OG offlaner and two-time The International (TI) champion Sébastien “Ceb” Debs announced on Thursday (18 November) that he is retiring from professional Dota 2 after over a decade of competing.
Ceb said in a statement that his decision to end his professional career came after he realized he no longer had the drive to continue competing at the highest level of Dota 2.
“The win-or-die mindset, which has driven the entirety of my career… I don’t have it in me anymore. I never commit to a team or to people unless I know I’m ready to give every drop of energy and every second of my time into it,” said Ceb.
The 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season has been a difficult one for OG's offlaner, primarily due to health issues that forced him to undergo two eye surgeries in less than a year.
The second of those two surgeries notably came only nine days before TI10, with OG fearing at the time that Ceb could miss out on this year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament.
The offlaner revealed that he was undergoing a retinal detachment in his left eye and that he was a few hours away from "losing sight irreversibly," adding that the news "felt like the sky collapsing on me."
Fortunately, Ceb was cleared by his doctors to play in TI10 and join OG in their campaign for a third-straight Aegis of Champions.
Despite a strong start in the Group Stage, OG stumbled in its first match in the Main Event against Secret and were dropped down to the lower bracket.
While the two-time champions survived their first elimination match against Quincy Crew, their hopes for a three-peat were dashed after they got swept out of the tournament by eventual TI10 champions Team Spirit.
Shortly after OG's loss to Spirit, Ceb hinted at his eventual retirement by saying in a tweet that TI10 was his "last tournament."
“As long as I could taste it, it kept me going. When I realized that this thing was not as strong with this roster, maybe it showed me how it probably was time to look at the sacrifices and decide whether or not they are worth it. Now even my body is getting hurt by it. And I have to listen to my own body. As much as I’ve given to this game, I can’t do it anymore,” said Ceb.
An unlikely all-time great
Ceb ends his career as a three-time Major champion and as one of the only five players to have won the Aegis of Champions twice, alongside his now-former OG teammates in Anathan "ana" Pham, Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen, Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka, and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein.
Ceb spent the early part of his professional Dota 2 career bouncing between a number of middling teams from 2011 to 2015, only managing to qualify for TI in 2012 with Mortal Teamwork and bombing out in 13th-16th place.
Ceb's first stint with a noteworthy team was with Alliance, though it only lasted for five months from March to August of that year. He then spent the rest of 2015 and early 2016 with Monkey Freedom Fighters and Kaipi before finally joining OG in May 2016 to be their coach.
Ceb was instrumental in OG's run of dominance from 2016 to 2017, helping the team behind the scenes as they won the championships of the Manila Major in June 2016, the Boston Major in December 2016, and the Kiev Major in April 2017.
After the fateful departures of Tal "Fly" Aizik and Gustav "s4" Magnusson from OG in May 2018, the team scrambled to fill its roster in time for TI8 by having Ceb join the active roster while ana and Topson replaced the departing players.
Despite entering the tournament with a hastily-assembled roster and being branded as heavy underdogs, Ceb and OG went on an unprecedented run to win TI8 and claim their first Aegis of Champions. The team notably outlasted Chinese juggernauts PSG.LGD, 3-2, in one of the best TI grand final showdowns in the history of the game to claim their title.
While many dismissed their run to the championship at TI8 as a fluke, Ceb and OG proved doubters wrong in the following year. They dominated TI9 and defeated Team Liquid, 3-1, in the grand finals to become the first-ever team to claim the Aegis of Champions twice and in back-to-back years.
In January 2020, Ceb stepped down from OG's active roster and returned to a coaching role within the organisation. He then returned to play with the team in June for the last leg of his career in the 2021 DPC season.
"Dota has asked everything from Ceb. His time, all his energy, and unfortunately during the last year he also had to deal with health problems with two eye surgeries in less than a year, the last one occurring nine days only before TI10, and he got to a point where it was just not possible to continue down the same path," OG said of Ceb.
"But today is not a sad day. Today we get to celebrate the incredible career that Ceb has had. The huge impact he has had in the community and in all of us. And even though Ceb closes this episode in his life, Ceb’s journey is just starting and with OG, many adventures are still to come. We are infinitely grateful for what the nerdy kid from Lebanon with a dream has grown into and what he was able to show the world. We are very lucky to have you as founder, owner and the heartbeat of OG Esports."
What's next for OG?
With Ceb's retirement as well as the departures of Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan and Martin "Saksa" Sazdov earlier this month, only Topson and N0tail remain in OG's roster. It is unclear whether the last remaining players from the team's TI-winning roster will continue competing in the 2021-2022 DPC.
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.
OG is expected to announce more news regarding its roster in the coming days.
OG Dota 2 roster:
Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen
Johan "N0tail" Sundstein