Singaporean Dota 2 star Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang has left North American powerhouse Evil Geniuses (EG) to become the new offlaner European juggernauts Team Secret on Thursday (18 November).
With his move to Secret, iceiceice will be taking over the offlane role that was vacated by Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg, who left to join Team Liquid earlier this month.
The Singaporean offlaner will also be the first-ever Southeast Asian player to compete in Division I of the DPC's Western European regional league.
EG had announced iceiceice's departure early Thursday. The Singaporean offlaner joined the North American team in November 2020, helping them reach the finals of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season's two Majors.
However, iceiceice's stint with EG ended on a sour note after they exited The International 10 (TI10) early in 9th-12th place.
This move also marks the fourth region that iceiceice will be playing in for his expansive, globe-trotting career.
After spending most of his early career in Southeast Asia, iceiceice played in China from 2013 to 2016 with top teams Team DK, Vici Gaming, and EHOME.
He returned to compete in his home region from 2016 to 2020, playing with Team Faceless, Mineski, and Fnatic, before heading out west to North America and now Europe.
"A veteran of Southeast Asia, iceiceice has been training in the toxicity and free-for-all realm that is SEA Dota for over a decade now, putting his mark on the professional scene with a third place finish at The International 2011.
Since then, iceiceice has excelled on multiple rosters, stacking up trophies and accolades on his journey to reach us. Now, iceiceice will finally pair up with [Secret captain Clement "Puppey" Ivanov], and the East + West pillars of Dota will finally unite!" Secret said in a statement.
"Pretty excited to be playing with Secret. It’s a perfect lineup for my playstyle, and Puppey has always been someone I’ve wanted to play with for the last 10 years. I love camels and I can’t wait to be punched by Puppey," added iceiceice.
Iceiceice joins a stacked Secret roster that includes highly-talented players in Michal "Nisha" Jankowski and Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat as well as a living legend in Puppey among its number.
Later in the day, Secret also announced the arrival of Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan to fill the midlane position after Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen also left to join Liquid. The team's former midlaner, Nisha, was recently shifted into the carry role in order to make way for SumaiL.
Secret were notably the first team among those that finished in the Top 8 of TI10 to make changes to its roster in the post-TI10 roster shuffle with the departures of zai and MATUMBAMAN. Two-time TI champions OG were the second after they parted ways with Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan and Martin "Saksa" Sazdov.
The roster shuffle began in earnest shortly after TI10, with teams that bombed out of the tournament such as Alliance, Fnatic, Thunder Predator, and SG Esports making changes to their rosters.
The post-TI10 roster shuffle
The competitive Dota 2 scene revolves around TI, Dota 2's yearly world championship tournament that has regularly broken the record for the biggest prize pool for a single esports event year after year. TI10 featured a US$40 million prize pool, with the lion's share of US$18.2 million as well as the coveted Aegis of Champions going to champions Team Spirit.
The yearly post-TI roster shuffles came as a result of the importance of TI to the game's competitive scene, with teams that either failed to qualify or placed poorly in the tournament often revamping their rosters in preparation for another run at the Aegis of Champions.
TI's importance in the scene has even manifested itself in how contracts between players and their organisations are structured, with most contracts ending with the conclusion of TI.
This arrangement has allowed both teams and players to explore their options and better prepare for the next iteration of the DPC and TI.
The 2021-2022 DPC season will be starting at the end of November and has been split into three Tours for the Fall, Winter, and Spring, with the regional leagues taking place from 29 November 2021 to 17 July 2022.
Team Secret Dota 2 roster:
Michal "Nisha" Jankowski
Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang
Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat
Clement "Puppey" Ivanov
Lee "Heen" Seung Gon (coach)