A back-to-back TI champion may just join the crew.
The current world champions, Tundra Esports, might be moving towards a drastic roster shift just two months before The International 2023 (TI12). Leon "Nine" Kirilin's Dota 2 account has been spamming tons of support heroes in the past week. This leads to speculations of Nine filling in Martin "Saksa" Sazdov's position, who has been affected by health issues throughout 2023. Rumors have it that the back-to-back TI champion, Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen, will potentially join Tundra's lineup.
It is two days before the Dota 2 roster lock and something is brewing on the side of Tundra Esports. In the past few LAN tournaments, Tundra Esports have been competing with an incomplete roster. This is because the team's pos 4, Saksa, has been on and off the competitive scene due to health issues. And it seems like Saksa might miss the grand tournament this time around.
There are no official announcements or mentions of Saksa taking a break. But in the last eight days, Nine's account has been detected spamming pos 4 heroes like Skywrath Mage, Rubick, and Shadow Demon. His smurf account is also filled with support heroes.
This led to speculations that Nine, who is the official midlaner for Tundra Esports, will be switching roles to position 4. And this aligns with Saksa's constant absence in the past LAN tournaments, such as DreamLeague Season 19 and Bali Major.
A lot of people in the community believe it's not an impossible scenario. Nine is known to play unconventional mid heroes such as Tusk, Winter Wyvern and Keeper of the Light - most of which are traditionally position 4 heroes. His playstyle is also very flexible in movement, making him a suitable roamer.
Is Topson stepping in for Tundra Esports?
If it is true that Saksa wouldn't be able to play and Nine is assuming the support position, there would be an empty slot in Tundra's midlane position. And Topson is currently looking hot as a free agent.
Topson is one of the strongest midlaners in the world who last played with Old G. But the team disbanded recently, right ahead of TI12 Qualifiers. Following floating rumors, Topson's official YouTube account memed about the case, casually posting a photo of the player smiling.
Is Saksa going to miss TI12? Will Topson actually join former rivals, Tundra Esports at TI12? Or are fans just entangled in this mental gymnastics?