The Australian Starcraft II community has descended into bitter arguments over the past few days, with the news two new players from overseas could participate in the upcoming DreamHack: Fall competition.
Following in the same path as Joshua “RiSky” Hayward, newcomers Raza “RazerBlader” Sekha and Haseeb “TeebuL” Ishaq are able to compete in the region due to their status as dual-citizens of the United Kingdom and Pakistan, of which Pakistan is an eligible nation to play under for the DreamHack event.
RazorBlader and TeebuL are both set to debut in the upcoming Fall event, which begins with qualifiers this weekend.
Their potential debuts have sparked fierce debate in the Oceanic Starcraft community. Many believe that because these three players — which also includes RiSky — do not reside in the region they play in, they should not be able to play. Others believe they should be able to play, but should do so under conditions that favour players who reside in the region.
Currently, Starcraft players are allowed to select a ‘sub-region’, which can allow them to have server selection which benefits them the most.
The fact that RiSky, RazorBlader, and TeebuL have elected to play in the Oceanic qualifiers all the way from the UK means Australian-based players will be forced to compete in series hosted through the oft-unstable Singapore servers.
All three contentious entrants are also expected to claim at least some of the tournament’s prize pool.
I tried guys, but it looks like our region is truly f****d. 2 more invaders comin in from the UK, 6k+ players.— Pezz (@MF_Pezz) August 4, 2020
The public outcry has also been met by a relatively large amount of disdain by others in the community. Their opinion is that the region has had it “too easy” for too long, and that many of the players are simply worried about the extra challenge.
The Oceanic & Rest of Asia scene is currently considered one of the weakest in the Starcraft competitive ecosystem, with many players feeling the scene should just ‘get better.’ On top of that, there are some that don’t consider the hefty prize-pools fair.
aussies afraid of mid to low tier euros. absolute state of the region— Henning (@ghosthrdware) August 4, 2020
In a statement on Twitter, one of the two players, RazerBlader, said he feels what he’s doing won’t harm the ANZ scene at all.
In the post, he wrote, “It’s not like I am a full-time player high above them in skill and will be dominating the region.”
“I am hoping to have some nice games, and slightly increase the level of competition. I feel like assuming too much that the tournament has been made solely for those living in ANZ.
“The region is called Oceania/Rest of Asia, so it’s more like it’s been expanded than taken over. I am officially dual-citizen and exited [sic] to play for the previously unrepresented Pakistan here, and hopefully in the next Nation Wars.”
Well the region is called Oceania/Rest of Asia, so its more like its been expanded than taken over.— Raza Sekha (@RazerBladerSC2) August 4, 2020
I am officially dual-citizen and exited to play for the previously unrepresented Pakistan here and hopefully in the next Nation Wars.
RiSky himself told Snowball Esports in an interview after his win at DreamHack Summer that he “should have a bigger disadvantage,” but considering his success, that hasn’t necessarily translated into “tougher” overall results.
Now, only time will tell if the newcomers are simply stepping in for a single tournament, or if they’re here to stay. And, in the end, a loss for the Australian scene may be a win overall; the Pakistan players mark a major, potentially very welcome diversification of the scene.
The OCE / ROA DreamHack Fall qualifiers are this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday at 11am AEST. Qualification will be on offer for the top seven finishers. Participation is free, with a generous prize pool on offer.