RNG's xNova plays at TI11 Main Stage with teddy bears after team catch COVID
Yap "xNova" Jian Wei, position 5 support player for Chinese team Royal Never Give Up (RNG), had to play alone on the stage during his team's best-of-one elimination match at The International 11 (TI11) as his teammates had to play from isolation after previously testing positive for COVID-19.
As the only RNG player that did not test positive, xNova was the team's only player eligible to play on the stage.
He wasn't entirely alone, however, as teddy bears wearing RNG jerseys were placed where his teammates would have been seated.
On top of the unusual setup, the match between RNG and Entity was definitely the craziest game of TI11 we saw yet.
Despite one of its players playing alone on stage while the others were isolated and sick with COVID-19, RNG were able to endure an epic 107-minute defence before ultimately falling to Entity in a match that saw multiple Divine Rapiers and a 100+k networth lead.
RNG bowed out of TI11 in 13th-16th place, with over US$250,000 in consolation.
Meanwhile, Entity guarantee themselves a 9th-12th place finish and will next face the loser of the upper bracket match between Team Aster and Team Liquid in the second round of the lower bracket.
RNG had a strong start in TI11's Group Stage and were leading Group A with a 9-1 record after Day 2. However, their performance plummeted after multiple members of the team tested positive for COVID-19.
The team were forced to forfeit the second game of their best-of-two match against fellow Chinese team PSG.LGD as a result due to "a medical issue".
RNG later posted an update on their Weibo page, stating that midlaner Lu "Somnus" Yao has contracted COVID-19 and was being treated in a hospital.
While Somnus returned to play the team's remaining games on Day 3, it was later revealed that all members of the team except for xNova were infected.
RNG lost all of their remaining games in the Group Stage and went from looking like a lock for the upper bracket in the Main Event to having to start in the lower bracket.
TI11 will be hosted in Singapore from 15 to 30 October and features a revamped format and a longer schedule.
The tournament will begin with a Group Stage from 15 to 18 October, where 20 teams will fight to become among the 16 squads to advance to the Main Event.
TI11's Main Event will be a double-elimination bracket and is split into two phases, the first being held from 20 to 23 October while the second will take place from 29 to 30 October.
For everything you need to know about TI11, check here.
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