Visa Issues Plague the PGL Arlington Major
The visa issues faced by various teams participating in the PGL Arlington Major 2022 are becoming increasingly problematic as the tournament approaches. Despite multiple visa interviews, the players on these teams have been turned down each time, leading to forced stand-ins, potentially skipping games, and it has even led to Xtreme Gaming withdrawing from the event since the team found it unfeasible to attend the event after its carry player Lou "lou" Zhen was denied the United States (US) visa three times. Here is a look at all the Dota 2 teams that have faced visa issues ahead of the PGL Arlington Major, which begins on 4th August.
The PGL Arlington Major poses visa issues for competing Dota 2 teams: Here’s a look
Royal Never Give Up (RNG)
Anathan "ana" Pham, a former two-time TI champion, will compete for Royal Never Give (RNG) in the PGL Arlington Major. Ana will replace RNG's carry player Daniel "Ghost" Chan Kok Hong, who has been unable to secure a visa to the United States (US) after several attempts.
Thunder Awaken's midlaner Herrera "Darkmago" Gonzalo's visa to the United States was refused, and he will therefore miss at least the group stage of the Arlington Major. A second interview at the embassy is being planned for him in the hopes that he will join the squad at some time during the tournament. His replacement has yet to be announced.
Furthermore, the visas for two other players, Rafael "Sacred" Yonatan and Cristian "Pakazs" Casanova, as well as coach Juan David "Vintage" Angulo Nicho, have been delayed, resulting in Thunder Awaken missing the opening day of the Arlington Major's group stage. Fortunately for the team, it only has one series scheduled on the first day which is against Talon Esports.
Fnatic experienced a significant setback when three of its players, Marc "Raven" Fausto, Armel "Armel" Tabios, and Jaunuel "Jaunuel" Arcilla, were unable to get US visas. PGL allowed the squad to compete with three substitutes due to this externality.
While the replacements are not yet known, Entity's Dzmitry "Fishman" Palishchuk said in a comment for cybersports.ru that TSM's carry player Enzo "Timado" O'Connor will stand in for Fnatic. Furthermore, Fishman revealed that the other two Fnatic stand-ins would also be TSM players. These two players are most likely going to be TSM’s midlaner Jonathan "Bryle" Guia and position five player Kim "DuBu" Doo-young.
Worawit "Q" Mekchai of Talon Esports, who was slated to compete in his first Dota 2 Major, was denied a US visa multiple times, resulting in him being substituted for the Arlington Major. The organization revealed in a tweet that it will replace Q at the Arlington Major with T1's position four player Kenny "Xepher" Deo.
While other teams with visa concerns are playing with stand-ins for the Major, Xtreme Gaming chose to skip the event entirely and focus on The International 11 (TI11) qualification after its carry player lou was refused a US visa three times.
This was owing to two factors: the probable difficulty in returning to China after the Major since Chinese teams have had issues returning from international competitions in the last year. The second is that Xtreme Gaming's chances of obtaining a direct invite to TI11 were predicated on the team virtually winning the Major. As a result, the team made the difficult but rational choice to forego the Major.
TSM's offlaner Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek will compete as Entity's stand-in carry in the PGL Arlington Major after the team’s carry player Ivan "Pure" Moskalenko was unable to obtain a US visa after many attempts. Fishman said that the team will try to get another interview done and bring Pure in time for the playoffs, but it is 90% likely that Entity will play with SabeRLight- in the carry role for the entire tournament.
Update July 30:
A few other teams have also announced that they've failed to obtain visas for their members. The list has been updated to reflect the same
Beastcoast will most likely be without coach Thomas Jaulis "Valqui" Romero at the PGL Arlington Major due to his inability to obtain a US visa. As his journey remains uncertain, the organization announced that it will attend the Major with Infamous' coach Christian "Accel" Cruz standing in. Simultaneously, Valqui will continue to assist the team online.
Sébastien "Ceb" Debs will compete as the OG's five position player at the PGL Arlington Major 2022. This is because OG's captain Mikhail "Misha" Agatov and coach Evgenii "Chuvash" Makarov were unable to secure visas for the PGL Arlington Major. Misha and Chuvash had to also miss the previous Major, the ESL One Stockholm Major, in which Ceb and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein served as position five and coach, respectively. OG went on to win the Stockholm Major.
While Ceb will step in, OG has not stated if he would attend the Arlington Major with a stand-in coach.
This is a decisive tournament for teams like Fnatic and RNG in terms of finishing in the top 12 of the Dota Pro Circuit 2021-22 standings and obtaining a direct invite to TI11. It will be interesting to watch how the presence of stand-ins affects the performance of all of these teams. Furthermore, with the Major still a week away, more teams may announce their inability to deploy their full squad at the tournament and instead play with some stand-ins.