ESL One Hamburg 2018: Great teams, great viewer experience?

Dota 2 Chelsea “Daeja” Jack

Barclaycard Arena during ESL One Hamburg 2017. The 2018 edition returns to the Arena on October 26. Copyright: ESL | Adela Sznajder

We’ve had several impressive tournaments already this year. ESL One Hamburg 2018 should be a caliber above each of those. It will have the biggest prize pool of the season so far, top-tier international teams, a history of solid production and a whole list of enhancements to the broadcast that should entertain and inform. It's time to get excited!

The biggest highlights should come from the competing teams. Of the twelve teams at ESL One Hamburg, eight qualified for the Kuala Lumpur Major, the first Major of this season of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit, and one (compLexity Gaming) will be playing at the first Minor. Every team wants to perform well, but keep an eye out for:

  • Virtus.pro’s return. One of the few top rosters to remain intact after the International 8 (TI8), they’re coming off a win at the Maincast Autumn Brawl, but the competition in Hamburg will be much tougher. This team won every ESL Major last season and took home all three MVP Mercedes-Benz. The pressure’s on for them to prove that they can remain dominant with this roster.

  • North American stand-ins. NA teams Evil Geniuses and Forward Gaming are both playing with stand-ins because Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan and his brother, Yawar “YawaR” Hassan had issues getting their visas on time. This will be the first time Evil Geniuses plays a LAN without Sumail since he joined the team, according to his own tweet last week.



  • Vici Gaming’s new roster. The new roster is debuting outside of China at this tournament. After a disappointing 9-12th place finish at The International 8, the team brought in offlaner Zhou “Yang” Haiyang and support position four player Pan “Fade” Yi from the disbanded VGJ.Thunder, as well as position five Ding “Dy” Cong who had previously played for Taichi Gaming and Vici Gaming Potential. The team’s consistently been in the top three in their region, but a breakout performance in Hamburg would establish them as the region’s best.

  • Group B will feature Forward Gaming and compLexity Gaming as well as Ninjas in Pyjamas, a decidedly European team captained by the quintessential American player, Peter “ppd” Dager. Look for Virtus.pro to dominate the group, while EVOS Esports may struggle. EVOS is filling in for TNC Predator who had qualified for the Southeast Asian spot but withdrew due to a conflict with another event.

  • Group A should be a tighter race. Pressure will be on Mineski and paiN Gaming to come out strong as the former have struggled to find their footing in qualifiers but won Red Bull Guardians in London, England last weekend, while the latter finished in second place at the same tournament. Both teams will want to keep that momentum going.


For a full list of teams and the game schedule, check out the GosuGamers’ ESL One Hamburg hub.

Winner of the cosplay competition at ESL One Birmingham. Copyright: ESL | Adela Sznajder

ESL One Hamburg also has a cosplay contest scheduled to conclude October 27 on the main stage. 3000 € will be distributed to the top ten finalists. With stage host Eri Neeman and Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner on hand as a sideline reporter, there should be plenty of content to fill the time between series.

For those who truly wish to remain focused on the Dota, ESL is promising an upgraded viewing experience. It will bring in a wealth of broadcast upgrades, including capitalizing on layerth features. Layerth is produced by JJ “PimpmuckL” Lieberg and Aleksandar “bukka” Bukurecki. Layerth’s goal is to make Dota 2 easier to watch, so expect a more accessible, easier-to-understand Dota 2 spectator experience.

ESL also announced their own collaboration with SAP and OG coach, Cristian “ppasarel” Banaseanu. Herometrics is a tool designed to “[provide] insights into the current picks and potential counters, opening up new discussions for the analysts at the broadcasting desk” according to the press release this past weekend.

The combination of Layerth and Herometrics as well as the return of the “Weatherman Purge” segment featuring Kevin "Purge" Godec seem designed to make ESL One Hamburg 2018 as accessible as possible for viewers, regardless of their depth of game knowledge. Exactly how enhancing all these additions are will be put to the test over the next few days.

Hamburg is the last tournament before the second Dota 2 Pro Circuit season gets underway with DreamLeague Season 10 on October 29.

Cheer on your favorite teams at live.esl-one.com from October 23-28. Let us know which team you’re rooting for in the comments below.


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Chelsea “Daeja” Jack
I love talking about esports and books. I think compassion and curiosity are really important and that a balance between serious and silly keeps life interesting. You can follow me on Twitter @writingdaeja


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