DreamLeague Season 10 Coming Soon!
Photo courtesy of DreamHack via Facebook.
The Dota 2 Pro Circuit (DPC) will have ten events this season, five Minors and five Majors. With some changes from Valve to how the second season of the DPC will work (see this article for details), the Minors are being emphasized as a stepping stone in the circuit.
In Stockholm, Sweden, DreamLeague Season 10 is the first step on the journey to The International 9 (TI9).
By the Numbers
There are 500 DPC points on the line at DreamLeague and $300,000(US) in the prize pool. At the end of the season, the twelve teams with the most DPC points will earn direct invites to TI9. The winner of DreamLeague will receive the last spot at the Kuala Lumpur Major.
Eight teams will participate in the event, one from each region, with two from North America and two from Europe. Teams are playing in two GSL-style groups that will seed teams into the upper and lower brackets of a double-elimination playoff.
With ESL One Hamburg wrapping up the day before DreamLeague begins, it’s hard not to compare the two events. Both have $300,000 (US) prize pools, but Hamburg featured twelve teams, many of which had qualified for the first Major. The playoffs for Hamburg took place in a big arena, ESL gave away a car for the event’s MVP, there was an Esports Hall of Fame induction of John “TotalBiscuit” Bain and a cosplay contest. DreamLeague has eight teams, will take place in the DreamHack Studios with no live audience and consequently won’t feature any additional events
Doesn’t that mean Hamburg was a bigger, better event?
No, not necessarily.
Though the event is DreamLeague Season 10, this is the eleventh iteration of the DreamLeague tournament. The Kick-Off season took place in November 2013. Originally conceived as a league for European and CIS teams to compete in over a few weeks, the event evolved to participate in the DPC season to include all six regions. The DreamLeague crew have a very clear vision for their event, one that sets it apart from other tournaments.
DreamLeague has its own unique identity. While Hamburg is a massive, live-audience event with a glossy polish, DreamLeague’s honed its quirkiness to a delightful point. With it’s “red button” antics and sense of humor, there’s no mistaking this tournament series for any other. This tournament series focuses more on fun than taking itself too seriously. It adapts some of the familiar elements of a professional production by having on hand top-notch talent, a professional game observer, and a stage set (with my favorite set piece of all time, the 'war room' which includes a Dota 2 map on a table and stands for each of the heroes).
The talent for this iteration will include DreamLeague veterans such as Jorian “Sheever” van der Heijden, Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner, Owen “ODPixel” Davies and Ioannis “Fogged” Loucas. Joining them are Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg, Kyle Freedman and Michelle “Moxxi” Song who is making her DPC debut.
Of course, the teams at DreamLeague are sure to give us their best. While some of them appeared regularly on last season’s circuit, others are new. A few thoughts on some of the teams:
- compLexity Gaming has played with their full squad, including position one player, Rolen Andrei Gabriel “Skemberlu” Ong for a single week. They had to use stand-ins for the first two months of the season while he sorted out visas. Skemberlu joined the team for ESL One Hamburg where he was considered the MVP for many of compLexity’s games. Despite the team’s elimination during the first round of the lower bracket at that event, it is clear why the team has been keen to play with him.
- ROOONS is reuniting in Sweden after the team’s three Canadian members participated in the WESG Canada qualifiers in Toronto, Canada October 26-27. We’ll see soon whether the last-minute Trans-Atlantic travel has an impact on their play.
- Vega Squadron (the organization picked up Team Lithium on October 28) is playing with a stand-in due to a visa issue with mid player Anas “MagE-” Hirzallah. Consequently, this is the second time we’ll see Danil “Dendi” Ishutin play competitively since leaving Natus Vincere in September. The two teams will face each other in Group A.
- Royal Never Give Up is one of the new Chinese teams formed in the wake of Valve’s decree that organizations can only have one team in the DPC. The team is a combination of players from multiple organizations, including Adam “343” Shah who had recently coached Fnatic and then played briefly with complexity Gaming.
- Southeast Asian team Tigers has seen some inconsistent results so far this season, but they most recently won a four-team regional tournament on October 21—Southeast Asia Cyber Arena 2018. They’ll want to bring that momentum to Sweden and the international stage.
- The Final Tribe is an all-Swedish stack who might be lamenting the lack of an audience as they would clearly be the local favorites. They last played at the World Showdown of Esports 1, In mid-October. They were knocked out by Team Serenity, placing 3-4th. The team is looking for a stronger result at DreamLeague.
- South American teams have been given a boost by the DPC as they’re guaranteed slots in these big tournaments whereas previously they had to compete with North American teams, often at a ping disadvantage. While the two SA teams to qualify for the Kuala Lumpur Major have players from outside of the region, Infamous features three Peruvian players, one Argentinean and one Bolivian player.
- Natus Vincere renovated their roster for the second season of the DPC, and like Tigers, they’ve had mixed results so far. Their most recent result was a 3-4th place finish at Maincast Autumn Brawl, where they won their group, but dropped in the semi-finals to NoPangolier, a CIS stack that formed after Odium disbanded.