A New Favorite to Win The International 2018 Emerges at the MDL Changsha Dota 2 Major

Art by Mars Media.

PSG.LGD’s amazing month continued on Sunday.

After a stretch that included second place at the Dota 2 Asia Championship, a high-profile sponsorship from Ligue 1 football club Paris Saint Germain and its first-ever Major victory at Epicenter XL, the Chinese scene staples became the second back-to-back Major champions of the season by taking the top prize at the MDL Changsha Major. And the team pulled it off with a complete run through the lower bracket.

Despite entering the tournament with the hottest hand, PSG.LGD didn’t look particularly strong in the early goings.

PSG.LGD won the Epicenter XL Major just two weeks ago.

After starting well enough by taking clean 2-0 wins over Vega Squadron and Newbee in Group B, the wheels seemingly came off PSG.LGD, as it finished with an even record of 2-1-2. While that’s a decent line, the wins over Vega Squadron and Newbee looked less legitimate as it finished bottom of its group. Because of that, and the thoroughly stacked Group A, PSG.LGD seemed poised for a relatively early exit.

A risky best-of-one against IG.Vitality was cleared without issue and a bullet was dodged in a competitive series with TnC Gaming. From there, PSG.LGD had to work through a murderer’s row of teams in Team Secret, Newbee and Vici Gaming. That’s an undeniably tricky trio but PSG.LGD didn’t just beat them all, it hit its stride and defeated each 2-0.

That brought it to the finals where it faced a white hot VGJ.Storm.

The North American team had looked amazing throughout the event, working its way through the upper bracket after nearly topping its group. It seemed as though they would combine with PSG.LGD for a competitive grand finals...but that wasn’t the case.

PSG.LGD kept its run going by sweeping VGJ.Storm 3-0, and doing so without giving them even a glimmer of hope at victory.

With that, PSG.LGD took home the $400,000 top prize and a cool 750 qualifying points for the Dota Pro Circuit. With that, the team officially qualifies for a direct invite to TI8 and should now be looked at as one of the favorites to win the event.

NaVi will play at the China Dota 2 Supermajor...but 100-percent cannot qualify for a TI8 direct invite.

DPC’s Flaws Loom Large at the MDL Changsha Major

With the first season of the Dota Pro Circuit wrapping up, the pros and cons are pretty clear at this point, and the cons weighed heavily into the enjoyability of the MDL Changsha Major.

In theory, the DPC’s goal of adding defined stakes to Dota 2 events in the winter and spring is a great idea. In the same way the regular seasons of the NFL, MLB or NBA have a clear purpose of establishing the teams for the post-season, DPC events have a definite connection to The International 2018, which is big enough in size and scope to stand as its own sort of playoffs-Super Bowl hybrid.

The reality, unfortunately, isn’t so neat and tidy as Majors have failed to structure themselves around the ebbs and flows of the standings.

As the weeks go by, more and more teams have found themselves knocked out of contention. A slew of early favorites like Natus Vincere, OG and compLexity Gaming have been disqualified from a direct invite due to roster changes. Meanwhile, teams like Virtus Pro, Team Secret and Team Liquid have all secured spots in TI8 already.




This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing...but unfortunately those teams that are already confirmed to be in or out of TI8 are still filling up the lineups of Major events, removing a much-needed layer of intrigue from the tournaments.

On its own, the MDL Changsha Major was a strong show with many interesting storylines throughout.

In addition to PSG.LGD’s win, VGJ.Storm may have usurped Evil Geniuses’ long-held “Best North American Team” throne. Team Secret’s struggle to recapture its early success continued. OG’s new roster continues to gel. The list goes on!

Those are interesting stories...but the DPC rules ultimately spoil the ending.

Secret’s current struggles are meaningless because the team already has an invite in its pocket. The rise of VGJ.Storm and the rebuilding of OG don’t really matter because they’ll have to work their way through the TI8 qualifiers regardless. On down the list, the tournaments are becoming more and more skippable for fans because things just don’t really matter in the grand scheme of the season.

With two more majors set to take place before the qualifiers begin for TI8, these problems aren’t stopping here. Multiple teams that already have their fates sealed will be competing at the China Supermajor and ESL One Birmingham and if the teams that actually need qualifying points end up falling short early, it leaves both events feeling hollow as time goes on.

With TI8 looming just on the horizon, these tournaments should be some of the most exciting, intriguing events of the year. The DPC has had the opposite effect.

Dota Pro Circuit Standings After the MDL Changsha Major

Virtus.Pro, Team Liquid and Team Secret have been the top three teams in the Dota Pro Circuit throughout the entire season...until today. Now with two first-place finishes in Majors, PSG.LGD has jumped all the way into second place, and now has a TI8 direct invite mathematically sealed up. That’s a huge victory for the team, and one that should make them a clear favorite heading into the event. Though VGJ.Storm looked like a force to be reckoned with, taking second place, its roster change in April mean that the 450 points it earned are ultimately burned.

In-the-hunt teams Vici Gaming and Newbee both took home much-needed points in Changsha (taking 225 and 75 per player, respectively). Neither team has secured a spot yet, however, and there are a number of teams that are capable of stepping over them with strong performances at the remaining two Majors.

Evil Geniuses and Fnatic are both still well-positioned to climb into the top eight with a good finish and if teams like TnC or OpTic Gaming manage to pull off a surprise first-place run, they both jump into position as well.

ESL One Birmingham kicks off in just a few days, so make sure to keep an eye here for tournament results.

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