PEACE top laner Apii won’t travel with team to Worlds 2021

Travel restrictions have forced Oceanic champions into the market for a new top laner.

Photo via Riot Games

PEACE, the Oceanic representative at this year’s League of Legends World Championship, will be without their starting top laner, Apii, throughout the duration of the tournament. 

“After two weeks of the team’s and my personal unremitting efforts, I still can’t … apply for an Icelandic visa in Sydney because of the pandemic,” Apii said today in a Weibo post, according to a machine translation. “The embassy is closed, and … it’s too late to return to China to isolate.”

Stricter travel restrictions have been put into place by international governments to stop the global spread of COVID-19. As a result, the League World Championship has been extensively impacted. Beyond the tournament’s initial move from China to Europe last month, players such as Apii are finding that reaching the tournament—which is being held completely in Iceland—is a strenuous affair in and of itself. 

To make things slightly easier for international teams dealing with imposed travel restrictions, Riot is continuing to allow teams to take advantage of the loan system that initially came to the forefront at last year’s World Championship.

“If a team encounters an issue with a player being able to travel, they cannot realistically add a free agent (or change their subs) to replace someone,” according to an update released by Riot earlier today. “To help mitigate this, we’ve implemented a limited loan program that would allow teams to borrow a player from another team in their league who received a visa for Worlds but did not end up qualifying.”

With that in mind, PEACE could borrow another top laner from the LCO to fill Apii’s shoes at Worlds. Names such as Pentanet.GG’s BioPanther and Chiefs’ Lived come to mind as native Oceanic players who could fill the gap in PEACE’s starting lineup. 

Alternatively, PEACE could keep its operation internal. The team’s starting mid laner, Tally, is also a part-time top laner by trade. If Tally moves back to the top lane—as he did for Golden Guardians Academy in North America earlier this year—PEACE could promote substitute mid laner Halo to the starting roster in time for Worlds. 

Earlier this year, PCS champions PSG Talon were forced to play without their starting AD Carry, Unified, at the Mid-Season Invitational due to travel restrictions. As a result, the team loaned out Beyond Gaming ADC Doggo for the competition. Both of those teams will compete at Worlds with their regularly-slated rosters. 

As for PEACE, no official deadline has been set for when its roster must be locked ahead of the World Championship. The Worlds play-in stage is set to begin on Oct. 5, while groups for the play-ins will be drawn next week on Sept. 22. It’s assumed that PEACE will need to have its full roster submitted to Riot sometime within the coming weeks. 

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About the author

Michael Kelly

Staff Writer covering World of Warcraft and League of Legends, among others. Mike's been with Dot since 2020, and has been covering esports since 2018.