Reviewing DPC 2018-2019: Who's in, on the cusp, needing a miracle?
Title image courtesy of DreamHack
It is the afternoon in Seattle Washington, on a June day that seems otherwise the same as the one before and will be for the one following. Most people are going about their day in the usual manner. For Dota 2 players, that means pubs are being played, replays are being watched, scrims are being set up and memes are being created.
And then it happens. The entire Dota 2 world becomes glued to their social media. Professional players start to feel their hearts racing, the sweat builds up in the palm of their hands and anxiety that has been pushed down suddenly bubbles to the surface. It will be this way over the course of the next few hours.
The iconic logo and team brand name is revealed in the first box. Of course they received an invite. They did win the Boston Major and the Kiev Major, not to mention the Manila Major before that.
The minutes counting down on the designated reveal site feel like an eternity. 10 more minutes for the next invite. Professional teams around the world are holding their breath.
How many teams will it be this year? For TI5 there were 10 teams directly invited. TI6 invites were cut down to six.
In the end, there were only six teams directly invited again.
For some a wave of relief. For others, moments of anguish and frustration. No sooner after the invites were fully revealed, the community took to social media platforms and reddit to express their opinions and debate the merits of those invited and the secrecy Valve holds in deciding the number and which teams receive the honor.
Thanks to several years of public outcry from teams and the community regarding the criteria used to select directly invited teams, following TI7 Valve introduced the DPC (Dota Pro Circuit) system for 2017-2018.
The idea was to address and create transparency for The International invite system taking the guess work, conspiracy theories and fourtne telling out of the equation.
DPC 2018-2019 Team Status
Six DPC events are in the books. One is currently live. Three are still waiting to be played. Only four teams so far have secured their place at The International 9 and teams still have a fighting chance to claim one of the eight remaining spots to the pinnacle of all Dota 2 events of the year.
The OGA Dota PIT Minor happening right now, followed by MDL Disneyland Paris Major and then Starladder Minor with EPICENTER MAJOR putting the final touches on the season at the end of June.
There are only four teams that have secured enough points to earn themselves an invite to TI9. Teams need 3691 points to qualify.
The maximum points awarded in a Minor is 120 but the Major points range from 75-4,950 points - enough to make or break teams.
Image courtesy of PGL
Virtus.pro, Team Secret, Vici Gaming and Evil Geniuses have secured themselves a place at TI9. Despite having their place locked in, none of these teams are taking things easy and continue to compete at the highest levels at the Majors.
Throughout last season Virtus.pro managed to surpass all expectations, taking the first major title of 2017 and 2018, becoming the first team to seize two consecutive major titles, and were the first team to stake a claim of a TI8 direct invite in the middle of the season, long before any other team was able to secure their place.
Despite having secured their position, the team refused to back down. Instead, they charged forward even harder finishing the season with a total of 12,372 qualifying points. That is almost 3000 points more than Team Liquid who was next in line.
Once again the CIS powerhouse is back in the first place of the DPC rankings with 10950 points, 1650 points ahead of Team Secret in second place, and show no signs of slowing down.
Team Secret had ended last season in 4th place in the DPC rankings and here they are again in the top 4 as of right now again. For some, this is the strongest the European team has been and they are a real contender for a TI9 championship title.
ViCi Gaming earned their invite after making history as the first team to win a Minor and then move on to claim the championship title at the following Major when they stunned the crowds at DreamLeague Season 11 Major after gaining traction at StarLadder ImbaTV Minor.
Evil Geniuses continue to be the North American giants and for good reason. This powerhouse team is letting nothing stop them from reaching another TI main stage and aiming to be the first team to claim the Aegis twice.
The Real Contenders
The real contenders for one of the eight remaining slots are the teams that are currently sitting in the top spots.
These teams are poised to be able to find themselves in the top 12 by the end of the season. Without making any further roster changes themselves, they have a fighting chance to be able to continue to gain points and move up, staying within the needed range.
Fnatic is sitting just on the edge in the 5th place ranking and with a hefty point total that is only 241 points away from securing a place.
Although NiP is next in line with 1590 points, the Swedish based team has been struggling lately to find themselves significant points. The team is currently playing in the OGA Dota PIT Minor and really need to secure the championship title and head to the MDL Disneyland Major to boost themselves up into a much more secure position. Teams like Keen Gaming and Team Liquid have a chance to pass them otherwise while at the Major.
J.Storm and TNC Predator cannot afford any roster changes and must secure a place at the EPICENTER Major to be ensured a spot. Without a chance to clinch any points in the current Minor/Major set, their future could hinge on one last event or the failure of other teams to rise up to the occasion.
Just like NiP, the stakes are high at OGA Dota PIT Minor for the EHOME. They will need to secure that championship title and ticket to the Major to avoid slipping from the 12th place rank they narrowly hold.
Hail Mary Teams
These are our hail mary teams, the ones holding on to a song and prayer, that need a high reward payoff and some small work in the miracle department.
They are sitting just outside the invite threshold.
With 3691 points needed to secure a place, their points are too low that top finishes in both of the next two Majors might not even be enough for them to make enough points. They will have to rely on the teams sitting above them to make either roster changes or fail to claim any significant points for the rest of the season.
Chaos Esports Club, Mineski, OG, Team Team and compLexity are well outside the parameters, but with their trips already booked to MDL Disneyland Major, a 5-6th place finish worth 900 points could easily in the top 12 and a 7-8th place finish worth 450 points could boost most of them into the right area. That, with placing in the next set of DPC events might be just enough to do the trick.
Alliance, Gambit, Forward Gaming, RNG and BOOM ID are all fighting in Dota Pit Minor. Anything short of first place won't help them much immediately and they will have to put theirs all into the next set of events. However, a championship title now will open the doors wide open for them and possibly be enough to make a miracle happen.
Regardless of the pros and cons, the debates and the praises the 2018-2019 DPC season has been rife with surprises, tension, and uncertainties. All eyes will be fixed on the leaderboards until the witching hour when EPICENTER Major ends June 30th.