5 Dota 2 Superstars Who Are no Longer Playing Professionally

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5 Dota 2 Superstars Who Are no Longer Playing Professionally

All good things must come to an end, and while these players may perhaps come out of retirement at some point, they are sorely missed in the present.

Dota 2 is a highly competitive game with an intense pro scene that can leave even the most seasoned veterans exhausted. As a result, not many players stay pro for more than a few years regardless of how good they’ve been over the course of their careers. Burnout, health issues, and just plain aging and falling out of form all contribute to players either becoming coaches, talent or leaving the scene completely. 

With everyone buzzing about Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen ending his career, and many others rumored to be leaving the scene post-TI, here are five other legendary players who no longer play at a pro level.

Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat 

One of the most dangerous support players in the world, YapzOr is known for his flashy but effective plays. The Jordanian is blessed with a sense of timing far surpassing almost anyone else's, and this is matched in kind by his razor-sharp game sense. 

After coming onto the scene as part of Escape Gaming, but the organization's ill-fated TI6 run saw YapzOr without a team. He then proceeded to form a team with several well-known faces from the community, but the team would never quite taste success. It wasn’t until mid-2017 that he shot to stardom, replacing Johan “pieliedie” Åström on Team Secret where he began showing what he is truly capable of.

Five years on, the 27-year-old is a role model for Soft Support players around the world, with numerous accolades to his name and many a highlight reel. His signature Heroes include Earthshaker, Rubick, Earth Spirit, and Enigma. 

Sadly, Jaradat had to go on what was called an “extended break” in July 2022 for issues related to his health. We can only hope that he overcomes his injury and comes back at some point. He has, in the meantime, been on Janne “Gorgc” Stefanovski’s stream during TI11, playing the role of a co-caster. 

Saahil “Universe” Arora

An icon of the Offlane role, this handsome American-born player of Indian descent was a staple of The International between 2012 and 2018. With a massive Hero pool and regardless of the meta, he could shine in his role by turning the tide of any game with his clinical, textbook playing style.

Universe’s career began with brief stints on a few teams — most notably It’s Gosu eSports with fellow Indian-American Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale — before he joined Evil Geniuses for the first time in May of 2012. After a poor showing at TI, he moved to Quantic Gaming for a month and spent most of the next year with Team Dignitas. Following this, his most successful stint with EG was between late 2013 and early 2016, a time during which he won TI5 among many other tournaments. 

Following a short, notorious spell on Team Secret, he rejoined EG for another year and a half before leaving for good. His next couple of years were spent on different teams a few months at a time before he left the scene around the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

To this day, his legendary Earthshaker from TI5’s Grand Final remains one of the most memorable Main Stage performances, and he was also a prolific Dark Seer and Clockwork player. Arora hasn’t been seen on the scene since his retirement in early 2020.

Song “Sccc” Chun

Once one of the greatest Mid players in the world, Sccc’s crowning achievement was reaching the Grand Final of TI7. The result of that series notwithstanding, Sccc was just terrifyingly good at his peak, decimating his counterparts and taking over entire games with his exemplary gameplay. 

The Chinese veteran’s career began following 3 years of service in the military. Sccc joined Newbee Young in 2015, but after failing to secure a spot at TI and the main team of Newbee themselves having a poor run at the competition, he was promoted into the latter. 

The move seemed to elevate his performance even more, with the Chinese outfit winning multiple events over the next couple of years. However, after Newbee failed to make it to TI9, the squad was released and Sccc joined then newly-formed Team Aster. Despite a few decent results, however, things quickly slid downhill, and when a move to EHOME didn’t work either, Chun became a caster instead.

Chun was absolutely incredible on Invoker, Storm Spirit, and Morphling, among a wide variety of other Heroes. At his peak, he was one of the best players of several Heroes including the aforementioned trio. Even today, many Chinese players consider him their idol.

Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka

The man who was termed “the savior of OG” is, with two TIs under his belt, unquestionably one of the greatest support players ever to grace the game. A master of the art of playmaking, JerAx played a unique brand of entertaining and risky Dota that is sorely missed on the scene today.

JerAx played for a number of EU stacks before making his first foray into TI territory as part of long-defunct Korean side MVP HOT6ix. After that, inclusion into Team Liquid saw JerAx finding increased recognition, but after a disappointing TI, that stint ended as well.

It was with OG that JerAx reached true legend status, most notably winning two Majors and becoming one of the only five people in the world to have won two TIs. It seemed as though when it came to Valve events, Jesse could do absolutely no wrong. 

Vainikka’s signature Heroes include Earth Spirit and Rubick, two Heroes which only one or two players have ever reached his level. He was also brilliant on Io, Earthshaker, and Tiny. Since the end of his short-lived stay on EG after coming out of retirement earlier this year, he has shifted to a coaching role with his former side Team Liquid. 

Lu “Somnus” Yao

In the hullabaloo over MATUMBAMAN’s departure from the pro scene, the exit of Lu “Somnus” Yao, formerly known as “Maybe,” has been somewhat overlooked. The RNG player, who was unfortunately knocked out in the first round of the TI Playoffs this year after playing the longest ever Main Stage game against Entity, was no less talented than anyone else on this list. 

Somnus began his career on Vici Gaming, but he made his name while playing with LGD and its offshoots. He was in LGD.CDEC and even stayed on CDEC Gaming when it changed its name to that. 

It wasn’t until 2015 that his longest stint on LGD began. He stayed with the team for almost 5 and a half years, pushing through failures and successes — the biggest of which was a TI Grand Final and another Lower Bracket Final — before he was finally released in 2020. He then joined Elephant and subsequently Royal Never Give Up, but neither could soar to the same heights as LGD. 

Somnus’ Kunkka, Shadow Fiend, and Storm Spirit are almost mythical, and his Hero pool consists of just about any Mid Hero one can think of. He is by far the most recent retiree on the list, having announced his exit with a dramatic communique just after RNG were eliminated from TI11. 

There won’t be any major Dota events for a while since the end of TI, but we’ll bring you plenty of Dota content in the meantime. 

5 Dota 2 Superstars Who Are no Longer Playing Professionally
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.