Dota 2’s upcoming Arlington Major will begin shortly, but numerous issues have already piled up. While some Dota competitions can take place online, all major events (such as Majors) are conducted in person. This means that players must get visas to be able to attend events outside their home countries. While this usually isn’t an issue, the Arlington Major is proving to be an exception. Here’s all the Dota 2 teams denied visas, and what their plans are so far.
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With the competition so fierce and the International so close, it’s a shame to see something like this. Not all teams faced issues getting visas of course, and those who did weren’t all in the same boat. While most teams denied visas only lost one or two players, Thunder Awaken and Fnatic weren’t so lucky. Fnatic had three members of its new roster affected, forcing them to find substitutes. Marc “Raven” Fausto, Jaunuel “Jaunuel” Arcilla and Armel “Armel” Tabios were forced to watch from the sidelines. While their replacements are not yet confirmed, there have been some rumors. According to Dzmitry “Fishman” Palishchuk of Entity Esports, the substitutes will be players from TSM.
But of all the teams denied visas, Thunder Awaken was certainly hit the worst. Specifically, only one of their players was actually denied a visa, Herrera “Darkmagos” Gonzalo. However, two other players and their coach had their visas delayed, meaning the team will miss the opening day of the group stage. Cristian “Pakazs” Casanova and Rafael “Sacred” Yonatan were the two players denied visas. Their coach is Juan David “Vintage” Angulo Nicho.
While Thunder Awaken and Fnatic may have been hit the hardest, they certainly aren’t the only ones with problems. Talon Esports lost Worawit “Q” Mekchai, forcing him to miss out on his first Major. T1’s Kenny “Xepher” Deo will act as his substitute. But while Talon and many other teams looked for substitutes, Xtreme Gaming had another idea. After Lou “Iou” Zhen, their carry, was denied a visa three times, they decided not to attend at all. Due to issues returning home that Chinese teams have had in the past, they decided to cut their losses. Unfortunately, without this Major to boost their ranking, they won’t be invited to the International.
Oddly enough, not all teams were strictly harmed by these issues. Royal Never Give Up, or RNG, managed to receive a star player as a substitute. After their carry Daniel “Ghost” Chan Kok Hong faced similar issues to Iou, RNG looked for a replacement. Theirs turned out to be Anathan “ana” Pham, a formerly retired player with two International wins under his belt.
Entity experienced a similar situation: their carry Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko was unable to get a visa. While it’s currently unconfirmed, it is all but certain they will bench him. His substitute is Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek, the offlaner for TSM. His substitution was announced by Fishman along with those for Fnatic.
While it’s unlikely that there will be more significant issues before the major, the damage is still done. While Fnatic has had a good year thus far, Thunder Awaken has been utterly dominant. These issues could give them a significant disadvantage, and possibly even knock them out of the running. While it’s not nearly as bad as the infamous Shanghai Major, it’s still not a good look for Arlington. The last time the US hosted a major (excluding the International) was in 2016 with the Boston Major. It’s disappointing to see so many teams denied visas, especially for the home country of Dota 2.
While things may look dire, nothing is set in stone. Only time will tell whether these hurdles will trip teams up. With the Arlington Major’s August 4 starting date soon approaching, fans won’t have to wait long to see.
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