Discussion in the Dota 2 community suggests that it’s increasingly unlikely that the China DPC region will make it to Stockholm.

The Stockholm Major is facing the prospect of missing a major region as one professional with links to the Chinese scene suggests, “If I were a player competing at the event, I wouldn’t attend.” The quote comes from former Mars Media and LGD Gaming employee Dimitre Vallette.

In a thread reacting to the question, ‘what are the odds the Chinese teams make it to the Major?’ Vallette gives a decidedly negative appraisal of the situation in Shanghai, where he currently resides. An employee of Shanghai-based esports consultancy Red Marble Esports, Vallette describes a difficult decision for any Chinese players. Effectively, players would face a lengthy quarantine or inability to re-enter their home country if they play in Stockholm.

“Shanghai (and China) is trying to achieve 0 cases. Now imagine a group of people coming back from Europe. What do you think is going to happen to them?”

Dimitre Vallette

The uncertainty now around China and the CIS has created a potential nightmare scenario for the Major: Two significant regions, with seven total slots, may not be able to attend. Turning an 18-team super-tournament into an 11-team one.

Broad concerns

We’ve spoken at length about the issues in the CIS/EEU region. The fact the scene is being left behind. That organizing a replacement tournament for the season has its own set of hurdles and issues, including the fact one of the biggest teams in the region won’t work with players living in Russia. Whatever the path to the Major for the CIS is, it’s definitely a rocky one.

But for China, a different practical issue exists: Can the players even get back after the Major? Stockholm, and Sweden as a whole, has taken perhaps one of the most unique responses to the Pandemic. Sweden simply rode out the Pandemic with almost no lockdowns, mask mandates, and other precautions. It has since received a mixed review on this approach, from harsh condemnation to tacit support for the methods.

This makes Sweden possibly the worst place to travel to if you then want to return to a country that is under one of the harshest lockdowns globally. In Shanghai, local residents face a food shortage simply because of a lack of resources to deliver them. PCR tests and volunteering are the only valid excuses to leave the house. This is all because China is shooting for a zero-cases situation. 

Any players returning from Stockholm would likely be trapped outside of the country for perhaps weeks or months. Something the players of Chinese teams faced both after the Animajor and TI10. It would be entirely reasonable for players to decline to attend the Major, knowing that doing so would mean being trapped away from home, unable to return.