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Column: Despite heat concerns, the Berlin Major was the first event in over three years with no day-one stand-ins required

Getting all 80 players to the venue is Berlin’s first major success.

The Berlin Major is the sixth global Siege event after the COVID-related cancellations in 2020. While there already have been widespread complaints about the heat at the venue, the tournament has succeeded in one way already; simply getting the players to the venue.

Three months ago, visa issues at May’s Charlotte Major meant that Elevate, APAC’s longest surviving team at the Six Invitational, couldn’t attend, while three of the four BR6 rosters were competing from Mexico City, over 3,100 kilometres away. 

A few weeks before the Six Invitational 2022, three months prior, the Six Invitational was forced to change locations from Montreal to Sweden while at the Sweden Major, FoxA, the team captain of North America’s second-best team, couldn’t attend due to a COVID diagnosis.

The two prior events also saw Australian teams unable to attend due to COVID-related travel issues, an issue that also hit Virtus.pro at SI 2021. Finally, Merc couldn’t attend the Mexico Major due to COVID, HysteRiX couldn’t attend the Sweden Major due to his National Service, and the SI 2021 event was delayed by three months to May.

The majority of these problems weren’t anyone's fault. No matter how hard players try, going through airports always brings a risk of catching COVID -19, and Ubisoft can’t change global travel rules.

Nevertheless, looking back, we’ve also seen RaFaLe be unable to play BDS’ opening SI 2022 games, SirBoss officially be a stand-in at SI 2020, multiple Brazilian players be unable to attend the Tokoname Season 10 Pro League Finals, and kizoku play at the Six Raleigh Major. 

This means that the last time we had a full tournament with no stand-in players or missing teams on the opening play day was during the Milan Season 9 Pro League Finals. Held over three years ago, it was also the last time international Siege was played in front of European fans.

As dire as it sounds, getting all 16 teams to Germany safely and on time has already made this a historic event, even when looking past the remarkable results we saw on day one.

Despite the eventual success, there were several teams overcome close calls. Gaimin Gladiators and Elevate from APAC, as well as MNM Gaming’s Turkish player, Solotov, each had to push to get their visas on time. 

Luckily, everything has worked out so far, and all 80 players who qualified for the event are in the venue. It’s an annoyingly rare feat that’s worth not glossing over.