Western European Dota 2 stalwarts OG announced on Tuesday (1 August) that they have moved position 4 support player Tommy "Taiga" Le ahead of the regional qualifiers for The International (TI) 2023 later this month.
OG said in their announcement that Taiga will be allowed to explore his options ahead of the TI 2023 qualifiers. This move notably comes after the team welcomed back two-time TI champion Sébastien "Ceb" Debs as support for the TI 2023 qualifiers.
"All good things must come to an end. Thankful for my time at OG, although I wish it didn't end this way. Not sure if I will find anything at this time, but will still be exploring my options," Taiga said in a post on his personal Twitter account.
With the rosters for TI 2023 and the regional qualifiers being locked on 12PM PDT on 3 August, there are only two days left for OG to find another support player to round out their roster and for Taiga to find a new team.
After spending two years of his career with Team Liquid from 2019 to 2021, Taiga joined OG's revamped youngblood for the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season in November 2021.
However, the 2023 DPC season has been a very challenging one for both Taiga and OG.
Following Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf's departure during the offseason, OG signed former Virtus.pro offlaner Dmitry "DM" Dorokhin as his replacement and looked to be one of the strongest teams in a very competitive Western European regional league.
But OG had a rough start during the Winter Tour, only managing a fifth place finish in their regional league and missing out on the Lima Major after losing out in a chaotic, two-day tiebreaker. That prompted a role swap between Mikhail "Misha" Agatov and Chu, with Misha moving to the coach role while Chu took over as team captain.
The role swapped paid dividends when OG managed to qualify for the ESL One Berlin Major 2023 despite having a 1-4 record mid way through the Spring Tour regional league.
However, OG were forced to play in the Berlin Major with stand-ins after DM, Chu, and Misha all had their visas denied. Thanks to a valiant effort by stand-ins Ivan "MinD_ControL" Ivanov and Kartik "Kitrak" Rathi, OG exceeded expectations and finished in 5th-6th place.
Taiga's battle with depression
OG then fell down back to earth in the Summer Tour regional league as Taiga was forced to miss their first three matches in the league amid a battle with anxiety and depression.
Taiga said in a message on his personal Discord server at the time that he was "having anxiety and depression for a while", which has caused his performances to be "very shaky" and prompted him to temporarily step away from competition.
"Sorry for keeping you guys in the dark, but I have been having anxiety and depression for a while, it just got worse after [TI 2022], I might seem like I'm fine but I really wasn't. That's why my performances [have] been very shaky," said Taiga.
Taiga added that he underwent therapy during that period in an effort to return to pro play.
"I'm on therapy right now to get better, and it's been helping me to get back my drive and motivation to come back streaming and pubbing, it's not fully there yet but I'm taking steps towards healing," said Taiga.
While Taiga was eventually able to return to play with OG, the team the Summer Tour regional league in fifth place with a 3-4 record and missed out on the Bali Major.
Following that, OG tapped Ceb to be a stand-in for DreamLeague Season 20 and the recently-concluded Riyadh Masters 2023 after Evgenii "Chu" Makarov was moved to the assistant coach role in June. However, the team still struggled and finished in 13th-14th place in both events.
With all their recent roster shakeups, OG have their work cut out for them in the TI 2023 regional qualifier for Western Europe, even if two slots will be up for grabs.
The team will have to compete against the likes of Quest Esports, Entity, Team Secret, and Nigma Galaxy for a slot in this year's iteration of Dota 2's world championship tournament. But with a two-time TI champion like Ceb back in the lineup, OG may just have what it takes to make it back to TI.
The TI 2023 regional qualifiers will be held from 17 to 31 August, with the competition being split into three five-day phases where two regions will compete in each phase.
The qualifiers for North America and China will kick things off from 17 to 21 August, South America and Eastern Europe will follow from 22 to 26 August, while Western Europe and Southeast Asia will close things out from 27 to 31 August.
TI 2023 will be held in Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena from 14 to 29 October and features a revamped format similar to last year's tournament, which was held in Singapore.
OG Dota 2 roster:
Artem "Yuragi" Golubiev
Bozhidar "bzm" Bogdanov
Dmitry "DM" Dorokhin
Sébastien "Ceb" Debs
Mikhail "Misha" Agatov (coach)