The second-place team in the Pacific Championship Series, PSG Talon, will have to start the 2020 LoL World Championship with an unfortunate change to their line-up, the team announced Wednesday. The travel arrangements for Talon's starting jungler Kim "River" Dong-woo and mid laner Park "Tank" Dan-won have been delayed and they will be replaced by Hsiao "Kongyue" Jen-Tso and Chen "Uniboy" Chang-Chu for the play-in stage.
"Due to travel restrictions and visa requirements for entering China, there has been an impact to our starting line-up," Talon wrote. "Tank and River will not be able to participate in the play-in stages (as they will still be under quarantine in Shanghai) and will be substituted by Uniboy and Kongyue from AHQ Esports."
PSG added that should the team qualify for the group stage, Tank and River will be able to return by then.
Still, this is a serious blow to PSG Talon ahead of their play-in matches. Only two teams per play-in group will advance to the group stage and Talon's Group B already has LGD Gaming as the favorites. Tank is the most seasoned player on Talon's roster, his career dating back to 2015, while River was joint runner-up for the MVP title of the 2020 PCS Spring Playoffs. Kongyue and Uniboy, on the other hand, come from a different team and haven't played with any of Talon's players before.
In theory, this disruption gives some of the other teams in Group B a higher chance to make it to the play-in playoffs. Talon was considered by many as a solid 2nd/3rd place team in that group together with Unicorns of Love, but if the team has no cohesion on the day, minor region teams like Rainbow7 and V3 Esports suddenly have the potential to upset the standings.
This is far from the first visa and travel incident that has affected the line-up for Worlds 2020. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, both Vietnamese (VCS) teams will be skipping the tournament. Last weekend, LCL champions Unicorns of Love also tweeted that for a moment, it "looked impossible for us to reach Worlds 2020" and their ticket was only saved by Riot's involvement.
UPDATE 9/25: In addition to River and Tank, AD carry Wong "Unified" Chun Kit is also currently off the PSG Talon starting roster due to visa delays. Unified will be eligible to play on September 27th, but River and Tank are still in quarantine and will not be eligible to play in the Worlds 2020 play-in.
PSG Talon went 2-0 in its first day of the play-in against Rainbow7 and LGD Gaming. Chen "Dee" Chun-Dee, a substitute on Machi Esports, is starting in Unified's place until he is eligible to compete.
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