Influential voices and talents are urging teams to decline their invitations.
This year has witnessed numerous million-dollar prize pool announcements, including ESL's DreamLeague and Birmingham tournaments, as well as the BetBoom Dacha events in February and October. However, when the Games of the Future Dota tournament came around, the applause wasn't as resounding.
The situation took a downturn when the list of invited teams became public. Ukrainian caster Vitalii "v1lat" Volochai promptly expressed his discomfort on X, stating that he would "personally do whatever it takes to mail to all EU countries the personal data of your players and staff after you visit Government funded russian tournament".
His warning included threatening to "do everything possible to enlist your player in a monthly update of the list of sportspersons who actively support terrorism." With numerous seven-figure tournaments taking place in Europe, encountering VISA issues could potentially bring an end to the careers of many pro players, especially since the DPC no longer serves as a sustainable option for them in their own region.
Nouns is the first team to decline their invitation
Following these publications, the North American team, nouns Esports, decided to withdraw from the event. Even though there is no public statement on their social media, Games of the Future's VK account shared the news with little to no context.
We have already talked about several teams that will come to Kazan for the YOTA DIGITAL MOBA tournament (Dota 2 + Superfinal). Unfortunately, one of the announced teams will not be able to participate in the competition. For reasons beyond the organizer's control, Nouns Esports is withdrawing from participation in the Future Games 2024 in Kazan.
This decision received a positive response from another Ukrainian talent, Oleksii "Bafik" Bafadarov, who expressed his disappointment to other organizations, such as Nigma Galaxy and Entity.
In his original post, Bafik states that Valve should ban teams participating in the Games of Future Dota tournament. The game publisher has still not made any statement on the matter.
South American teams in the eye of the storm.
With only one slot available for every regional qualifier (and sometimes having to share that slot with NA), not many South American teams can afford to reject a million-dollar, life-changing opportunity. Allegedly, the only SA team that declined an invitation to the Games of Future Dota tournament was Heroic. This was pointed out by one of Héctor "K1" Rodríguez's followers.
Heroic was invited, but they rejected their invitation due to the conflict developing between Russia and Ukraine (as K1 said on stream).
Sadly, there's no clip of this, but we found a confirmation by Cedric "Davai Lama" Deckmyn in the same thread.
What about Nigma Galaxy and Entity?
As this story develops, more public figures are asking Nigma Galaxy and Entity to withdraw from the tournament. Former TI player and talent, Andrii "Ghostik" Kadyk, got a lot of support on his own X post.
Adding to this, Esports Charts and Streams Charts CEO, Artyom Odintsov, mentioned that the situation is even worse for the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang pro scene. He says that the teams participating are Tier 1 names that currently compete for their World Cup.
In my opinion, the situation in MLBB is more challenging. No one will watch Dota except the Russian audience. But in MLBB, a significant part of those who will be at the World Cup and IESF in Riyadh, where other top clubs will be nearby. Twisted, for example, the winners of the team standings in 2023. Plus, the fan base and coverage of these teams are much larger than those of Dota players. RRQ has 5 million followers on Instagram, and ONIC has 2 million. In terms of propaganda, the coverage extends to millions of SEA audience.
The backlash to the tournament stems from the fact that the event is sponsored by the Russian government. Dota 2 is extremely popular in the CIS region with a large fanbase. Prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, there were top tier tournaments in these countries with the participation of most of the big names in Dota 2.
Make sure to check out esports.gg to stay updated on this story.