The Singapore Major was set to be a triumphant return to live events for Dota 2 esports. Although no fans would be present due to coronavirus restrictions, tournament organiser PGL ensured that player safety would be paramount, especially due to the fact that Singapore is “one of the safest countries in the world” at the moment.
However, two teams have now pulled out of the Major, despite kicking off tomorrow, March 27, with both citing coronavirus concerns as the reason. The decisions come after players on both teams tested positive for the virus, and they want to ensure the safety of the rest of their players.
Brazilian team beastcoast was the first team to announce its decision to pull out of the tournament, after captain Steven ‘StingeR’ Vargas tested positive for COVID-19. All players are now quarantining despite testing negative, due to the potential incubation period of the virus. beastcoast is following all World Health Organisation guidelines, but says in a press release published on Twitter that it is “very disappointed that our players will not be able to show their capabilities against the best of the world.”
As the best side in Brazil at the moment, fans are understandably disappointed that they won’t see beastcoast on the biggest stage, but safety always comes first. However, just a couple of hours after beastcoast’s announcement, Natus Vincere also announced its decision to pull out of the Singapore Major.
— beastcoast (@beastcoast) March 25, 2021
Na’Vi says that three members (two players and a coach) of the organisation have tested positive for coronavirus and will not travel to Singapore. With substitutes so hard to come by, with Neon Esports, Quincy Crew, Nigma, and T1 all playing at the Major with stand-ins already, Na’Vi is worried that it may only compete with four players, or that mandatory quarantines in Singapore could put their Dota Pro Circuit season at risk.
Captain Andrii ‘ALWAYSWANNAFLY’ Bondarenko, Bogdan ‘Iceberg’ Vasilenko, and coach Andrey ‘Mag’ Chipenko are confirmed as the players who tested positive, but Na’Vi says that other players have suffered from a fever, despite testing negative for coronavirus.
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
As a result of the dropouts, PGL has slightly amended the format of the Singapore Major. Three teams will now qualify through the Wild Card round, and seven teams will advance from the round-robin group stage to Playoffs.
While fans are excited to see some offline Dota 2 action once again, and PGL has put in numerous measures to safely host the tournament, the disruption the Singapore Major has suffered even before play begins has been concerning.