The longest-standing record in Dota 2 and arguably one of the best in all of esports has been broken. Clement “Puppey” Ivanov will not be going to The International 2023.
Dota 2 has a number of different “birthdays” and while the 10th Anniversary Event might disagree, its true birthday came in 2011 with the first installment The International. Puppey, Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, and the rest of the Natus Vincere team won the event and its $1 million first-place prize. While a number of players from that event still compete to this day, Puppey was the only one who qualified for every TI that followed.
That run has officially ended. A disappointing season for Team Secret has been punctuated with an elimination from the qualifiers to The International 2023. That ends Puppey’s streak of going to the event at 11.
Why isn’t Puppey at The International 2023?
Puppey and Team Secret failed to qualify for The International 2023 after a difficult Dota Pro Circuit season and an elimination from the European regional qualifiers.
Team Secret has had some rough patches over the years, but it has largely been an elite Dota 2 team. That wasn’t the case in 2023, however.
After coming in second at The International 2022, longtime core player Michał “Nisha” Jankowski left to join Team Liquid and has had great success since then. While Team Secret typically boasts five credentialed and talented players, Nisha has been widely regarded as the best individual talent in the game for years. Even though the rest of Team Secret’s TI11 roster stayed intact, it started the DPC season with a last-place finish in the first European league tour.
This led to relegation to division two and the release of two players. Secret returned to the upper division with a strong second tour, but once again finished in last place in the third tour with a 1-6 record. Another player’s release followed.
Puppey and Team Secret posted a deep run in The International 2023 qualifiers, besting OG and Level UP. However, losses to eventual winners Entity and Quest Esports led to their elimination.
Is Puppey retiring from Dota 2?
Puppey has given no indication that he plans to retire from Dota 2 esports despite having his TI qualification streak broken.
The veteran captain posted a rare tweet after the elimination. Though he was seemingly demoralized by the defeat, he also gave no indication of plans to step away from the game. Puppey likely remains one of the best captains in Dota 2 and has been able to adapt to every meta change the game has seen.
Team Secret is almost certainly going to receive a major overhaul after The International 2023, but Puppey is likely to remain at the helm of the team. The question is who might come in around him.