On March 2, 2022, Ukrainian-based esports organization HellRaisers were forced to take an extended hiatus due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. Now, they’ve officially announced they’re returning to esports, and relocating the organization to Serbia.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has changed the face of CIS and European esports forever. Multiple organizations were forced to halt operations or cease them entirely in order to ensure the safety of their staff and players.
Multiple tournament operators imposed heavy sanctions on Russian-owned teams, barring them from competing and instead allowing their rosters to compete under a neutral name.
Now, esports in the region is slowly starting to make a return, either through players competing under neutral tags or through organizations relocating and beginning again away from the conflict zone. This is the case for HellRaisers, who announced on April 26 that they would be relocating their entire organization to Serbia to keep “playing, competing, and expressing our position.”
— HellRaisers (@HELLRAISERSgg) April 25, 2022
The organization’s DOTA 2 roster has continued competing under a neutral tag since the org halted operations on March 2. They will now go back to competing under the HellRaisers tag, with the return of the organization’s CS:GO team still as-yet unconfirmed.
According to HellRaisers’ official statement, the organization will not immediately be returning in full. While their DOTA 2 roster, who were briefly known as Rune Eaters while competing in Season 9 of the Dota 2 Champions League, will make an immediate return, the future of their CS:GO team is a little less certain.
Moving the entire organization to a new country is no mean feat, and HellRaisers confirmed that they were “not ready to state a full-fledged return of HellRaisers yet.”
They have also confirmed that they will not co-operate with any Russian-owned partners in future, and will be rebuilding the club’s infrastructure “from scratch”.