Former OG position 4 support player and two-time The International (TI) champion Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka has come out of retirement to join North American powerhouse Evil Geniuses (EG) for the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season.
EG announced their new roster for the upcoming season on Sunday (21 November), with JerAx and former Virtus.pro carry player Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko replacing Tal "Fly" Aizik and Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang as the team's position 5 support player and offlaner, respectively.
EG's roster revamp comes after a rollercoaster showing in the 2021 DPC. The team dominated the 2021 DPC's North American regional league and was able to reach the finals of the circuit's two Majors, though both of those finals appearances ending in stunning losses to Chinese powerhouses.
Despite a strong showing during the regular season, EG notably bombed out of TI10 in 9th-12th place after losing to another Chinese team in Vici Gaming in the second round of the lower bracket.
JerAx now makes his return to competitive play to revitalize an EG that have arguably underachieved despite having a star-studded roster that boasts a core of Artour "Arteezy" Babaev, Abed "Abed" Yusop, and Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity to play for EG, hopefully we will do great as a team. I wouldn't be competing in Dota if I didn't set the expectation for the team to be one of the best," said JerAx.
"Everyone is looking forward to playing with Jesse. He has a lot of great ideas about dota and how he approaches the game. The entire team is excited to have him join us and we cannot wait to get started and show the fans our potential,” added EG coach Sam "Bulba" Sosale.
JerAx is widely considered as one of the best support players in the history of Dota 2, with a long list of accolades that include two Major championships and two TI championships.
He announced his retirement from pro Dota 2 in January 2020 after he helped OG make history as the only team to ever win the Aegis of Champions twice and in back-to-back years in TI8 and TI9.
With both Anathan "ana" Pham and Sébastien “Ceb” Debs retired as well as Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein skipping the 2021-2022 DPC to take a break, JerAx is now the only member of the OG lineup that won TI8 and TI9 to still be active.
JerAx will begin his stint with EG in Division I of the 2021-2022 DPC's North American regional league. 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.
With the new season looming over the horizon, teams all across the DPC have been unveiling new rosters left and right.
Some recent major changes include Team Secret adding iceiceice and Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan, Team Liquid adding Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen and Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg, Talon Esports entering Dota 2 with a roster headlined by Fly, Kim "Gabbi" Villafuerte, and Damien "kpii" Chok, among other moves.
Evil Geniuses Dota 2 roster:
Artour "Arteezy" Babaev
Abed "Abed" Yusop
Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko
Andreas "Cr1t" Nielsen
Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka
Sam "Bulba" Sosale (coach)