Top Dota 2 teams withdraw from Galaxy Battles II after Valve pulls its support
Several teams have pulled out of Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds, leaving the event's status in doubt three days after Valve stripped the tournament of its Major status.
Valve announced Friday that the event would no longer be part of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit due to drug testing mandated by the Philippine government—something Valve sees as an "infringement" of players' privacy.
The first team to announce its withdrawal was Virtus Pro, which opted out of the tournament just a few hours after Valve's official statement went out on Jan. 5. It was followed by Team Secret and Team Liquid later that day. American team OpTic Gaming followed suit on Jan. 6, alongside Chinese team Newbee on Jan. 7, and Southeast Asian squad Mineski earlier today.
With the loss of most of the tournament's top teams, the event would look to be in danger of cancellation. Despite the setbacks, however, the tournament's organizer Fallout Gaming released a statement on Sunday saying that the event will go ahead as scheduled.
As a result of Valve rescinding the tournament's Major status, the event's prize pool has been reduced from $1 million to $500,000. Majors receive a $500,000 prizepool contribution from Valve that Galaxy Battles is obviously not eligible for anymore. The tournament will also no longer award qualification points for The International 8 later this year.
The tournament is left with just seven teams remaining in the field—at least, as far as official announcements of withdrawals are concerned. Most of the teams that have made their withdrawals public have cited the loss of potential qualification points for TI8 as the primary reason for pulling out. Understandably, it seems that these teams wish to focus on the road to TI8 rather than participate in Galaxy Battles II, in spite of the fact that the tournament will still award $500,000 in prize money.
How they will deal with nine now-vacant slots in the field has yet to be seen. Fallout Gaming's statement did not provide any clarity on what the tournament will look like. Seeing that the event is just seven days away, though, we can expect it to provide details on any changes to the format soon—if not an announcement of outright cancellation.