Talon Esports announced on Wednesday (19 January) that they have mutually parted ways with Israeli captain Tal "Fly" Aizik and Filipino carry player Kim "Gabbi" Villafuerte after a disappointing run in Division II of the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Southeast Asian regional league.
Talon made waves as they entered Dota 2 with a roster headlined by Fly, Gabbi, and Damien "kpii" Chok last November. However, the team were unable to meet the expectations that came with having such a star-studded squad.
Talon ended the season's first Tour with a 3-4 record, meaning they fall well short of promotion to Division I of the DPC's Southeast Asian regional league and will remain in Division II for the next Tour.
Talon's only three wins of the Tour notably came against InterActive Philippines, who have already been eliminated, as well as Army Geniuses and 496, who are both fighting to avoid being the second team eliminated from the league.
The team's losses also came against teams that have locked up the Top 4 spots in Division II, including Polaris Esports, Nigma Galaxy SEA, Ragdoll, and Lilgun. Talon's last match of the Tour notably ended in a 0-2 sweep against Lilgun.
In a statement on its official Twitter page, Talon said that the ongoing impact of the coronavius pandemic on travel restrictions in Southeast Asia has been a "challenge" for the team's players and is what led to the departures of Fly and Gabbi.
"Given how COVID-19 has already affected the competitive scene, we believe both players and management should share the same mindset and values to navigate through the remainder of this year. The ever-changing circumstances hasn't allowed all parties to align optimally, thus Fly and Gabbi have safely returned home and will be allowed to seek new teams, effective immediately," Talon added.
The first Tour for Division II of the Southeast Asian regional league will end on 20 January, with Talon adding that they will be using the offseason re-evaluate the roster and prepare to compete in the second Tour in March.
The 2021-2022 DPC season has been split into three Tours for the Fall, Winter, and Spring, with the regional leagues taking place from November 2021 to July 2022.
However, the Fall Major was canceled over concerns that the spread of the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants would make hosting an international LAN tournament unfeasible.