Two iconic North American (NA) Dota players have retired. Peter “PPD” Dager’s leadership shaped competitive Dota and developed NA into an international competitor. Saahil “Universe” Arora represented NA Dota internationally since the game revolutionized esports.
Who we’ve lost
PPD earned a reputation of being a clever captain by dispelling NA’s early reputation of being an underdog. With few accomplishments to be proud of, NA was not seen as serious international competition. Many players tried to fix the issues holding back NA Dota, but PPD built a team to solve a problem that held back teams internationally. PPD believed that “teams lack leadership,” which is “the biggest [issue] for any team: China’s teams, NA teams, EU teams.” PPD taught his teammates to “think bigger than the match that they’re playing,” and prioritize “progressing and getting better as a team.” Lead by PPD, EG had developed into a TI grand champion team in 2015 and became the first NA team to win TI
Prioritizing results over fame, PPD’s methods achieved success and earned him an unsavory reputation. In the peculiar farewell of his retirement announcement, PPD alluded to the controversial reputation he established throughout his career by thanking fans “whether [they] liked [him] or not.” PPD is open and honest about how he wins games, saying in an interview “I don’t care about my reputation, I am just trying to get good results. The results speak for themselves.” PPD unapologetically explained the motivation for his behaviour, saying that “If it leads to us winning games, that’s really the end goal.” He strives for success without remorse and has described himself as an “asshole” for doing so.
Universe demonstrated his dominance and represented NA at nearly every TI since Dota’s inception. Debuting with Clinton “Fear” Loomis at TI2011, NA Dota started with Universe. Throughout his successful career, Universe became know as a reliable and talented NA player by consistently competing at the highest level. Universe represented NA at six of the eight consecutive TIs he competed at.
Why we will remember them
Teaming up in 2014, PPD and Universe earned international respect for NA. Universe was playing on an undistinguished EG when he first competed with PPD in Dota. Joined by teammate, Fear, Universe stood in for PPD’s up and coming team, S A D B O Y S. United, the most talented players in NA achieved an impressive 16-2 record before EG signed the full roster. EG became the face of NA when they represented the region with a competitive showing at TI2014. Placing third, PPD and Universe earned NA its best performance to date.
PPD and Universe suffered a seemingly critical loss in 2015 before becoming TI champions. Prior to their appearance at TI, EG lost two core members of the team. Adding insult to injury, Ludwig “Zai” Wåhlberg and Artour “Arteezy” Babaev didn’t just leave EG, they joined a European team! Dedicated to development, the new roster grew as a team throughout the season and became the face of NA when EG won TI2015.
In 2016, PPD and Universe lead EG through the open qualifiers after suffering from their separation. PPD and Universe temporarily parted ways at the start of the season. Leaving EG and NA, Arteezy took Universe with him the second time he joined Secret. Both teams struggled to succeed with their new rosters and fans across NA longed for the EG they once had. After EG and Secret both had poor performances, Universe returned to EG and EG returned to the top as well.
However, the roster changes disqualified EG from earning a direct invite to TI that year. EG had to earn a spot at TI by competing in the open qualifiers. NA players entered the qualifiers for a chance to lose against the pride of their region. EG won the qualifiers and placed third at TI, continuing to solidify NA as a competitive region at an international level.
Although they no longer are representing NA in-game, PPD and Universe both helped develop the region and the game overall. With room for new faces, which teams and players will represent NA in the future? Follow us on Twitter and let us know!