Mind_ContRoL Set To Replace Masaros At TI12

07 Oct 2023
Tit Krajnik 07 Oct 2023
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  • Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov will step-in for Team SMG At The International 2023
  • The 28-year-old will replace Natthaphon "Masaros" Ouanphakdee
  • Masaros won't be able to compete at TI due to visa issues
MinD_ContRoL (credit: via Twitter (@TeamSMGofficial))
As confirmed by Dota 2 team SMG, their offlaner Natthaphon "Masaros" Ouanphakdee won't be able to compete at the upcoming The International 2023 due to visa issues. The 26-year-old will be replaced by former Team Liquid and current Nigma Galaxy offlaner Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov.

Team SMG have qualified for The International for the first time in the team's history but will have to attend the season-culminating event without one of its key players. As revealed on Saturday, October 7, Team SMG's offlaner Masaros has failed to secure his USA visa and won't be able to travel to Seattle to help his team compete for the coveted Aegis of Champions.

Fortunately, Team SMG found a replacement in MinD_ContRoL, who agreed to help the team as a stand-in since his team, Nigma Galaxy, failed to qualify for the tournament.

Team SMG have had quite a turbulent season and have struggled to accomplish much since the turn of the year. The squad finished DPC SEA 2023 Tour 1: Division I in fifth place, and while they found more traction in April, when they placed third in DPC SEA 2023 Tour 2: Division I, Team SMG failed to make much noise on the international stage.

At ESL One Berlin Major 2023, SMG crashed out from the group stage in 15th-16th place, and two months later, they produced another worrying performance in DPC SEA 2023 Tour 3: Division I, where they placed fifth. However, despite the struggles Team SMG have shown over the season, the Malaysian Dota 2 squad managed to fight their way through The International 2023 - Southeast Asia Qualifier and qualify for TI12.

Their late-season success was largely thanks to Masaros, who joined the team in May as a part of a roster rebuild which Team SMG initiated following their abysmal run in Berlin. Unfortunately, despite playing a key role in Team SMG's resurgence,  Masaros won't be able to help his squad at The International 2023.

"Team SMG regrets to inform that our player Masaros has not been successful at acquiring his USA visa despite multiple attempts."

"Whilst we continue to pursue visas for our core player, Mind_ContRoL will stand in as backup for Team SMG during the tournament while we await further updates from the embassy. We'd like to thank Nigma Galaxy for their assistance despite such short notice and the fans for their continued support."

Thankfully, Team SMG managed to get ahold of MinD_ContRoL from Nigma Galaxy, who is probably one of the best replacements Team SMG could've gotten. MinD_ContRoL is a former TI champion and one of the most experienced players in the scene. He will now get a chance to play his first TI since 2019 after his team failed to qualify for the event for the third year in a row.