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Yikes, Top DOTA 2 Team Gets Covid A Week Before $40M Tourney

Three of Team Aster’s five players, plus their coach, have tested positive

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A troll man with two axes and a helmet made of bone swings his weapons toward the camera.
Image: Valve

Today, high-profile DOTA 2 team Team Aster announced via a Weibo post that several members of the team had tested positive for Covid-19, including three players. This news comes just eight days before the beginning of DOTA 2’s $40 million tournament, The International, which is scheduled for October 7, 2021.

The post, translated by the website joinDOTA, states that the three players who tested positive were the team’s carry, Du “Monet” Peng, offlaner, Lin “Xxs” Jing, and support, Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao. For those of you who are unfamiliar with DOTA 2, that’s three of only five team members. Toss in their coach, Han “Mad” Cheng, who also tested positive, and you have just about a worst-case scenario for the team.

Luckily, the four other Chinese teams that Team Aster is currently sharing a hotel with have remained symptom free, though they’re still waiting on official test results.

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A major team coming down with Covid-19, and four others up in the air, just days before The International is a logistical nightmare, especially given the fact that the tournament was already delayed twice: first, on account of the global pandemic and second, because of Sweden’s refusal to issue visas to the teams because they didn’t think esports were real sports.

Over the last two years, professional sporting events, electronic or otherwise, have been forced to get creative, by creating weird bubbles for their players to live in, or cruel, by treating the season like business as usual and sacrificing player health in the process, and this is just another instance of the phenomenon.

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Turns out, it is logistically difficult to get a bunch of people to all go to the same place and not get the highly transmissible disease, especially when those people all have to be in the same room playing a sport. For the few of you unconvinced that esports are real sports, take this incredibly grim situation as your sign that yes, esports are just regular sports now.