As the final Dota 2 Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, many within the Dota 2 community expected the EPICENTER Major to go out with a bang. But instead, the tournament isn’t exactly off to a good start
The organizers of the EPICENTER Dota 2 Major, Epic Esports Events, took to Twitter to explain the changes they’ll be making for the slot allocation for the said tournament.
According to their Twitter account:
“Europe, China, and CIS will each have 2 slots on THE EPICENTER MAJOR due to an uncertainty in regional slot distribution and in communication with Valve on that matter. Remaining 3 slots will be distributed by Valve later.”
Epic Esports Events officially announced the EPICENTER Major 2019 on March 2018. Set to be the final tournament of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, the Dota 2 Major will be hosted at the CSKA Arena in Moscow from June 22-30 and will feature a $1 million prize pool.
In their announcement, the tournament organizers gave the hometown crowd another reason to cheer as they gave an extra slot to the CIS region. This bumped the number of slots for the region from two to three. However, this also meant taking away a slot from North America, leaving them only with two qualifier slots instead of the usual three.
For the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, Valve announced that Dota 2 Major must all follow the same format and have 16 teams. There will also be no more direct invites. Instead, each of the six competitive regions will receive at least two slots each. The other three slots will be distributed to other competitive regions at the tournament organizer’s discretion. Meanwhile, the sixteenth and final slot will be reserved for the winners of the preceding Minor.
So far this season, North America, Europe, and China, have all received three slots each. However, while Europe and China have each proven that they deserve the slots, North America hasn’t. Only Evil Geniuses stand out as an elite team in the region. The rest have struggled to make deep runs in DPC tournaments let alone win them.
Of course, Epic Esports Events decision to give preference to CIS did not go unnoticed as well. Even if North America was a relatively week region compared to Europe and China, the competitive depth in CIS wasn’t significantly better either. Outside of Virtus.Pro, who have won a Major this season and have won a total of five Majors over the past two seasons, no team have consistently stood out as a contender from the CIS region. A case could be made or Gambit Esports, but they too have struggled to put up consistent results, especially against elite competition.
Neither Valve nor Epic Esports Events have released a statement addressing the reason behind the reversal. As it is, all regions currently only have two slots for the EPICENTER Major 2019. Although, China’s and Europe’s third slot are all but guaranteed already at this point. In that case, only one spot is left unaccounted for. Whether this will be awarded back to North America remains to be seen. However, if it were to be awarded based on the strength of a region, then Southeast Asia deserves some recognition.
The closed qualifiers for the EPICENTER Major 2019 are still set to kick off on May 15 following the conclusion of the MDL Disneyland Paris Major.