TI6 visa issues continue to cast shade on the event and break hearts of players and fans around the world. One of four unfortunate visa issues pending has been officially put to rest – with the outcome not as hoped for. LGD Gaming’s Xue “September” Zhichuan has been denied his visa for a fourth time and will not attend TI6. He will be replaced by coach/substitute Wang “Banana” Jiao – no stranger to the Internationals.
ViCi Gaming.Reborn have yet to make an official announcement on their current situation, while TnC and Execration are waiting with baited breath for their applications to be approved.
TI6 Main Event LIVE updates – HERE
The International is the apex of players’ careers, reinforcing their status in the industry and acknowledgement from fans, peers and Valve. The pinnacle of all events is the prize that all players’ eyes and hearts are cast upon. Astounding financial rewards aside – with each team taking home $55,289 at the very least – the opportunities, the prestige and the honor that lay-in-wait following the event are priceless.
All the more reason to sympathize with LGD Gaming’s player, Xue “September” Zhichuan, who will be missing The International 6, through no fault of his own.
It has been officially reported by LGD that Xue “September” Zhichuan will not be able to attend TI6 due to his fourth visa attempt being unsuccessful. He will be replaced by current coach and substitute player Wang “Banana” Jiao.
Regrettably Sep's Visa Applications have been denied, and he will be unable to follow the team to TI6 pic.twitter.com/wVWc72xEeN
— LGD-Gaming (@LGDgaming) July 25, 2016
Banana is already in possession of his US visa, having already been approved last year, when he competed in TI5 with Newbee. All of the remaining members of LGD’s lineup had traveled to the US before, having competed in TI5 for various teams, last year.
September joined LGD in March 2016, during the last roster change window. Prior to that, he was a member of CDEC Avengers – his first professional team – between January and March of this year. Since joining the legendary organization, he has been able to travel to both the Philippines for the Manila Major and Kiev for StarLadder i-League with no complications.
While LGD seem to be all good to go for TI6 with Banana as a replacement, September’s fate has been sealed.
Last year, players and teams had at least two more weeks at their disposal to secure their visas, between The International 5 qualifiers ending and the Wild Card Series beginning. With two weeks less than what was already a short and rushed timeline – teams have been scrambling and relying on a song and prayer to get their visas approved.
It would seem like Valve should have learnt their lesson after last year’s onslaught of visa denials right before The International 5, when they even reached out to US Senator Maria Cantwell and asked for help providing assistance to struggling teams.
Coming down to the wire with less than a week remaining before the teams begin the first segment of the competition, players’ dreams are shattered and careers are destroyed or at the very least put on hold.
TI6 visa issues: Emotions still in limbo
While we are still waiting for an official word from ViCi Gaming.Reborn, it seems that Zhou “Yang” Haiyang has also had his visa application rejected for a fourth time and will allegedly be unable to attend TI6.
Yang began his professional career playing for ViCi Gaming.Potential, in March 2015. He was part of the championship team that took the title in SLTV iLeague invitational in Kiev, in April, and 7th-8th place at the Manila Major in the Philippines.
ViCi Gaming.Reborn has a reliable and proven stand-in, Mikasa, who made appearances with the team in both the SL i-League Invitational and TI6 Chinese Regional qualifiers in the stead of Wang “NoNo” Xin who was unable to attend due to visa and family issues, respectively. It is still unclear whether NoNo will be making the trek to Seattle with the rest of the roster for TI6.
Now, with the TI6 visa issues Yang is facing, the team could be in a precarious situation if Mikasa was already slated to fill in for NoNo in Seattle.
Thus far, the two Filipino teams TnC Gaming and Execration are also still waiting for official answers and confirmation after frantically working with the US Embassy, Valve and government officials.
The managers of the two Southeast Asian teams have told Esports Inquirer that they were advised by the US Embassy to apply for P1 Athletes visas instead of B1/B2 visas (Business-Tourist). Reportedly, Execration had first applied for US TI6 visas on July 8th, while TnC started the visa application procedures on July 15th. According to the two teams, they initially applied for B1/B2 visas under Valve’s advisement.
The two teams have received guidance from 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), a self admitted Dota 2 fan, who helped Team Rave with their visa complications on several occasions, last year.
According to a Facebook post shared by TnC only hours ago, the team is still waiting for a response.
The International 6
This year’s main event will take place at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, between August 8th-13th. All 16 participating teams will advance to the main event and will receive a share of the TI6 prize pool.
The International 6 prize pool has outpaced The International 5 one from the very beginning. As of July 27th, the total TI6 prize pool has already broken last year’s record, thus becoming the largest in esports history.