Puppey Power; TI's ONLY all-timer left
Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov stands alone as the only player who has had the honor to compete at every International every year since its inception.
This year marks the tenth iteration of the famed and most prestigious Dota 2 event —The International. Ninety players will be heading to TI10 in Bucharest, Romania for the greatest Dota 2 event of the year.
Through the years some players have had the honor of multiple appearances. As those years passed, the faces changed and the baton was passed.
In 2017 and 2018 the shortlist of TI all-timers shrank to four. Kuro 'Kuroky' Salehi Takhasomi, Saahil 'UNiVeRsE' Arora, Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov, and Liang "DDC" Faming stood out as a true exemplification of commitment through the years, withstanding the test of time and hard work as being part of a dying breed.
In 2019, KuroKy and Puppey were the only two withstanding the test of time and hard work as part of a dying breed.
Now, in 2021, all that remains is Puppey.
Win or lose, this legend is deserving of the utmost respect.
Puppey is an incredibly versatile player and one of the most successful players in the Dota 2 scene. The Estonian’s first four years of gaming were mainly playing in various teams and compositions with some accomplishments. It wasn’t until June of 2011 that Clement would find himself a home on Na’Vi, where he would be a stable and prominent key player for the next three years.
Only two months after joining Na’Vi with Ivan 'ArtStyle' Antonov, Danil 'Dendi' Ishutin, Oleksandr 'XBOCT' Dashkevych, and Dmitriy 'LighTofHeaveN' Kupriyanov, The International 1 was at hand and the team got an invite after having received the beta keys to play the game only three weeks before. The team went undefeated throughout the whole tournament, winning the unprecedented $1,000,000 grand prize.
Puppey’s professionalism and talent landed him the captain role for the team after the departure of ArtStyle post-TI1. Under Clement’s leadership, Na’Vi would accumulate innumerable championship titles through the remainder of his tenure with them, including second place at TI2 and TI3. Following the unsatisfying results at TI4 of 7-8th place, Puppey and teammate Kuro 'KuroKy' Salehi Takhasomi parted ways with the Ukrainian organization and formed Team Secret.
Team Secret had made a tremendous splash onto the Dota 2 landscape when they appeared. Kicking arse and taking names the team destroyed their opponents and easily became one of the utter favorites to win TI5. Some internal problems would create an upset, thrusting the team into some disarray with a 7-8th place finish. Months, in fact until recently would be rife with drama, conflict, and instability. TI6 saw the team’s low point with a 13-16th finish.
For Puppey, this was just a matter of retooling the lineup and strategy. With a rocky start laden with much instability, Team Secret’s year leading to TI7 had been rough, but later in the season, the team seemed to have found a rhythm that hints at success – giving Puppey a promising chance at making a second claim to The International trophy but ended with a disappointing 9-12th place finish.
Team Secret had ended the season in 2018 in 4th place in the DPC rankings and in the top 4 again but ended with a 5-6th place finish and at TI9 he was able to finally move up to 4th place.
As he inches closer and close to the podium, one can only hope that this will be the year that would be most fitting for Puppey to land his second Aegis —a poetic circle of life and celebration of ten International appearances.
The International 10
The International 10 is now expected to take place in October with the group stage matches unfolding October 7 - 10, the playoffs set to kick off on the 12th of the month, and the grand finals scheduled for October 17.
It will be held at the National Arena from Bucharest, Romania —the largest stadium in the capital city, with a capacity of 55,000 seats. Valve’s official announcement gives a small hint for the possibility of having TI10 held with a live audience as well, however, no details were revealed just yet on the specifics or the ticket sales.