The ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major is set to start in less than 24 hours. Yet, due to the unfortunate growing cases of COVID-19 amongst the teams, fans are left wondering how the tournament will proceed.
As things stand two teams have withdrawn (Navi and Beastcoast), and several teams are without key players. We round up the teams affected so far. To see a full list of participants and their seeding click here.
NAVI withdraw entirely after positive COVID-19 tests
Bogdan “Iceberg” Vasilenko and Andrii “ALWAYSWANNAFLY” Bodarenko were tested positive for COVID-19 in a statement released by NAVI on 20th March 2021 on their website.
Despite this, the team was still set to attend the Singapore Major with Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev and their coach Andrey “Mag” Chipenko as stand-ins. Unfortunately, in a follow-up statement released yesterday, on top of Mag also testing positive for COVID, some of the players having fevers has complicated the situation further.
Navi then tried to arrange for Nikola “LeBronDota” Popovich as a stand-in, but due to technical reasons his flight was cancelled. Unfortunately for RAMZES666, who at the time of writing this is on his flight to Singapore, he will only receive this news as he lands. He will still be eligible to stand-in for other teams, pending Valve’s approval. Concerns about the extended length of quarantine, and potential disruptions to their participation in Season 2 of DPC were also cited as reasons for their withdrawal.
Beastcoast quit Major after captain exposed to COVID-19
Elsewhere South America’s first seed, Beastcoast, announced in a statement on Twitter yesterday that they would also be withdrawing from the Major.
The Beastcoast captain Steven “Stinger” Vargas had been exposed to a COVID-19 case earlier this week. Despite testing negative for the disease, out of concerns for their players health, the organisation has decided not to fly out to Singapore and focus on the next DPC Season instead. With Beastcoast out, this leaves Thunder Predator as the only South American team.
NA first seed Quincy Crew awaits further stand-in approvals
North American hopefuls Quincy Crew announced through their manager Jack “KBBQ” Chen’s Twitter on 22nd March that Arif “MSS” Anwar had tested positive for COVID-19.
They still planned to compete for the major, bringing in Milan “MiLAN” Kozomara to replace him. However, in the latest update on 26th March from KBBQ’s twitter, MiLAN was revealed to be on the same cancelled flight as LeBronDota. This leaves Quincy Crew currently awaiting authorizations on stand-ins.
Team Nigma brings in coach as stand-in
TI-7 Winners Team Nigma announced that their offlaner Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov has tested positive for the virus, and will not be able to attend the major. In his place, coach Roman “rmN-” Paley will be standing in.
This is not the first time the coach has substituted for the squad though. Previously, he also stood-in replacing KuroKy in OGA Dota Pit S2, winning the tournament with the team as position 5. This time though, having one of the existing support-oriented players (GH/KuroKy/rmN-) step up to play the offlane might put the team in a tough spot.
T1’s captain to be substituted for "health problem"
Up and coming SEA team T1 have also announced changes on top of their recent addition of Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon replacing Souliya “JaCkky” Khoomphetsavong on the carry role. Captain and offlaner Carlos “Kuku” Palad will not be able to attend the major due to health problems, and will be replaced by Sang-Don “Forev” Lee. Forev will have big shoes to fill, and it remains to be seen if T1 can continue their success without Kuku.
First SEA seed Neon Esports bring in Rappy to stand-in
Another SEA team affected are Neon, with their Position 1 player John Anthony “Natsumi” Vargas being unable to attend, in an announcement on the team’s social media.
Fortunately, he will be replaced by Raphael “Rappy” Palo, who will take the 4 Position role. Rolen Andreii Gabriel “skem” Ong will play carry in Natsumi’s place. This shouldn’t be too big of a change for the squad, as Rappy has played over 1000 games with Neon. On top of that, prior to changing to position 4, skem was a primarily position 1 player.
VP’s Carry Nightfall previously reported to be unwell
Undefeated CIS top seed Virtus Pro announced earlier on that their position 1 player, Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko was feeling unwell. To combat this, the organisation decided to bring in a potential stand-in, in Igor “iLTW” Filatov.
VP has yet to further update this matter publicly and confirm if Nightfall or iLTW will be playing for the major. The Virtus Pro roster, apart from Team Secret are the only upper division team to go completely undefeated across the entire DPC’s round robins.
With the updates as of the time of writing this article, COVID-19 has affected 7/18 participating teams. As the ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major draws near, the show will go on. The only question that remains is how.