European Dota 2 powerhouse Team Secret announced another roster change on Monday (15 November), this time with Finnish star carry player Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen departing from the team.
MATUMBAMAN's departure from Secret follows that of offlaner Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg, who parted ways with the team earlier this month to join Team Liquid.
Both zai and MATUMBAMAN leave Secret after helping the team to a third place finish in The International 10 (TI10) in mid-October, which was the organisation's best result in a TI over six appearances in the tournament dating back to 2015.
Secret said in a statement that they "would not have achieved so much if it wasn't for [MATUMBAMAN's] contributions" and expressed their gratitude for him being a "consistent motivation through all the ups and downs of competition, and the overall wonderful energy he brought to the team".
MATUMBAMAN first joined Secret back in November 2019, helping the team dominate the past two seasons of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC).
Aside from their third place finish in TI10, MATUMBAMAN also helped the team win DreamLeague Season 13: The Leipzig Major and many other tournaments — including an incredible streak of eight-straight online tournament wins from May to September 2020.
"The arrival of Matumbaman in our Secret DOTA2 squad back in November 2019 was a breath of fresh air that changed our whole approach to the game. Powerful as a carry, and hilarious as a teammate, Matu’s time with us for the last two years have led to some amazing DOTA, and some amazing times together as a team," said Secret.
"This isn’t just a story of lucky shorts. Lasse’s ability to play any hero and obliterate any opposition on the safe lane made him one of the most reliable pillars of our team through online tournaments, Majors, and this previous TI."
"Another chapter has ended, but never forgotten. Lasse is an amazing guy and I really enjoyed being teammates with him. We shared some great moments together and I am sure that we will keep crossing paths outside of our careers. Good luck to you Matu!" added Secret captain Clement "Puppey" Ivanov.
"I'm staring at this notepad and I'm a little bit at a loss for words. Writing pleasantries for the public has never been my style so let's just get down to it. Playing with the boys was a blast this past year. I appreciate each and everyone one of my [former] teammates, and would count each one of them a friend," said MATUMBAMAN.
MATUMBAMAN was most known for his time with Liquid from November 2015 to June 2019. With Liquid, MATUMBAMAN won the championship of TI7 in the only finals sweep in the history of the tournament, on top of winning one Major and finishing second in two others.
Secret was notably the first team among those that finished in the Top 8 of TI10 to make changes to its roster in the post-TI10 roster shuffle with the departures of zai and MATUMBAMAN. Two-time TI champions OG were the second after they parted ways with Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan and Martin "Saksa" Sazdov.
The roster shuffle began in earnest shortly after TI10, with teams that bombed out of the tournament such as Alliance, Fnatic, Thunder Predator, and SG Esports making changes to their rosters.
The post-TI10 roster shuffle
The competitive Dota 2 scene revolves around TI, Dota 2's yearly world championship tournament that has regularly broken the record for the biggest prize pool for a single esports event year after year. TI10 featured a US$40 million prize pool, with the lion's share of US$18.2 million as well as the coveted Aegis of Champions going to champions Team Spirit.
The yearly post-TI roster shuffles came as a result of the importance of TI to the game's competitive scene, with teams that either failed to qualify or placed poorly in the tournament often revamping their rosters in preparation for another run at the Aegis of Champions.
TI's importance in the scene has even manifested itself in how contracts between players and their organisations are structured, with most contracts ending with the conclusion of TI.
This arrangement has allowed both teams and players to explore their options and better prepare for the next iteration of the DPC and TI.
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.
Team Secret Dota 2 roster:
Michal "Nisha" Jankowski
Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat
Clement "Puppey" Ivanov
Lee "Heen" Seung Gon (coach)