Dota 2 fans from around the globe will have the opportunity to watch the best Dota 2 teams really soon. Starting on 12 October, 20 of the world’s best clubs will go head to head in the USA to compete for the big prize. Although we’re still not sure how much this year's prize pool will be, we know the event will be held in Seattle.
We’ve already covered some of the big teams we’ll see at TI 12, but we’ve yet to discuss the current champions. Although many people didn’t expect Tundra Esports to lift the Aegis in 2022, the team surprised its fans. In fact, many Dota 2 fans think it was the most dominant victory out of any TI so far.
Although this puts the team in a good position for the upcoming event, their most recent results aren’t that good. Sure, Tundra Esports secured a direct invitation for The International 12, but the team’s performance has been a bit underwhelming this past DPC season. With that said, let’s look into Tundra’s roster and results through 2023.
Tundra Esports roster overview
Tundra Esports is a really interesting organization based in the UK. All Dota 2 fans know the org thanks to their decision to acquire mudgolems, a fairly new team who were making their first step in the game in 2021. After this, and in large part thanks to Adrian "Fata" Trinks, who used to be a part of the squad, Tundra Esports quickly became one of the most dominant forces in Western Europe.
The original roster from 2021 is almost the same today, but there is one change Fata left the squad in early 2022, joining Quincy Crew. To fill in the gap, Tundra invited none other than Martin "Saksa" Sazdov, a player with good international LAN experience, having reached the final of TI a few years prior.
Tundra Esports’s performance through 2022 was excellent, winning many of the biggest tournaments throughout the season. But as TI 11 drew closer, Tundra became exceptionally strong, as a team they understood the latest Dota 2 patch at the time, patch 7.32c, far better than their closest competitors. People who’ve followed the most prestigious Dota 2 competition closely over the years probably weren’t as surprised to see Tundra lift the Aegis in Singapore, because the squad had no competition who could match their mastery over the meta.
Considering Tundra only made one roster change over the last 2 years, we’re not expecting to see anything new for TI 12, making their lineup:
- Oliver "skiter" Lepko
- Leon "Nine" Kirilin
- Neta "33" Shapira
- Martin "Saksa" Sazdov
- Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu
Tundra Esports’s Results in 2023
Considering this team won The International 12, it’s not surprising people had a lot of expectations of them. While it’s true that Tundra Esports did not crumble like other TI winners (such as Wings Gaming), their results have not been great this year.
If we start with The Lima Major 2023, the first event of the year, we can see Tundra’s performance was not as solid as it was a few months prior. The team finished 6th in Group A, which meant it had to play in the Lower Bracket. Although it was the big favorite against Team Aster, the TI 11 champions weren’t able to eliminate their opponent, ultimately losing the game.
Moving on to DreamLeague Season 19, things weren’t looking that different from the Major. Even though Tundra Esports finished second in its group and secured a slot for the second group stage, they weren’t able to maintain their consistency after reaching that stage. In the end, the team ended up in the lower bracket of the Playoffs, where they lost the match against Shopify Rebellion.
The ESL One Berlin Major 2023 was definitely better for Leon "Nine" Kirilin and the rest of the TI champions. Tundra Esports achieved a pretty impressive result in the group, securing themselves one of the Upper Bracket slots. In fact, they even eliminated PSG.LGD, but they lost the series against 9Pandas. Sadly for Oliver "skiter" Lepko and his team mates, they were forced to face Team Liquid in the lower bracket, a match that didn’t end in their favor.
While Tundra Esports had a lot of hopes for DreamLeague Season 20. Unfortunately, this was probably one of the worst tournaments of 2023 for the team. After a dreadful performance, Tundra was eliminated in the Group Stage, something most Dota 2 fans weren’t expecting to happen.
The Bali Major was probably their best tournament so far. The last Major of the year — featuring the best teams of the DPC’s final 2023 Tour, but this didn’t prevent Tundra from shining and securing a top 4 finish in the group.
What’s interesting is Tundra lost the first round to the BetBoom Team. However, since the latter was found to have cheated by watching another person’s stream, Valve decided to give the victory to Tundra. Thanks to this free win, Tundra proceeded to the next round, also defeating Team Liquid before being knocked down into the lower bracket by Gaimin Gladiators. Once the squad went to the lower bracket, they lost in their match against Team Liquid.
The last tournament Tundra Esports competed in this year was the Riyadh Masters 2023. Even though this was considered one of the most important events of the year besides TI 12, the squad wasn’t able to do much in the way of impressive results. In fact, the team finished 6th during the Group Stage, which was the last nail in the coffin.
Tundra Esports and their chances at The International 12
As we’ve seen, Tundra Esports’s performance in 2023 has been somewhat underwhelming. A lot of people expected more from the current TI champions, but it seems like the squad wasn’t able to adapt as well to the new meta this time around.
So far, OG is the only Dota 2 team who have successfully defended the Aegis. Tundra Esports has the chance to do the same, but it will be hard for the squad to succeed, considering its most recent results.
The good news for Nine’s squad is that through the years, we’ve seen many teams who didn’t perform well during the season and end up dominating at TI. We know anything can happen once the team’s take the stage. So, we can't wait to see what’s going to happen in Seattle.
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