Dota 2's reigning The International (TI) champions Tundra Esports will be embarking on their campaign for a second-straight Aegis of Champions at TI 2023 this October with none other than two-time TI champion Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen, the team announced on Friday (8 September).
Topson will be filling the gap in Tundra's roster left by Martin "Saksa" Sazdov, who has taken an extended health break and will be missing out on TI 2023 as a result.
Topson will also be taking over as Tundra's midlaner while Leon "Nine" Kirilin shifts to the position 4 support role vacated by Saksa.
I’ve heard rumors that I’m needed, so I’m joining Tundra Esports for TI12. https://t.co/GTGizdKtqx
— Topias Taavitsainen (@TopsonDota) September 7, 2023
"I keep hearing rumors, rumors that when I'm needed, I might come back. People begging to know when I'll be back. Well, yeah, I guess I'm back. See you at TI," Topson said in a promotional video posted alongside the announcement that he has joined Tundra.
Topson first teased that he will be joining Tundra in early August in a post on his personal YouTube channel where his new team's logo was partially visible in the background.
Topson has had one of the most impressive careers in the history of Dota 2. He joined OG as their midlaner in June 2018 during the team's last-minute scramble to assemble a roster to compete in TI 2018.
Against all odds, OG would go on to raise their first Aegis of Champions in TI 2018 after a legendary showdown with PSG.LGD in the grand finals.
With OG's win at TI8, Topson also joined Dota 2's illustrious club of players who have taken the 'Royal Road', or players who won TI in their first time attending the event.
The next year, Topson helped OG become the first-ever two-time TI champions when they defeated Team Liquid in the grand finals of TI 2019.
Topson then suffered his first loss at a TI in TI 2021, when OG was swept out of the tournament in 7th-8th place by eventual champions Team Spirit. Shortly afterwards, Topson took a break from competitive play to be with his family and was moved to OG's inactive roster.
After almost a year of inactivity, Topson returned to pro play alongside former OG teammate Anathan "ana" Pham as stand-ins for T1 in an attempt to qualify for TI 2022. However, Topson and ana missed out on TI 2022 after T1 was knocked out of the tournament's Last Chance Qualifier by Vici Gaming.
In the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, Topson once again reunited with former OG teammates Sébastien "Ceb" Debs and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein in Old G.
Old G only managed to qualify for Division II of the Western European regional league for the Spring and Summer Tours before flaming out ahead of the TI 2023 regional qualifiers.
But now that Topson has joined Tundra, he has the rare opportunity to become the first-ever three-time TI champion in the history of Dota 2 in TI 2023.
TI 2023 will be hosted across multiple weekends from 12 to 29 October in Seattle, the United States. This year's tournament also features a revamped format split into two distinct phases, called 'The Road to The International' and 'The International' itself.
Tundra Esports Dota 2 roster:
Oliver "skiter" Lepko
Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen
Neta "33" Shapira
Leon "Nine" Kirilin
Wu "Sneyking" Jingjun
Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling (coach)