EPICENTER Major will be the 5th and final Dota Pro Circuit Major of the season. And since it’s the last one before The International 2019, its importance for many of its participants cannot be overstated.
More than half of the teams still have to either maintain their top 12 position or climb into the top 12 by earning enough qualification points. That alone will make the matches extremely fierce. Keep in mind that the prize pool of this year’s TI is growing faster than ever before, so even a simple participation at the event may come with a substantial financial reward.
This event (EPICENTER Major) features 16 teams in total, offers 15.000 qualification points and one million dollars in prizes, and is scheduled to take place in Moscow, Russia between June 22nd – 30th.
EPICENTER Major Format
EPICENTER Major will be played in two stages. In all likelihood, it will follow the same format that all DPC Majors have had and separate the teams into four groups of four. In the end, the top two teams from each group advance to the Upper Bracket of the Playoffs while the bottom two advance to the Lower Bracket.
The matches are Bo3 with the exception of the first round of Lower Bracket matches (Bo1) and the Grand Final (Bo5).
EPICENTER Major Prizes
The money and qualification points offered at EPICENTER Major will be distributed among the 16 participants in the following way:
- 1st place: $350.000 – 4950 points
- 2nd place: $170.000 – 3000 points
- 3rd place: $100.000 – 2100 points
- 4th place: $80.000 – 1350 points
- 5th – 6th place: $60.000 – 900 points
- 7th – 8th place: $40.000 – 450 points
- 9th – 12th place: $15.000 – 150 points
- 13th – 16th place: $10.000 – 75 points
Dota Pro Circuit Rankings
These are the relevant DPC rankings for this event:
- 9th place: Keen Gaming – 1140 points
- 10th place: OG – 948 points
- 11th place: TNC Predator – 696 points
- 12th place: EHOME – 590 points
- 15th place: Alliance – 279 points
- 17th place: Gambit Esports – 228 points
- 18th place: Forward Gaming – 155 points
- 19th place: paiN Gaming – 150 points
We also have Royal Never Give Up, Infamous, as well as four other potential competitors who may have the chance to fight for a spot in the top 12. Also, keep in mind that EHOME will not be present at the event to defend their spot. So anyone below them that gets at least a top 8 result will surpass them in the global rankings and secure a ticket for TI 9, unless of course a number of other opponents manage to do the same thing.
EPICENTER Major Participants
So far, 12 of the 16 EPICENTER Major participants are known. Two more will come from qualifiers and the other two will come to the event via the Minor that precedes it.
These are the currently known teams:
- Europe: Team Secret, Team Liquid, OG
- CIS: Gambit Esports, Virtus.pro
- China: PSG.LGD, Royal Never Give Up
- Southeast Asia: TNC Predator
- North America: Forward Gaming, Evil Geniuses
- South America: paiN Gaming, Infamous
This is an impressive list of competitors, but we must notice the fact that some of the greats are missing for now. Vici Gaming, NiP, Keen Gaming and Fnatic are not on the list. Truth be told, only Keen Gaming has reasons to worry because the others are already qualified for The International 2019. And even Keen is somewhat assured of their position, given the fact that it’s highly unlikely to be surpassed by more than three teams in the upcoming Major.
EPICENTER Major Team Analysis
Here’s a brief analysis of the most important competitors at EPICENTER Major.
Secret is the strongest team in the world right now and has been throughout the season. The gap between them and most of the other competitors is enormous, so they’re the prime candidate to claim the title not just at EPICENTER Major, but also at The International 2019.
It’s hard to imagine anyone that could beat them in their current form. Many have tried but the most that they managed to do was to win one game in a Bo3 or two in a Bo5. Rarely have we seen Secret defeated this season. Virtus.pro managed to do it twice and Vici Gaming once. Apart from them, and keep in mind that both are Major winners this season, nobody succeeded in beating Secret in an important match at a DPC Major this season.
At the most recent Major, MDL Paris Disneyland, Team Secret easily won the title with six consecutive wins. It was a show of force from Puppey and the rest of his squad. And even though several teams managed to steal one game away from them, nobody succeeded in bringing them down in a Bo3. Not even Liquid. After that first game win in the Grand Final, it looked as if they might be able to perform a miracle. But Puppey immediately adapted to the shenanigans and won the next three drafts, as well as the games.
Going into EPICENTER Major, we expect Team Secret to reach the Grand Final and win one more time, unless they decide to hide all of their best strategies for The International 2019 and simply settle for a top four result. But even if they treat the tournament with a lack of interest they should still get a very good result, simply because at this point, they’re so far ahead that they’re likely to beat most of the other teams by just going through the motions and not having to adapt at all.
Liquid’s rise to the heights of Dota 2 glory has been long-awaited. Their fans had to patiently wait for more than half a year in order for their team to finally prove that they still get it. KuroKy struggled to find a winning formula after the departure of Heen, the team’s coach, and went through some very rough tournaments with Liquid. Not to mention the fact that they failed to qualify for The Kuala Lumpur Major, which was the first Major of the season. Then, at the second Major, they finished 7th – 8th, followed by another disaster: 13th – 16th at DreamLeague Season 11.
Watching this horror film unfold, we assumed that a roster change may be inevitable for Liquid. But they somehow pulled through and at the 4th Major of the season, they played in the Grand Final. This secured them a spot at The International 2019 and proved to everyone that Liquid is truly back.
Going into EPICENTER Major, we expect Liquid to get at least a top four result. In fact, given how many of the best teams are missing, a top four is very likely at this point.
EG is the 3rd place specialist. After The International 2018, where they finished 3rd, EG went on to finish 3rd at three out of the first four Majors of this season. That’s absolutely impressive in terms of consistency, as all the other teams with the exception of Team Secret and Virtus.pro have had their ups and downs and the downs were usually plenty, while the ups were just one or two. Take Fnatic for instance, who managed to get one 3rd place and one Major and that’s it. Or NiP, who managed to get one 4th place and that helped them secure a spot at TI 9.
Going into EPICENTER Major, we expect EG to maintain the consistency and get another top four result.