After a month of rest and recovery following The International 7, competitive Dota 2 returned with gusto in September, delivering fans an almost non-stop stream of action featuring the best teams from around the globe. While it has been a very fun month, October is set to be considerably larger, with not one, not two, but three huge tournaments set to keep players busy.
With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at the hectic schedule, and the events set to dominate hardcores’ calendars.
SL i-League Invitational Season 3
Date: October 12-15
Location: Kiev, Ukraine
Prize Pool: $300,000
The Direct Invites- First- and second-place finishers Team Liquid and Newbee put on quite the show at TI7, and it didn’t take long for them to start reaping the rewards as they both received direct invites to the first big money tournament of the season.
Qualifier Notes- Vici Gaming looked the part of a potentially top-tier Chinese Dota 2 team in the qualifiers to SLi3. Despite getting knocked into the lower bracket in the first round of the tournament, VG roared back and defeated IG, LGD Gaming, EHOME and LGD.Forever Young to take a spot in the tournament. With a talented lineup and wins over a slew of top-notch opponents, it’s easy to look at VG as a heavyweight contender in the game’s deepest region.
In Southeast Asia, the new Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang-led Mineski looked downright excellent, successfully qualifying for its first of two tournaments. Fnatic, well, didn’t as it kicked off its ongoing struggles with its new roster helmed by Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao with losses to Fire Dragoon and WG.Unity.
North America has been a hot mess over the last month and compLexity Gaming has been a big reason for that. Despite a shaken-up roster and the looming Evil Geniuses threat, compLexity has earned not one, but two spots in Minor tournaments. While it’s too early to look at them as a top team, this is certainly a step in the right direction for an organization that has struggled to maintain elite status.
Finally, SG E-sports established itself as the most formidable South American team at the moment (for whatever that’s worth) by winning its first of three qualifiers. Of course, South America is on shakier ground than any other region so it will be interesting to see how SG holds up both locally and internationally.
PGL Open Bucharest
Date: October 19-22
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Prize Pool: $300,000
The Direct Invites- LGD Gaming walks into PGL Open Bucharest after looking strong at TI7. Evil Geniuses...well, that’s an interesting call. The Boys in Blue earned a somewhat surprising direct invitation to the tournament but should hold up well with their new roster, which includes the returning Clinton “Fear” Loomis.
Qualifier Notes- Na’Vi picked up its second qualifier win to start off the season and that gives cause for optimism for the first time in years. Feel free to read more about that success in Inven Global’s full breakdown of the team.
Digital Chaos’ South American sister team picked up a big victory in the qualifiers, keeping SG E-sports honest and setting themselves up as a challenger in the region.
More importantly, the revolving doors in North America and China kept turning, as Immortals secured the NA spot in Bucharest and VGJ.Thunder won the day in China. The former MVP.Phoenix team, despite some hiccups, have looked like serious threats since reforming after TI7 and are likely hungrier than ever following their trans-Pacific move. VGJ, meanwhile, scored their first LAN spot after separating from the primary Vici Gaming brand, and seem poised to make up the ground they lost following the Kiev Major.
ESL One Hamburg
Date: October 26-29
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Prize Pool: $1,000,000
The Direct Invites- What was written about SLi3’s direct invites holds true here. Liquid and Newbee are the best teams in the world until proven otherwise and should be invited to tournaments until that happens.
Qualifier Notes- One of the running themes of the September qualifiers was Team Secret winning and looking good in the process. The house that Clement “Puppey” Ivanov built is the sole squad that will appear at all three of October’s Valve-approved Dota 2 tournaments and they’ve defeated nearly every conceivable EU rival to do so including OG, MidOrFeed, Hellraisers and Mousesports. Given their dominance over the last month, it doesn’t feel like a stretch to label them as serious contenders to take home trophies.
Virtus Pro and Evil Geniuses managed to kill two birds with one stone in the build to ESL One Hamburg. With their relatively disappointing TI7 performances being followed up with flops in September contests, VP and EG needed to take spots in Germany to both score paychecks and reestablish themselves as the top dogs in their respective regions. They pulled it off with strong runs through the CIS and NA qualifiers and once again have the feel of elite-level organizations.
Last but not least were the shocking upsets in Southeast Asia and China. While both of those regions are deep in their own ways, underdogs Keen Gaming and Happyfeet managed to run the gauntlets and push their way into ESL One Hamburg. Will they hold up long-term? That’s unclear, but it will be fun finding out!
These three events will play host to almost all of October’s Dota 2 action but there are a few other places to find a MOBA fix.
The qualifiers to the Dota PIT League and the Perfect World Masters will wrap up in the next few days, with the actual tournaments starting on November 2 and November 19, respectively. These are almost completely done at this point, however, with many regionals already finished and the remaining few wrapping up by October 2.
Don’t worry if you miss out, though, because the World Cyber Arena qualifiers are underway in a number of different regions. While the event’s status with Valve is something a mystery at this time, there will be a decent chunk of change on the line with some solid teams penciled in to compete for it.
Things don’t end there! On October 13, The Manila Invitational will begin. While the tournament is a small one, it features four interesting teams (iG.Vitality, OpTic Gaming, Virtus Pro and TnC Pro Team) and a strong lineup of casters that should combine for an entertaining show.
A week later, October 20, comes The Major League, a far east-only LAN featuring eight teams from Southeast Asia and China. Though it doesn’t have any heavy-hitting organizations and doesn’t have any qualifying points on the line, there are enough compelling squads (like Fnatic, TnC and EHOME) involved to make it worth watching.
It’s a crowded month but there is a lot to look forward to. And of course, the action doesn’t stop when the calendars turn...
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