The International 10 (TI10) champions Team Spirit announced on Wednesday (7 December) that they have parted ways with midlaner Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek following the team's mixed performances in the past 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season.
In a statement posted on their official Twitter account, Spirit said that "the club decided that changes to their Dota 2 roster were required" due to the team's performance in 2022.
Despite remaining the dominant force in the DPC's Eastern European regional league and winning the PGL Arlington Major, Team Spirit struggled mightily in TI11 last October.
The champions of TI10 failed to retake the Aegis of Champions and bombed out in 13th-16th place after losing to BOOM Esports in the first round of the lower bracket.
With those results in mind, Team Spirit said they decided to part ways with TORONTOTOKYO "after long consultations and dialogue with each player, and working through a variety of options for further development of the team".
The 25-year-old midlaner started his professional career in 2020 when he joined the Yellow Submarine stack that would eventually become the Team Spirit roster that won TI10.
TORONTOTOKYO was instrumental to the Team Spirit's incredible run to the championship for his playmaking, hyper-aggressive playstyle, and supreme confidence — epitomised by him all-chatting "ez game" as his team eliminated OG in the lower bracket.
In Team Spirit's epic victory over PSG.LGD in the Grand Finals of TI10, it was revealed in the accompanying True Sight that TORONTOTOKYO made the series-winning call to pick Magnus over Tiny in game five. Of course, the midlaner's incredible play was also crucial to his team raising the Aegis of Champions.
With Team Spirit's victory at TI10, TORONTOTOKYO notably became a member of the exclusive club of TI Royal Roaders — players that won TI in their first time playing in it.
Team Spirit and its Dota 2 manager Dmitry "Korb3n" Belov thanked TORONTOTOKYO for his time with the team, wishing the midlaner success in his future career.
"In two years on Team Spirit, Alexander has grown from a talented player who loves Dota 2 to a professional who has proven himself at the highest level. His nickname will forever stay in the history of our organisation, but it's time to move on and say goodbye. We wish Alexander success in his future career and thank him for the time he spent with us," said Team Spirit.
"Today, I wish a great guy and world champion success in his future. No eating my heart out or tearing my hair. TORONTOTOKYO is an absolute chad, we'll meet again both in Dota and in the first-floor restaurant. Thank you and see you again," added Korb3n.
TORONTOTOKYO also thanked Team Spirit, his now-former teammates, and his fans in a separate statement, highlighting that "everything is for the better" with his departure.
"The past two years were cool! I met a lot of people I now consider my friends. I gained useful experience both in game and in life. I'd like to say thanks to my teammates and the entire Team Spirit staff for all this time! A special thank you to all the fans who rooted for us and for me personally! Keep following me, my goal remains the same - to win every tournament. And remember: everything is for the better," said TORONTOTOKYO.
Team Spirit have yet to reveal TORONTOTOKYO's replacement, but are expected to do so in the coming days as the roster lock for the 2023 DPC season is on 9 December. TORONTOTOKYO is also expected to announce his new team soon.
TORONTOTOKYO's departure from Team Spirit is the latest of many developments in the global Dota 2 scene's ongoing post-TI11 roster shuffle.
With Tundra Esports standing victorious as the champions of TI10, the rest of the scene is scrambling to assemble the best rosters possible for another bid to claim the Aegis of Champions next year.
For all the biggest moves in the ongoing Dota 2 post-TI roster shuffle, you should know about, check here.
Team Spirit roster:
Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk
Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov
Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov
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