Legendary Russian carry Airat "Silent" Gaziev has rejoined Team Empire, replacing Vladimir "Chappie" Kuzmenko, who he stood-in for at the Adrenaline Cyber League Closed Qualifier in October.
The 24-year-old left Empire in December 2015 to join Virtus.pro, but was benched in March 2016 before later joining the team's short-lived second squad Polarity. He has been inactive on Vega Squadron since September after joining them in April.
"For Team Empire Silent is not just a player — he is an important part of our history! History which remembers many huge victories," Empire's esports director Alexandr "StrangeR" Solomonov said in a statement. "We are lucky enough that Airat was ready to play on a such responsible role when we needed new carry player. I was sure that someday Silent [was] going to return to Team Empire and I am really happy that it happened today."
Silent was a key part of Team Empire's 2013-2015 roster, winning ESWC 2013, StarSeries Season 11 and MLG Pro League Season One.
"As practice shows game experience is an important part of team success. From that point, Silent is definitely going to help us and good game form can be achieved by training," the statement reads. "The beginning of the season was not successful for us but we always have rough autumns. This year we are planning to bounce back a little bit earlier."
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.