Due to the number of Fnatic players who came down with COVID-19, Riot Games has granted the franchise an extra emergency substitute for the League of Legends 2022 World Championships.
The game developer released a statement on September 26 revealing that, as a result of Fnatic’s bot lane duo testing positive for COVID-19, the team would be allowed an additional substitute slot during the Worlds 2022 tournament.
“Riot Games has permitted FNATIC an emergency roster addition due to two players contracting COVID,” the announcement tweet read.
“The player Rhuckz, from Fnatic’s ERL team ‘Fnatic TQ,’ has been added as a seventh player to the FNC roster.”
Fnatic’s players Elias ‘Upset’ Lipp and Zdravets ‘Hylissang’ Iliev Galabov have both tested positive for the virus and are currently unable to travel. The team have brought in Rúben “Rhuckz” Barbosa, the Portuguese support for Fnatic TQ, the organization’s European Regional League team.
Fnatic also sent out a statement concerning the issue, promising fans that they would provide more information concerning the status of Upset and Hylissang in the next two days.
“Rhuckz has arrived safely in Mexico and will sub for Hylissang should he be unable to travel,” Fnatic wrote.
“We will provide more updates within the next 48 hours regarding Upset and Hylissang.”
Mauno ‘beansu’ Tälli was also previously listed as a substitute for one half of the duo. Both players may have to handle the posts until the main starters of Fnatic are healthy enough to travel. In a follow-up tweet after the announcement, LoL Esports also revealed that they were looking “forward to seeing them at Worlds.” This is, of course, if Fnatic are still in the tournament by the time the bot lane duo recovers.
If Upset is unable to join Fnatic for the 2022 Worlds, this will become the second time in a row the team has had to call up a substitute for the German player. During the 2021 Worlds, the team had to bring in a substitute bot laner, Louis ‘BEAN’ Schmitz, after Upset left Iceland in order to handle a personal matter.
Fnatic went on to play with BEAN in all six of the group stage matches the team participated in. The squad finished with a 1-5 record in the group stage despite earning a direct seed after participating in the play-in stage.
Besides beansu, BEAN was also listed as a substitute for Fnatic’s main roster. At the moment, the team have not said who would take Upset’s place in the lineup, but due to his history with Fnatic, the likely choice is BEAN.
The AD carry was also the bottom lane partner of Rhuckz on Fnatic TQ for two years. Together, the duo helped the team win an LVP Spring and reach the quarterfinals in the EU Masters early this year.
Worlds 2022 will kick off on September 29 with the competition’s play-in stage. Fnatic will reportedly start the tournament on the first day and face off against Evil Geniuses and Chief Esports Club. Due to the ongoing hiatus of their star player, Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki, the Evil Geniuses will make use of a substitute in the squad’s bottom lane.