Support player Saahil “UNIVERSE” Arora was released Tuesday from Ninjas in Pyjamas’ Dota 2 roster, a move prompted by the team’s strategy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Universe, a 30-year-old from Wisconsin, and offlaner Rodrigo “Lelis” Santos, a 23-year-old from Brazil, were replaced on the roster by “stand-ins” Roman “Ramzes” Kushnarev and Milan “MiLAN” Kozomara, respectively, on March 26. However, on April 4, team captain Peter “ppd” Dager of the United States announced that Evgeniy “Blizzy” Ree would be taking over for Ramzes.
The moves were made ahead of ESL One Los Angeles Online’s Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States competition.
On Tuesday, NiP announced that it is parting with UNIVERSE permanently.
The team wrote on its website, “Due to the situation with COVID-19 and the consequent move to regional competition, we are forced to restructure our line-up in DotA2 to ensure continued practice and competition. Therefore, we have to make the tough decision of releasing Saahil “UNIVERSE” Arora from the roster.
“A fundamental part of our DotA 2 strategy is to build towards a core of players that can last way beyond the short term TI cycles. We’re getting closer to that goal but we still have some ways to go in terms of finding exactly what works for us and what we are trying to achieve.
“The prevailing situation in competitive DotA forces us all to reevaluate how to run a team and requires a more regionalized approach for the foreseeable future. Saahil has been a loyal and solid player for NiP, and any team would be lucky to host his commitment to the grind. Good luck, Saahil. It’s been a pleasure to have you with us.”
Blizzy, a 25-year-old from Kyrgyzstan, and MiLAN, a 24-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina, are now teaming with Russia’s Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin, Great Britain’s Jason Connor “TANNER” Weedon and ppd. NiP are off to a 1-1 start in Group B play in the ESL One Los Angeles Europe/CIS event following a 2-0 loss to Team Secret on Tuesday.
NiP also are slated to compete in the WePlay! Pushka League beginning April 23.
–Field Level Media