Image courtesy of Canada Statistics
For what seems to be the first time — or in at least recent years, all 18 participating teams in The International 2018 have been able to secure their visas.
Moving The International 2018 to Vancouver, Canada seems to have been a good idea, at least from the team visa status perspective. Over the course of the last few years, obtaining a visa has always been known to induce anxiety and shatter dreams for players. For the last two years, Valve relied on US Senator Maria Cantwell to step in and assist struggling teams trying to get to The International traditionally held in Seattle, Washington.
Previous International Visa woes
Compared to previous years where visa issues often overshadowed the hype leading into The International – last year for TI7, several small bumps in the road served to be of only minor inconvenience for most of the SEA and Chinese teams. Both Execration and TnC Gaming were able to get through muddied waters that plagued them only months before when in June, Clutch Gamers missed the Dota Summit 7 when the team was denied visas when the Filipino agency required the team to file for P1 visas. LFY’s visa issues had been laid to rest as Du “Monet” Peng and He “Inflame” Yongzheng both received their visas following their second interview and Invictus Gaming‘s support player Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao had passed his second interview – the last of the Chinese players that were hanging in limbo at the time. However, Team Empire was not as lucky. Safelaner Vladimir ‘Chappie‘ Kuzmenko was unable to receive his passport back from the embassy in time to travel to The International 7 and was replaced by Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fomynok.
Both TnC Gaming and Execration initially had their visas rejected for the same reason prior to TI6 and were only approved in the last days possible thanks to the intervention of Valve and Senator Bam Aquino (the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship and the Senate Committee on Youth, in the Philippines).
Akbar ‘Sonneiko‘ Butaev’s US visa was denied three times right before The International 5. The support player managed to get approval during his fourth appointment at the US Embassy. Chinese team EHOME faced a similar situation when Chen ‘Cty‘ Tianyu got his US visa request denied before TI5. At that time, LGD’s Business Development Consultant, Orrin Xu, reported that the US Embassy “completely disregarded Valve’s invitation letter”. TI5 Wild Card contenders, Vega Squadron, went through the same struggles when Semion “CemaTheSlayeR” Krivulya’s visa application was denied twice.
In 2014, four out of five players from the SEA team Arrow Gaming were denied their visas to attend TI4. The team benefited from additional supporting documents provided by Valve and backing from Malaysia’s Minister of Youth and Sports, and managed to get their visas in the end. The entire Chinese team CIS, except for Dominik ‘Black^‘ Reitmeier who holds a German passport, were denied their visa applications during an interview with the US embassy for The International 4. They later appealed the decision and gained approval.
The International 2012 – saw Team MUFC, a Malaysian direct invite, failed to make it to Seattle and had to be replaced by Mousesports. Even Mousesports, at the same event, failed to secure a visa for Romanian Alexandru ‘ComeWithMe‘ Craciunescu and Kuro ‘KuroKy‘ Salehi Takhasomi had to finally replace him.
The International 2018
The International 2018 is set to begin on August 15 and scheduled to run through August 25. For the first time ever, The International will be held in Vancouver, Canada with a total of 18 teams competing. Currently, the prize pool is over a staggering $23 million with just one week left until the big event.
Pandora is a behind the scenes Dota 2 professional Jack of All Trades. When not busy with Dota 2 work, she is out trying to save the world or baking cupcakes. Follow her on Twitter @pandoradota2