Turkish Counter-Strike player Can 'XANTARES' Dörtkardeş will miss Intel Extreme Masters Season XIV – Sydney due to visa issues, according to multiple sources close to the BIG organization.
XANTARES joined the BIG lineup in late December, replacing Johannes 'nex' Maget as he stepped back due to a wrist injury. Just over a month later, nex rejoined the lineup in place of AWPer Owen 'smooya' Butterfield who remains on the bench and under contract.
At this time, it is unclear who will replace XANTARES for the event, which starts in less than four days.
Since adding XANTARES, BIG have struggled to regain their form from 2018.
They finished in the group stage at the IEM Katowice Major, failed to qualify for DreamHack Masters Dallas, and did not reach the playoffs of StarSeries Season 7.
Just hours after it was confirmed by sources that XANTARES would miss out on the event, it has been additionally revealed that Nikola 'LEGIJA' Ninić will be filling in for him.
While Owen “smooya“ Butterfield is still on BIG's roster, he is considered ineligible to play with any team for 120 days following his stint as a stand in with Renegades for Season 9 of the ESL Pro League.
IEM Sydney is a $250,000 prize pool tournament organized by the Electronic Sports League in Sydney, Australia.
Previous winners of the tournament from 2017 and 2018 include SK Gaming (now MIBR) and FaZe Clan, respectively. This year, the event is missing key members of the world rankings of Counter-Strike: Astralis, Natus Vincere, and ENCE.
Expectations are at an all-time high for home town favorites Renegades, who reached the semifinals at StarSeries Season 7.
The event will open with Team Liquid facing B.O.O.T-dream[S]scape at 7pm PT / 10pm ET / 3am GMT, while BIG will play their first match against mousesports in the same time slot.