Less than two weeks before the start of the first Major for the year Valve decided to revoke the Major status of the tournament. According to the official blog post from the company, the decision is taken due to “what we feel are unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players, as a condition to enter the country“. The whole situation arose because of the drug tests that the players had to take in order to enter the country, which is in place for every athlete trying to step foot in the Philippines. A statement from the Games and Amusement board, posted by Pao, Tyrant of Orazca, sheds more light on exactly what is going on and what kind of test the players need to go through in order to enter the country and attend the no-longer-Major.

 


The players will be tested for Marijuana and Metamphatimine Hydrochloride. According to some, the whole tournament seemed a little shady ever since the organizers announced the venue (Ciudad de Victoria), which does not seem to be the best option to accommodate the players and the needs of the event. With Valve stepping out of the tournament and removing the qualifying points, Galaxy Battles seems a lot less appealing to the teams and has the potential to be a major (pun intended) let down, possibly to the scale of the Shanghai Major, which remains to this day the worst thing that Valve put their name behind. It is currently unclear if only the points and the status of the tournament are revoked, or the money that the company had to put into it as no longer in the deal as well, but it is safe to assume that they will no longer supplement the prize pool with the additional $500k. Continuing with the official announcement, we can see that Valve are “talking to tournament organizers to try to find a way to run a Major with the invited and qualifying teams, including the Pro Circuit points that would have been available in Galaxy Battles 2018“. Pointed out in a reddit comment by /u/Vitosi4ek, Valve are probably negotiating the transfer of the tournament with the organizers of Epicenter.

 

And for those who speak Russian, here is the tweet mentioned in the comment above:

The situation is getting more and more complex and it seems only logical that some of the teams will start pulling out of the tournament really soon, which might lead to a great fiasco for Fallout Gaming and Purpose Win, who are behind Galaxy Battles. Of course, the teams can not be blamed for this, as everyone is looking forward to the points that will secure a spot for The International 2018 and the money involved are hardly the biggest motivation anymore, especially when the legitimacy of the whole tournament is shaken with Valve stepping out. If the rumors are true, and indeed Epicenter XL will be the Major that will replace Galaxy Battles in the calendar, I am absolutely sure that they will go one step above everyone to prove that even with such short notice, they can create an outstanding product, just as the first season of Epicenter was. After all Alisher Usmanov is the man behind organizations like VP/Epic/SK and certainly money and connections are not a problem to speak of. I will make sure to follow the situation closely and provide you with a prompt update on the matter!

P.S. Here, have some salt as well:

To be continue…