Neon Esports’ upcoming campaign in the ONE Esports Singapore Major suffered a big blow as carry John Anthony “Natsumi-” Vargas is set to miss the historic Dota 2 tournament.
The team announced the development on Sunday, March 21, just six days before the first Major tournament of 2021 kicks off.
“Unfortunately, John Anthony ‘Natsumi’ Vargas is unfit to travel with us to the #SingaporeMajor,” Neon Esports CEO Robert Campbell said in a statement posted on the team’s social media channels.
Campbell did not disclose in the statement the specific reason why the 11K MMR carry Natsumi will not be playing the Major which will be hosted by ONE Esports and PGL on March 27 to April 4.
“We tried all possible options and it came down to getting a Filipino player to keep the chemistry and communication at its best,” the team said in the comment section.
Neon tapped its former offlaner Rafael “Rappy” Palo Sicat as stand-in.
“Rappy has played 1,000 games with Neon and we feel his experience and synergy make him the best choice for us,” added Campbell.
Filling the position-1 role is versatile pro Andrei “Skem” Ong (also known as “debil_2000”), who previously played as carry for various teams including North American organization Complexity Gaming.
Skem and Neon are set to compete in the group stage of the SG Major where they will face Alliance, Team Aster, Natus Vincere, Quincy Crew, Thunder Predator and the two teams advancing from the wild card phase.