Cancellations and player substitutions ahead of the Singapore Major 2021
Feeling under the weather lately? It’s heartbreaking news for Dota 2 fans as their favorite pros miss out on the first major of the season.
In most cases, the players feel unwell prior to their departure to Singapore for the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021. As many as five teams will not be participating with their complete roster or not at all.
Natus Vincere pulls out of Singapore Major
Natus Vincere probably got hit the hardest by the pandemic as two of their players have tested positive for the coronavirus. The team went on to replace both ALWAYSWANNAFLY and Iceberg for the event with Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev and Andrey “Mag” Chipenko Singapore Major 2021. Mere hours before taking off for Singapore, Mag was confirmed positive for COVID, mandating the quarantine potentially for the entire roster upon arrival.
The final nail in the coffin however was the the flight issues for Nikola “LeBronDota” Popović. He was already on his flight to Singapore to replace Mag, but the plane had to turn around and land back in Belgrade, Serbia. With the possibility of ending up with four or less players, NaVi announced they will be pulling out of the Singapore Major.
We regret to inform you that we have decided to withdraw from the ONE Esports #SingaporeMajor 2021. The main issue is due to COVID-19 but that's not all. Here are the answers to all your possible questions.
— NAVI (@natusvincere) March 25, 2021
RAMZES666 makes it into the major regardless
Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev was set to play for NaVi as a substitute and took the flight a day earlier. Mid way through his flight, the team announced their departure from the event, leaving Roman “stranded” in Singapore. Based on reports by Roman Dvoryankin, his namesake will get to play at the event if any team requires his assistance.
Valve have formally allowed for Ramzes666 to play for any team requiring a substitution in order to mitigate this hard situation.
— Roman Dvoryankin (@dvoryrom) March 25, 2021
Due to Steven “StingeR” Vargas and potentially the entire roster being under threat for a COVID infection, the South American representatives announced late Thursday that they will also be pulling out of the event. Citing concerns over their players potentially all being in contact with the virus over the past week, the team will preemptively self-quarantine and avoid potentially infecting other event participants if they made they trip to Singapore.
— beastcoast (@beastcoast) March 25, 2021
Nigma “loses” MinD_ContRoL
The former International 2017 champion, Ivan Borislavov “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov will be missing out on his trip with the friends. The official Nigma Twitter page broke the news that the player has tested positive for COVID-19. Hence, he will be denied entry into Singapore, forcing team coach Roman “rmN-” Paley as the stand-in for the event. This doesn’t seem too bad of a replacement, considering his past achievements.
Roman played position 5 support role while Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi was recovering from his arm injury. However, Nigma’s first match is the Wild Cards, not having a reliable offlaner could spell the end of their journey prematurely. Luckily, the upcoming format changes for the event will give them a path out even if they perform poorly.
Rough seas ahead for multiple teams
The Philippines is one region heavily affected by the devastating pandemic. Unfortunately for Carlo “Kuku” Palad from T1, he is unfit to be flying. Despite T1’s decent success since their debut earlier this year, they have yet to show dominance over more serious rivals. They still have a Thai prodigy, Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon as their “secret” weapon.
Neon Esports is also in trouble as their carry player, John Anthony “Natsumi-“ Vargas, is feeling unwell. Neon Esports has delivered promising results throughout the SEA Upper Division as a team. However, with Natsumi- absent and the forced transition for Rolen Andrei Gabriel “skem” Ong to hard carry role might be a handful.
Quincy Crew’s Arif “MSS” Anwar will be substituted by Milan “MiLAN” Kozomara. It pains the North American fans that a team of such calibre had to play with such dire setback. Frankly, many fans really wanted to see what the North American’s strongest team of last season can do in the eyes of other powerhouses.
Finally, Team Aster‘s Babooka is in the deep end after he apparently made a series of bad decisions before his departure to Singapore. This last bit of news is an absolute hilarity, as illustrated by the Tweet below.
These rumours coming out about Team Aster's Boboka are wild if true. According to gossip sources in China the player will miss the Singapore Major after being arrested for soliciting a prostitute. That's got to be an esports first. pic.twitter.com/0RFUekLf71
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) March 26, 2021
PGL announces format changes
Due to two teams now officially out of the event, PGL announced they will be tweaking two stages of the event. Three instead of two teams will be advancing from the Wild Card stage into the Group Stage. Furthermore, due to Beastcoast’s absence, 7 teams will advance from the Group Stage into Playoffs. We hope the rest of the teams arrive safely at the event.
With so many renowned teams affected by the pandemic, it certainly ruins the LAN tournament vibe and liveliness ever so slightly. That said, it’s still the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021, where the top three teams can guarantee a direct invite to the International 10. In other words, stand-ins or not, there’s a lot at stake for these teams to earn Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points.