Chinese Dota 2 powerhouse Team Aster announced on Monday (8 May) that they have acquired Pakistani superstar midlaner Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan through a loan from his previous team, Nigma Galaxy.
This blockbuster roster move comes after SumaiL stood-in for Aster during the recently-concluded ESL One Berlin Major 2023, where he helped the team finish in the Top 8. Aster notably tapped SumaiL as a stand-in after they moved their former midlaner, Zhai "Xwy" Jingkai, to their inactive roster.
In the announcement on their official Weibo account, Aster said that SumaiL has joined the team on loan until The International 2023 (TI 2023), this year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament that will be hosted in Seattle this October.
Aster are also negotiating with their new midlaner for longer-term plans.
Nigma Galaxy also thanked SumaiL for his time with them in a separate statement.
"Thank you [SumaiL] for everything this past year and we wish you all the best," said Nigma Galaxy.
SumaiL has long been considered as one of the best players in all of Dota 2. He burst into the scene in 2015 as the prodigy midlaner for Evil Geniuses (EG), most notably leading the team to the championship at TI5.
To this day, SumaiL remains the youngest player to have won the Aegis of Champions, as he was only 16 years and 176 days old when he and EG won TI5. Aside from his historic TI5 win, SumaiL also boasts Top 3 finishes at TI6 and TI8.
SumaiL left EG at the end of 2019 and had a short stint with Quincy Crew before moving to Western Europe to join OG in January 2020. He left the team in July and became a stand-in for Team Liquid from April to June 2021 before rejoining OG for the qualifiers of TI10.
After OG only managed a Top 8 finish at TI10, having been swept out of the tournament by eventual champions Team Spirit, SumaiL left the team in November and joined Team Secret.
SumaiL's time with Secret failed to produce successful results, leading to his departure in May 2022. The midlaner later joined Nigma Galaxy, where he would have another unsuccessful year before his eventual move to Aster.
SumaiL will be the first Western player to move to China since Dominik "Black^" Reitmeier's time with Vici Gaming back in 2015. While Chinese teams have increasingly relied on foreign talent to help bolster their declining scene, most of their imports have been from Malaysia.
While SumaiL speaks little Mandarin, his excellent performance with Aster during the Berlin Major despite those communication issues does inspire a lot of promise. Perhaps it is a foreign star like SumaiL that will give Chinese Dota the shot in the arm it needed to start regaining its lost prestige.
Team Aster Dota 2 roster:
Du "Monet" Peng
Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan
Lin "Xxs" Jing
Ye "BoBoKa" Zhibiao
Yu "皮球" Yajun
Bai "rOtK" Fan (coach)