Carlo "Carlo" Manalo.
The team had a promising start by qualifying for ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 last December, though they failed to make it out of the Group Stage and bombed out in 9th-10th place.
This month, Blacklist Rivalry failed to qualify for the two biggest tournaments of the early season in BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 and DreamLeague Season 22, both of which have US$1 million prize pools. In the Southeast Asian qualifier for both tournaments, Blacklist Rivalry only managed a 5th-6th place finish.
The current Blacklist Rivalry roster's only successful outing so far was at the Asia-Pacific Predator League 2024, where they went on a perfect run to claim the championship and a US$65,000 grand prize. With that said, the Predator League was only limited to teams from the Asia-Pacific and did not include many of the other top teams in the region.
Today we announce the departure of Raven from #BlacklistRivalry.
One of the original members of our redemption team, we can't thank him enough for the hard work and dedication during his time with us.
Thank you Raven, we'll see you in-game soon! pic.twitter.com/OVml1Gmzho
— BLACKLIST INTERNATIONAL 👑 (@BLACKLISTINTL) January 22, 2024
Raven was part of Blacklist Rivalry's initial roster that debuted in November 2022 alongside Karl "Karl" Baldovino, Carlo "Kuku" Palad, Timothy "Tims" Randrup, and Nico "eyyou" Barcelon. With Raven's departure, Tims is now the only remaining player from that original roster.
Despite all the hype surrounding the team as a Filipino all-star squad, Blacklist Rivalry's first year competing in Dota 2 did not produce results that lived up to the lofty expectations many set for the team.
In the Spring Tour, Blacklist retooled with the addition of Michael "ninjaboogie" Ross as coach. However, the team only managed a 3-4 record in Spring Tour regional league and thus failed to even sniff a spot at the ESL One Berlin Major 2023.
Those disappointing results prompted the departure of eyyou in April, with the team announcing they will also take "a new direction" away from their original plan to field a full Filipino roster. That shift in direction came in the form of Australian veteran Damien "kpii" Chok, who took over as offlaner while Kuku shifted to the position 5 support role previously vacated by eyyou.
The addition of kpii helped Blacklist bounce back during the Summer Tour regional league and qualify for the Bali Major.
However, the team faltered against international competition and bombed out of the final Major of the season in 13th-14th place, which also meant they missed out on a direct invite to The International (TI) 2023 and will have to earn their spot in the tournament through the regional qualifiers.
With the all-important spot at TI 2023 up for grabs, Blacklist also beefed up its roster by signing Adam "343" Shah and Kenny "Xepher" Deo as head coach and assistant coach, respectively. While Blacklist managed to reach the grand finals of the Southeast Asian regional qualifier, they were soundly defeated by Team SMG and missed out on TI 2023 as a result.
With another roster change in just the first month of the new year, it remains to be seen whether or not Blacklist Rivalry will still be able to be among the more competitive teams in Southeast Asia, let alone the rest of the global scene.
Blacklist International Dota 2 roster:
Abed "Abed" Yusop
Kim "Gabbi" Santos
Timothy "Tims" Randrup
Carlo "Carlo" Manalo.