Another team has been added to the growing list of withdrawals from Dota 2 tournaments.
Just days removed from both Cloud9 and Hell Raisers pulling out of the I-League final in China, European side Team Empire have announced that they will be unable to attend the finals of the Dota 2 League in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Team Empire had worked hard to earn their way through the event’s qualification process. The squad had to defeat Team Tinker, Sneaky Nyx Assassins, and Virtus Pro Polar in successive matches.
Thy did that and more, actually managing to sweep each of their opponents on the way to claiming a spot in the Las Vegas final.
But team official Alexander Solomonov revealed today that there were issues from the outset over obtaining visas for players.
While three of Team Empire’s players had previously obtained visas in order to participate in The International earlier this year, two had not: Maxim “Yoky” Kim and temporary stand-in Ilya “Alohodance” Korobkin.
Korobkin would be unable to obtain a visa until Jan. 5, the first day of play in Las Vegas. Kim’s situation was worse, as he had been outright denied a visa. And rather than sink the required financials into a trip for the team with multiple substitute players, the organization decided to pull out.
A replacement for Team Empire has yet to be announced. Evil Geniuses, CDEC Gaming, and LV Gaming had thus far qualified for the competition. Virtus Pro Polar would be next in line for the western qualification spot, but American second runners-up Sneaky Nyx Assassins may be a more likely candidate given the short notice.
A small silver lining for fans of Team Empire is that their withdrawal will allow them to participate in European qualifiers for the recently announced Dota 2 Asia Championship. Though there’s no guarantee the side would be able to attend the finals for that event either.