But the team has declined the invitation, citing visa issues with their top laner, Diego “Quas” Ruiz, a native Venezuelan. Ruiz needs to renew his American visa to continue competing in the United States, and attending an international event could delay that process.
International competition in League of Legends is a rare and precious thing. Riot Games’ league structure, with two regional three-month long seasons, leaves little time for teams to galavant across the globe and challenge teams in other regions. That’s by design—Riot likes to keep international events like the Riot World Championships a rare and special thing, one of the few times fans and players from different regions around the globe get to test themselves against each other.
Curse declining the invitation robs their fans and the team one of those rare chances to play. It’s not their fault, of course—the organization is doing its due diligence to prepare for the 2015 season, making sure visas for Ruiz and Chae are in order before matches begin. Attending Cologne on Dec. 18 could jeopardize that process, a risk the organization isn’t willing to take.
@LiQuiD112 good luck Steve ;; we will likely have issues too
— Yiliang Peng (@TSMDoublelift) November 19, 2014
Yiliang “DoubleLift” Peng seems to imply that Counter Logic Gaming, who also were voted into the tournament, may have similar issues. That could be a hint at a potential international signing—the team’s roster is still in flux, and part of the reason the fans voted in the team was to find out just who they would bring to Germany.
The winning team in the European vote was Gambit Gaming, no stranger to visa problems. The team’s season was sunk last year when the core of the team couldn’t attend the League Championship Series week of games in London due to visa problems.
A potential replacement for Curse could be Evil Geniuses, who ranked third behind Curse and Counter Logic Gaming in the vote for North America. But Evil Geniuses only carried 7 percent of the vote, with the two qualifiers dominating the proceedings. It’d make more sense to hold a run-off between Evil Geniuses, Dignitas, and Team 8, but with just one month until it begins it will be a scramble to fill the spot.
It’s an ugly reality for such an international sport. Visa problems plague esports at every turn, especially with the rigorous schedule of tournaments. It certainly doesn’t help when events like IEM hold votes just one month in advance of their event—given how common these issues are, shouldn’t tournaments do everything in their power to avoid them?
Whatever the case, it’s too bad for Team Curse and the fans who voted them in.