The CIS powerhouse Virtus Pro are the first to announce their withdrawal from the Galaxy Battles Philippines tournament. This comes less than 24 hours after Valve took what was supposed to be the first Major of 2018 off of the Dota Pro Circuit lineup.
Our goal for Q1 is plain and simple: securing #TI8 slot. Therefore we've decided to skip the tournament in Manila and focus on upcoming DPC events in Genting, Katowice, Bucharest and Shanghai. Good luck to Fallout Gaming with their upcoming events. https://t.co/8zzx19yONv
— Roman Dvoryankin (@dvoryrom) January 5, 2018
What Happened to the Galaxy Battles Philippines?
Valve’s last-minute decision to pull out their support for the tournament is equal parts confusing and suprising. Many, mostly infuriated and disappointed fans, were quick to demand an explanation. Especially after Valve only gave a slightly umbigious explanation, citing “unreasonable infringmentments on the privacy of the players, as a condition to enter the country” as the reason for their last-minute decision.
— Pao Bago, Implacable Death Lizard (@paolomuerte) January 5, 2018
The Philippines’ Games and Amusement Board have since offered an explanation. To sum it up, drug tests are now mandatory in the Philippines after the country accepted esports players as professional athletes earlier in 2017.
On a similar note, the CEO of Team Secret, John Yao, had some words to say on popular online forum, Reddit. In particular, he shed some light regarding the concerns surrounding the drug testing.
He wrote, “for the record, the concern was not drug testing in itself. The issue is that any drug testing would not be according to international standards, in a WADA-certified lab.”
Virtus Pro have since confirmed that they will continue with their bootcamp in Moscow instead of traveling to Manila. The ESL One Hamburg champions are set to appear in ESL One Genting in Malaysia on January 23-28.
Which other teams do you think will back out from the Galaxy Battles Philippines Dota 2 Tournament? Do you think Valve’s decision to rescind the tournament’s Major status was justified? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.