Gunning for an explosive debut in Season Two of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC)-Southeast Asia Upper Division, Smart Omega Esports acquired legendary offlaner Sam "Sam_H" Hidalgo and high-ranked support Mark "Shanks" Redira.
Omega made the announcement on Wednesday night, March 17, with Sam_H and Shanks serving as fitting replacements for Jun "Bok" Kanehara and Marvin "Boomy" Rushton who both moved to TNC Predator.
"We're very sad that we have to change roster again. It's very quick and very sudden, we don't have any idea how we are going to fill that slots but we're also blessed that we still have talents around the country just like Sam_H and Shanks that are willing to trust Omega to give them another future career in esports," said Omega's chief operating officer Patrick Cruz.
"We are very positive that these boys will definitely do everything they can to reach the DPC Major next season," added Cruz.
Sam_H was part of the TNC squad that made history in The International 2016 where they stunned then three-time Major champion OG, 2-0, before winding up 7th-8th which remains as the best finish by a Filipino team in the biggest Dota 2 tournament to this day.
The 26-year-old position-3 pro continued to play for TNC in the next two editions of TI before leaving the team in 2018. He last played for the South Korean organization T1.
For his part, Shanks is a returning Omega standout who recently breached the 10K MMR mark.
Shanks previously played for Execration, Geek Fam and most recently Reckoning Esports where he joined forces with ex-Omega teammates Linuel "Teehee" Abanto and Benhur "Benhur" Lawis.
Sam_H and Shanks will be a big boost to the current Omega squad that has SEA Games gold-winning players Bryle "cml" Alvizo (hard support) and Mc Nicholson "Mac" Villanueva (midlaner), and carry Justine "Tino" Grimaldo.
Omega made it to the Upper Division after finishing second in the Lower Division behind Mongolian team Lilgun.
The Smart-backed squad will duke it out against Singapore Major qualifiers Fnatic, Neon Esports and T1 along with mainstays TNC, Boom Esports and Execration, and fellow rookie team Lilgun in the next Upper Division season which will start on April 13.