Pure set to restore his reputation and claim title of world’s best Dota 2 player

By Declan Duffy

The Transformation of Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko

As a Dota 2 player with a history intertwined with controversy, some expect Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko to be cocky or perhaps avoidant of their past relative to their future. However, as he approaches the final weekend of ESL One Birmingham, Pure is ready to shake off the old and welcome the new.

A Controversial Journey

A carry for Tundra Esports in Birmingham on loan from BetBoom, Pure has played an integral part in the team’s advances through the competition. Despite his talent, he has become ensnared in controversy and criticism since he began his professional career. April 2022 saw his contract at Virtus.pro terminated for the drawing of militarist symbols in a live game, and he held personal responsibility for an instant loss handed to BetBoom in 2023 after watching his match’s livestream during a game pause. Now, he acknowledges that lessons had to be learned in order to progress.

A New Path Forward

Although his relationship with BetBoom had a rocky start, he admits to Dot Esports that he “definitely learned a lot” over the past year about how to be a better teammate. In particular, he seems to have thrived in his transition to Tundra Esports in a leadership role. “It’s new for me to be a leader in the team, to be a captain, but I guess it’s going pretty well,” Pure said to Dot. “I’ve got a lot of responsibilities, so I’m focused on trying to adapt to everything.”

Striving for Redemption

Crucially, he also recognizes that to prove his talent and regain respect, his actions had to extend beyond the game. He assures viewers and pros alike that he is “trying to be a better human being, be a better player, better than I was before. I’m just trying my best in both ways.” With a fresh outlook, Pure now has his eyes set on shedding his problematic past to prove he has the right to claim the position of best Dota 2 player in the world.

The Road Ahead

Briefly providing a glimpse into private vulnerabilities, he also hints at external forces that have held him back from achieving this goal so far, alluding to the fact that “crazy surprises” are always happening outside of the game, which he is “tired of.” Pure suggests that these external factors contributed to roadblocks in his journey as a pro, but that he continues to aim high and strive for a new way forward. “I was pretty confident for all of my career that I’m the best—I’ve just been trying to prove it for a long time,” he said.

Esports as a whole has never been unfamiliar with challenging, confrontational, or concerning behaviors presented by professional players, whether the source of these behaviors is known or not. A player’s ability to restore the faith of others in their skills is often a fate left in the hands of fans, management, and tournament organizers.

Pure’s comments at ESL One Birmingham would perhaps show a glimmer of hope that his “ruined” reputation is recoverable and that he can learn from his wrongdoings. “I just really want to show that I’m the best out there in this game,” he said. In particular, the “cherry on the cake”—a major title—“is really, really important” in this journey. If Pure can deliver and achieve this goal, he can prove his remaining doubters wrong once and for all.

Despite his position in Dota 2 being on the cusp of a critical career turning point, he still brushes off questions of stress or worry about upcoming games with, “Still no pressure, no pressure, no pressure.”

Whether this pressure is felt or not, Pure wrapped by offering a heartfelt reflection on what Dota 2 has become for him: “I’m just happy that my work that I’ve been putting into the game is finally, finally, giving something back to me, because I really try my best.”

Pure will face his home team BetBoom from his position on loan to Tundra in the ESL One Birmingham upper bracket final on Saturday, April 27.

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