We didn’t expect Worlds 2022 to be affected by Covid-19, but Upset and Hylissang’s positive tests started the debate about substitute players. There are a few more “sixth men” in Worlds currently, but the teams that would have problems due to the pandemic were Fnatic and Vietnamese teams.
DRX fields Juhan instead of Pyosik for some time now, and Evil Geniuses replaced Danny with Kaori as Danny needed to focus on his mental health. Besides these decisions, Fnatic will start Worlds 2022 with missing parts, and Vietnamese teams almost missed Worlds due to visa issues. Let’s take a look at these examples.
Fnatic, Evil Geniuses and DRX
On September 23, just a few days before the Worlds 2022 Play-In stage, Fnatic announced that Upset and Hylissang tested positive for Covid-19. A little later, Riot Games gave them the ability to call up a seventh substitute only because of the pandemic, as Worlds 2022 requires a six-man roster normally. Fnatic TQ’s support Rhuckz joined the team in Mexico.
As you might remember, Upset also missed Worlds 2021 due to family issues, where he had an unfair backlash from fans and a teammate because he decided to stay with his wife during a difficult time. Some people thought it would be funny to "meme" him again when he was Covid-19 positive, saying that his wife “probably infected him”.
Any professional League of Legends player would give anything to play at Worlds, no doubt. It is very easy to decide that Upset wouldn’t miss Worlds and leave his team alone on purpose. Nonetheless, Fnatic announced that Upset tested negative and will make it to Mexico on time and be present for all games. Hopefully, he will show haters what he is made of after such a misfortune.
Although Hylissang also tested negative for Covid-19, his negative test was later than Upset’s. He will not make it to Mexico in time to play the first two games where Fnatic faces their number one rival in the group, Evil Geniuses and Chiefs Esports Club later that night. He will be present for the rest of the games.
Another substitute player enters the Rift for Evil Geniuses. Their wonderkid ADC Danny had some issues during and after the series against Team Liquid which ended 3-2 in favour of EG and brought them the ticket to Worlds. However, Danny couldn’t continue playing as he decided to focus on his mental health and his team accommodated him pretty well.
Instead of Danny, academy ADC Kaori will step in. Another wonderkid, the Turk couldn’t play at any international tournament before he joined EG, much like Luger who impressed with his performances at CLG. We will see if Kaori can create synergy with the team and manage to take Evil Geniuses to Worlds 2022 Main Event.
Finally, the substitution we will mostly see is DRX’s Juhan - Pyosik changes. After Pyosik’s woeful performance this summer, DRX found the solution by replacing Pyosik with Juhan at certain points. It worked out well as the team made it to Worlds 2022 when everyone thought they would get crushed by Liiv SANDBOX. You might witness changes between these players during Worlds 2022.
Worlds 2022 action starts tonight with the play-in stage where minor regions have the chance to shine and steal main event spots. Check out Luckbox to find live streams and the latest news about Worlds. Sign up now to claim your 100% bonus before placing your bets.
Vietnam managed to make it
The most problematic pre-Worlds probably goes to Vietnam. The country missed the last two World Championships due to visa issues, and it seemed like Saigon Buffalo wouldn’t make it in time. While GAM Esports didn’t face many problems and got all the visas needed to get to New York, SGB needed help from Riot Games.
Whether publicly on Twitter or in private talks with Naz Aletaha, Saigon Buffalo made their voices heard and got the help they needed from Riot Games to get an American visa. Both Vietnamese teams will be able to participate in Worlds 2022, and SGB’s journey will start in the play-in stage. We will see if they can make it to the main event and show Vietnam’s strength in League of Legends.