Two-time The International (TI) champions OG announced on Tuesday (23 March) they have parted ways with Malaysian carry player Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng following the team's failure to qualify for the upcoming ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major.
Prior to the start of the 2021 Dota Pro CIrcuit (DPC), many expected OG to be one of the four teams to top the circuit's European regional league and qualify for the Singapore Major.
However, OG ended the regular season in a three-way tie with Team Liquid and Tundra Esports for their region's fourth and final Major slot. The team stumbled in the ensuing tiebreakers, with Team Liquid denying the two-time TI champions a spot in the first Major event of this year's circuit.
"The Dota 2 results for the past few months have been quite rough on the squad, and the team as a whole felt the need for a breath of fresh air among their ranks. A readjustment is sometimes necessary, but MidOne is an extremely talented player whose mischievous energy brought immense amounts of joy and laughs to everyone around him," OG said in a statement.
MidOne, alongside Martin "Saksa" Sazdov and Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan, joined OG in January last year to replace three departing players from the roster that won the organisation the Aegis of Champions in back-to-back years.
MidOne joined OG to be their new offlaner after Sébastien "Ceb" Debs stepped down from the active roster to return to his previous coaching role in the organisation. Meanwhile, SumaiL joined to replace carry player Anathan "ana" Pham, who took an extended break from competitive play, while Saksa replaced Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka, who announced his retirement.
The coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of the 2019-2020 DPC hit OG hard, as their full roster was unable to play together since SumaiL and MidOne were stuck in the United States and Malaysia, respectively, due to international travel restrictions at the time.
SumaiL then left OG last July, which forced Ceb to return to the active roster as the offlaner while MidOne was shifted to the carry position.
While MidOne proved himself capable as OG's carry player, Ceb commented that the team just "never clicked", which resulted in their struggles in the European regional league — arguably the strongest region in the circuit — and their failure to qualify for the Singapore Major.
“Competitive synergy is something very unique and complex. Yeik is one of the best players we have played with, and we worked very hard for months and made a lot of improvements… but unfortunately it never 'clicked'. It happens sometimes. We want to wish him the best of luck moving forward and hope he finds a great team where he can shine,” said Ceb.
“I want to thank Yeik for his hard work, and for the sacrifices he has made for OG and for the Team. He is an extraordinary player, and is unfortunate we couldn’t get better results together. Thank you Yeik, and best of luck!” added OG captain Johan "N0tail" Sundstein.
With MidOne's departure, OG said that they will be welcoming a carry player for the second season of the 2019 DPC soon. Fans of the team are hoping this will mark the return of ana, who was instrumental in winning OG its back-to-back TI championships.
MidOne is one of the best players to have come out of Southeast Asia, with his talents even being sought after by Western teams. He got his start as the midlaner for Fnatic from 2015 to 2016 and helped the team to a fourth place finish in TI6 during his time there.
MidOne left Fnatic in August 2016 to move to Europe and join Team Secret, with whom he played for over three years. In his time as Secret's midlaner, MidOne helped the team qualify to three-straight TI's and even earned another Top 4 finish in TI9. He left Secret in December 2019 prior to joining OG.
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