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Fly and Gabbi seek new teams after Talon Esports departure

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Well, that ship sank before it even set sail. Talon Esports’ announced that Tal “Fly” Aizik and Kim “Gabbi” Villafuerte are parting ways with the team after a single DPC Tour. Now there have been many speculations as to what caused this, but one thing’s for certain. It’s probably because Talon Esports is a massive letdown.

We are heading into a mini-offseason in Dota 2, and we wonder where both players could land before Tour 2, and which replacements can Talon look to going forward.

He simply can’t catch a break

Why did Fly and Gabbi leave Talon Esports?

Talon Esports debut in the Dota Pro Circuit 2022 season with high hopes and expectations. Yet, they concluded the DPC2021-22 with only a fifth-place to show. Bravo for not getting eliminated from Division 2.

Anyways, digging deeper into this, it’s evident that Talon Esports didn’t perform as well as they hoped. Many pointed out that Fly and Gabbi played exceptionally for the most part, but the rest of the team just couldn’t deliver the same level of gameplay. Unfortunately, the blame seemingly fell onto Damien “kpii” Chok, Talon’s offlane player. To kpii’s justice, the offlane role is plausibly the toughest to play in, considering the opposing team will drive you out.

The other carry player, Rafli Fathur “Mikoto” Rahman also takes the brunt of the blame for his underwhelming performance. What’s contradicting is that Mikoto has been phenomenal last season, but this significant dip in not just his performance but playstyle raised quite the debate among fans.

Yet, Fly and Gabbi were the ones to leave, as they couldn’t really relocate fully and synergize with the team in the long run.

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Troubled waters: The NLC is struggling to stay afloat after Riot’s sweeping changes to EMEA

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Before the new year begins, Riot Games revealed an entire treasure chest of changes headed to the European League of Legends scene, including a regional name change, new formats for the LEC, and a new ecosystem for tier two organizations. One league, however, is struggling to tread in these new waters: the NLC.

NLC teams are reportedly struggling to find funding and sponsors for the 2023 season due to the unstable situation in the league, according to independent journalist Brieuc Seeger. Recently, multiple major esports teams have pulled out of the league, including Excel Esports and Dusty Esports. Bifrost has also reportedly parted ways with all of its League staff, according to Seeger.

The league has been running since 2020, and has featured the Academy teams of several major European esports organizations, like Excel Esports, Astralis, and Fnatic. After an unsuccessful year in terms of finances, however, the NLC was forced to downsize its entire operation and become a non-accredited league. As a result, Seeger also said that sponsors are now hesitant to fund the league, especially after the NLC’s prize money and stipends were reduced from 200,000 to 45,000.

Related: LEC is getting a new look in 2023: Riot introduces 3 splits and over 300 games

“We tried our best throughout the year but sadly, we did not hit our partnership goals due to the current market situation,” the NLC said in a statement. “As such, it is no longer financially viable to continue at the level at which we have been operating. Therefore we have to take a step back for 2023 to establish an alternative path to lead the NLC into the future.”

There will be two splits in the year, one pro-am tournament called the Aurora Cup, and there will be eight or 10 teams competing in 2023, depending on the feedback from the teams. If the situation worsens, however, the NLC might need some major help in the coming months if this league wants to survive the new year.



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k0nfig returns to CS:GO for Heroic at BLAST Premier World Finals

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Heroic have confirmed ex-Astralis player Kristian ‘k0nfig’ Wienecke will compete for the team as a stand-in for Martin ‘stavn’ Lund for the upcoming BLAST World Final 2022. Heroic made the decision to rest stavn for the end of the season.

k0nfig returns to CS:GO for his first LAN appearance since September’s ESL Pro League Season 16, after his Astralis contract was terminated a month later amidst reports of a brutal altercation in Malta. Astralis released k0nfig amidst a roster shake-up for the Danish outfit, also bringing back Nicolai ‘dev1ce’ Reedtz around the same time after a period of mixed results for the four-time major champions.

k0nfig returns to CS:GO - is it a risk?

Heroic released a statement on Twitter to confirm the news, after rumors spread early on Sunday regarding his possible involvement. 

k0nfig returns to CS:GO: is it a risk for Heroic?

Heroic find themselves in career-defining form, coming agonizingly close as runners-up at the amazing IEM Rio Major 2022. Just weeks later, Casper ‘cadiaN’ Møller and his team were on top of the world, defeating FaZe Clan in their hometown of Copenhagen at BLAST Premier: Fall Finals 2022. Though k0nfig is undeniably a skilled player, Heroic will be desperately hoping he can avoid controversy during his stint with the Danes.

Heroic will be aware that taking on a currently-controversial figure represents a huge risk, especially as they find themselves as one of the best CSGO teams in the world. Excitement around this Heroic roster has been building for a few months now, so if k0nfig can keep results ticking along quietly, the team will see that as a great return on their investment. 



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Doubling down on Matthews: TSM adds Ari and Whitemon to Dota 2 roster

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TSM’s Dota 2 roster has been going through major changes after the team’s disappointing run at The International 2022. Earlier in the roster shuffle season, TSM parted ways with Dubu, moved MoonMeander to the coach position, and the organization announced Matthew “Ari” Walker and Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon would take on their mantle.

In addition to Evil Geniuses moving to South America, TSM’s latest roster move is one of the most intriguing in the North American Dota 2 region. Not only did the team bring in two talents from two different parts of the world, but the roster got dramatically younger in the process.

MoonMeander and Dubu are 30 and 29 years old, respectively, while Ari is 19 and Whitemon is 22. With MoonMeander moving to a coaching position, it looks like TSM decided to bring in young talent in the hopes of developing them in NA.

Despite his young age, Whitemon has been a part of strong rosters in SEA like Geek Fam and T1. Ari, on the other hand, was only beginning to participate in the Dota Pro Circuit, as he only previously played with Into The Breach. Ari’s resume might look a little short in Dota for now, but his past speaks volumes.

Ari is a former Heroes of the Storm professional player who made the transition to Dota 2 in 2019 after HotS scrapped its esports scene. Only two years after making the switch, Ari reached 9,000 MMR and 11,000 MMR in 2022. His ability to learn rapidly and improve in an unmatched speed were recognized by other European talents, and Ari made it to the TI11 WEU qualifiers with Into The Breach, finishing fourth.

With TSM’s roster getting even younger, it will be up to coach MoonMeander to shape the hot-blooded talent into the best versions of themselves. The current iteration of TSM features:

  • Enzo “Timado” O’Connor
  • Jonathan “Bryle” Guia
  • Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek
  • Matthew “Ari” Walker
  • Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon

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