European Dota 2 powerhouse Team Secret have finally unveiled their full line-up for the upcoming 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season on Thursday (18 November), with North American superstar Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan completing the roster as their midlaner.
"Charisma, swagger, talent, and a long list of accolades herald Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan’s arrival to Team Secret. Long live the King," Secret said in a statement.
"Known for his Storm Spirit and aggressive Aegis steal attempts, for years SumaiL has continued to demonstrate his exceptional raw talent, instinct and focus. He is explosive, fearless, and a terrifying opponent. He is short-listed as one of the best NA players of all time, and the young prodigy has grown into one of the most legendary and famed core players in the world."
SumaiL will be taking over the midlane role in Team Secret from Michal "Nisha" Jankowski, who has shifted to the carry role to accommodate his new teammate.
Hours before announcing SumaiL's entry into the team, Secret also revealed that Singaporean star Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang will be their new offlaner.
With SumaiL and iceiceice now joining Nisha, Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat, and Clement "Puppey" Ivanov, Secret now boasts what is arguably the most talented roster in the entire DPC.
Secret's new star-studded roster also makes them the heavy favorites to dominate the 2021-2022 DPC's Western European regional league.
The Return of the King
SumaiL is widely considered as one of the best Dota 2 players of all time, starting his professional career as a highly-talented prodigy at just 15 years old. He then became the youngest player ever to raise the Aegis of Champions when he led Evil Geniuses (EG) to the championship of The International 5 (TI5) in 2015, which also earned him the moniker of "the King."
SumaiL played with EG until 2020, fueling the team's dominance over North America and helping them to two Top 3 finishes at TI in 2016 and 2018.
After a brief stint with his brother, Yawar "YawaR" Hassan, in Quincy Crew, SumaiL's next team was two-time TI champions OG. SumaiL first joined OG in January last year for the 2019-2020 DPC season, helping the team qualify for the ESL One Los Angeles Major 2020 before both the tournament and the circuit itself were cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time, SumaiL was unable to join the rest of OG in Europe as he was stuck in the United States due to international travel restrictions. While SumaiL was still able to play with OG online, his performance was understandably hampered by ping issues and contributed to the team's struggles. As a result, SumaiL left the team last July.
SumaiL returned to competitive play in April as a stand-in for Team Liquid offlaner Samuel "Boxi" Svahn, who took a temporary break from competitive play "to be with his family." SumaiL helped Liquid finish in second place in Season 2 of the DPC's Western European regional league and earn a direct seed to the Group Stage of the WePlay AniMajor.
However, Liquid struggled mightily during the AniMajor and failed to qualify for the Playoffs. Boxi then returned to Liquid earlier this month, prompting SumaiL's departure from the team. SumaiL then returned to OG in June and helped them secure a spot at TI10 through the Western European qualifiers.
Despite a strong start in TI10's Group Stage, OG stumbled in its first match in the Main Event against Secret and were dropped down to the lower bracket.
While the two-time champions survived their first elimination match against Quincy Crew, their hopes for a three-peat were dashed after they got swept out of the tournament by eventual TI10 champions Team Spirit. SumaiL then announced his departure from OG alongside Martin "Saksa" Sazdov earlier this month.
The post-TI10 roster shuffle
Secret were notably the first team among those that finished in the Top 8 of TI10 to make changes to their roster in the post-TI10 roster shuffle with the departures of zai and MATUMBAMAN. OG soon followed with the departures of SumaiL and Saksa.
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 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
Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan
Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang
Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat
Clement "Puppey" Ivanov
Lee "Heen" Seung Gon (coach)