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Published: April 19, 2022

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • Ukraine has issued a general mobilization, banning all males aged 18 to 60 to exit the country
  • This means players like Apex pros Max-Strafe and Artyco might not be able to attend the Stockholm LAN
  • They asked the event organizer to play online from Ukraine, but it seems this won’t happen

Due to the general military mobilization in Ukraine, Apex professionals will most likely not be able to attend the Stockholm LAN event.

Max-Strife and Artyco Might Miss Stockholm

When a country is embroiled in war, especially a large one for its existence, oftentimes its entire population is involved in some way with it. War production, medical care for the injured soldiers and civilians, the building of fortifications, and course, soldiering itself – men and women are required to do their part in the war effort.

This is now a reality for many Ukrainians now fighting for the very existence of their country. Ever since Russia attacked Ukraine almost two months ago, the Ukrainian government ordered a general military mobilization, prohibiting all males aged 18 to 60 to leave the country. And of course, this law applies to professional esports players as well.

Two Ukrainian Apex Legends pros who qualified for the $1 million Stockholm LAN on the weekend of April 29 will not be able to attend the event due to this law. One of them is Maksym “Max-Strafe” Stadniuk from GMT Esports, who hoped the tournament organizers would make an exception and allow him to play online from his home country. However, GMT announced on Twitter recently that this will not be the case. Instead, Max-Strafe will be replaced by a substitute, Rasmus “maydeelol” Zettergren.

“I hoped to the last that the developers would understand the situation and give us Ukrainians the opportunity to play from home,” said Max-Strafe in a reply to GMT’s announcement.

Artur “Artyco” Tishchenko from Gambit is in the same predicament. He said for Dot Esports that there is still no official announcement on the issue yet and that he still hoped to be allowed to play from home. Gambit themselves have ties to the Russian government and thus have been banned from participating in many esports events. However, their other two players are Russian citizens and are allowed to play under the name “Players” during the second split of the Pro League.

The War Disrupted Many Esports Events

Since many of the EMEA pro Apex scene consists of Russian and Ukrainian players, it has taken a huge blow to its player makeup. The war has caused large disruption to competitions, with Ukrainian players not being able to leave the country, and playing the online stages from cities like Kharkiv and Kyiv, which were hit by artillery and rocket fire.

On the other hand, Russian players were banned from participating in tournaments from Russia or Belarus. Instead, many teams had to arrange to travel to Turkey or Kazakhstan for Pro League. For many organizations logistics were a problem, so they had to replace players.

Bizarrely, now Russian players will be permitted to play LAN, while players like Max-Strife and Artyco will miss the Stockholm LAN.

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