8, Feb 2024
Taiga Retires From Pro Dota 2, However Concerns Emerge

Tommy “Taiga” Le, known for his time with some of Dota 2’s biggest organizations including Team Liquid, OG, and Alliance, has announced his retirement from professional esports to pursue a career as a full-time streamer.

Taiga, whose journey through the esports landscape has been nothing short of remarkable, revealed his plans to engage with his audience through platforms like Twitch and Kick.com, alongside offering coaching sessions through mfy.gg. This transition marks a new chapter for the player, who has faced significant personal challenges, including a gambling addiction that threatened to overshadow his professional achievements.

Taiga’s decision to retire comes after his brief tenure with Bleed Esports in the Southeast Asian region, from which he departed in December, merely a month after joining.

Taiga’s Journey in Pro Dota 2

Taiga’s journey in the world of Dota 2 has been marked by remarkable achievements, showcasing his talent and dedication to the game. As a player who has secured multiple first-place finishes in Tier 1 Dota 2 tournaments, Taiga’s career is a testament to his skill and strategic acumen. His victories at prestigious events like ESL One Germany 2020, ESL One Stockholm Major 2022, and ESL One Malaysia 2022, coupled with a Top 8 finish at The International 2022, highlight his status as a top competitor in the esports arena.

Notably, Taiga’s impact extends beyond his tournament successes. He made history as the first Norwegian player to attend The International in 2019, qualifying through the Dota Pro Circuit with Alliance. This achievement was further amplified when he won ESL Stockholm 2022 with OG, marking him as the first Norwegian player to win a DPC Major. 

He was also perhaps the first player in the Dota 2 pro scene to have openly talked about their gambling addictions. In an emotional and transparent statement released in October 2023, Taiga shared his harrowing experience with gambling addiction that began after The International 2022. He described how the addiction led to a loss of passion for esports and Dota, financial troubles, and a shift in his personality, causing deep regret and a sense of betrayal towards his loved ones and principles. Despite the struggle, he eventually sought help, going through therapy and taking time off to focus on recovery, which he credited with helping him rebuild his mental strength and mend damaged relationships, while acknowledging the ongoing journey towards full healing.

It was a story that resonates not just with fans of esports, but with anyone facing their own battles, reminding us of the power of human resilience and the possibility of a new beginning, no matter the past. Until now.

Taiga’s decision to stream on Kick is concerning

As someone deeply invested in the Dota 2 community, I find Taiga’s decision to stream on Kick.com particularly ironic and, frankly, concerning. Given the website’s affiliations with the gambling website Stake, this choice strikes me as a glaring oversight for someone who has just navigated the treacherous waters of gambling addiction. It’s not just about personal recovery; it’s about the message it sends to fans and followers, many of whom look up to Taiga as a role model.

After battling a gambling addiction that almost cost him everything, one would expect Taiga to steer clear of any associations that could be even remotely linked to gambling. His story, up until now, has been one of resilience and redemption, a beacon of hope for those facing similar struggles. However, by aligning with a platform connected to gambling, there’s a risk of undermining the very essence of his recovery journey.

This decision is especially concerning when considering the behavior of other notable Dota 2 players on the platform, such as Arteezy, who engage in and promote gambling activities like slots to their viewers. This situation places Taiga in a precarious position given the esports community’s ongoing battle with the normalization of gambling promotion. 

I sincerely hope Taiga stays vigilant and avoids repeating past behaviors that not only affected him but could also influence his viewers down a similar troublesome path. 

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