The carry player for London-based Fnatic, Adrian “Era” Kryeziu, has reportedly been suffering from severe anxiety attacks related to travel since early this year. This is particularly problematic for the Swedish native as his sport requires a great deal of it.
A late May attempt at bootcamping went quickly south and was ended after the attacks got so intense that Kryeziu was vomiting. Fnatic appropriately gave Kryeziu time off following that incident. Since then, Steve “Excalibur” Ye, a spry amateur who has really shone as a player during stint with the team, has stood in for him at two offline events and multiple online events.
Fnatic, who alleges they’ve kept Valve in the loop on Kryeziu’s health since their boot camp, has one big problem: The developer says if they can’t play with the roster that was invited to its July tournament, The International, then they can’t play at all. And this is no ordinary tournament. Its prize pool boasts a $10 million prize pool, making it more lucrative than the Masters tournament in golf.
Valve’s stance sent the Dota community into a flurry of outrage.
Condolences to @EraDota 🙁 get well soon my friend!! I hope Valve makes the right decision but really sad to see you miss out on TI
— Jimmy Ho (@Liquid_DeMoN) June 26, 2014
Fnatic’s position is difficult, and Valve’s stance has people genuinely frustrated. The developer has always had nebulous rulings on when roster changes are or aren’t appropriate, and many think that they’re being unnecessarily hard on the team.
Earlier this year Valve allowed Evil Geniuses to sub in Mason “Mason” Venne for Clinton “Fear” Loomis after what is the gamer’s equivalent to tennis elbow required Loomis to stop playing for an extended period of time. Last year, the German team Mousesports was able to substitute a player last minute due to Visa issues. However, the year before, a single player lost his passport and couldn’t attend and they disqualified and replaced the rest of their squad.
With more than $10 million in prizes, The International is the biggest esport tournament of all time. Does Fnatic insist that Kryeziu play despite his waning health? Kryeziu himself is between a rock and a hard place. If he travels, he suffers. If he doesn’t attend, his four friends and teammates lose out on his behalf, likely a situation that wouldn’t help his condition.
Valve has yet to comment on the situation.