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Being the first Major of the Dota Pro Circuit, The Kuala Lumpur Major is guaranteed to gather a big crowd and provide a great spectacle for audiences from all over the world. The tournament features 16 teams, all of whom had to qualify for the event, and lasts for 10 days.
As the name suggests, The Kuala Lumpur Major is scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between November 9th – 18th. Its last 3 days will be held in front of a live audience, at the Axiata Arena, which has a seating capacity of over 15.000.
The Kuala Lumpur Major brings together a total of 16 teams from 6 regions:
Unlike previous Dota Pro Circuit events from the 2017-2018 competitive season, new ones require all participants to qualify. This guarantees that for every event, the attending teams are the best in the world at that particular moment.
Of course, unexpected events can occur, such as one or more teams not being able to attend the event or its qualifiers. In particular, The Kuala Lumpur Major won’t be graced by the presence of OG and Team Liquid, the last two TI champions. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of other top teams participating. Practically, all the world’s best with the exception of the two mentioned above.
The Kuala Lumpur Major has an ingenious competitive format that guarantees a great show and a fair chance for every team to prove its worth. First of all, the event lasts for 10 days. That’s reminiscent of The International 2018 and in fact, most of The Kuala Lumpur Major format elements were inspired by this great event.
The tournament takes place in 2 stages. The first of these stages, called the Group Stage, lasts for just 2 days. The 16 teams will be divided into 4 groups of 4. Each group will be played in a double elimination bracket format (GSL). The top 2 teams qualify for the Upper Bracket of the Main Event. The Bottom 2 teams qualify for the Lower Bracket. The Group Stage matches are Bo3 series.
The Playoffs Stage lasts for 8 days. With the exception of its first round of Lower Bracket matches (Bo1) and the Grand Final (Bo5), every other match will be a Bo3 series.
The Main Event of The Kuala Lumpur Major is identical in structure to that of The International 2018 and that can mean only one thing: a lot of hype. Three Upper Bracket rounds to reach the Grand Final and six Lower Bracket ones. That translates into a lot of matches, given that all the 16 participants will qualify for this stage regardless of their Group Stage performance.
Being a Major within the Dota Pro Circuit for the 2018-2019 competitive season, The Kuala Lumpur Major offers 1 million dollars in prizes and a total of 15.000 qualification points for TI 9. Both of these rewards will be shared among the participants in the following way.
Another change for the new competitive season is that Dota Pro Circuit events now offer qualification points to every single participant instead of just the top 4 teams. That creates a much more accurate and transparent ranking system and will certainly allow each team to be better differentiated in the global standings table, in the sense that it’s no longer the same thing to finish 5th – 6th at an event or 13th – 16th.
Of course, given that the new Dota Pro Circuit has only 5 Majors in total and that the Minors within this system are almost completely irrelevant in terms of qualification points for The International 2019, a Grand Final participation at any of these 5 events is likely to guarantee a spot at the next TI. It doesn’t mathematically, but it’s not that far off either.
Keep in mind that for the 2018-2019 competitive season, no less than 12 teams will qualify directly to The International via the Dota Pro Circuit ranking system.
There have only been a couple of tournaments and qualifiers so far this season, so it’s still a bit too early to say who the strongest teams are in the new meta and competitive climate. However, we can certainly anticipate that some of the participants are likely to be much stronger than the others.
Going into The Kuala Lumpur Major, these are the teams who will most likely dominate the tournament and secure top placements.
After taking 2nd place last season at The International 2018 and 3rd place overall within the Dota Pro Circuit, PSG.LGD started the new season with excellent results in qualifiers and seems to be as strong as before. Which can only mean one thing: expect this team to get a top 4 result at The Kuala Lumpur Major. Sure, there might be some teams capable of beating LGD, but they’re very few.
EG finished last season with a 3rd place at The International 2018, an absolutely spectacular result considering how the rest of its season turned out. However, after the addition of Fly and s4, EG has become once more the strongest competitor in the North American region and we’re likely to see it perform exceptionally well at The Kuala Lumpur Major.
Don’t get fooled by EG’s average performance at the recent Dota 2 tournament, ESL One Hamburg 2018. EG had to play with a stand-in during that event, because Suma1L could not attend. So the 5th place it got in the end is completely irrelevant.
Team Secret finished 5th – 6th at The International 2018 and 4th overall in the Dota Pro Circuit last season. More recently, at the start of this season, Team Secret qualified for this event by winning the European qualifier and won the title at ESL One Hamburg 2018, defeating teams like Virtus.pro and Vici Gaming in the process.
With its 5th – 6th place at The International 2018 and its 1st place overall at the end of the Dota Pro Circuit season (for 2017-2018), Virtus.pro is without a doubt a Dota 2 giant and should be regarded as a top contender at any event. The team’s roster is world-class in every respect and will most likely do well at The Kuala Lumpur Major.
We still have to see how VP stacks up against the other top competitors mentioned above, but a top 4 result is definitely to be expected. With a little bit of luck, perhaps Solo and his teammates can go all the way and play in the Grand Final. But even if that doesn’t happen, I fully expect this CIS team to impress everyone with its capabilities.