Kiev Major format; Swiss format replaces GSL

Dota 2 Cristy “Pandoradota2” Ramadani

The Kiev Major format was revealed, with a big surprise switch up! Replacing the more common GSL group stage format, the Swiss format will be implemented over the span of two days.

Over the years, many fans, personalities and even players had complained about the GSL and Round Robin formats not being effective or optimal for seeding a major event. Changes had been made previously in an attempt to find the right balance and fair play, including trying out single elimination versus double elimination main brackets.

Swiss format is used with a single pool of teams and is based on scores - so teams will face others of the same performance and result level and will not play every team.

ESL used the format in their 2016 ESL One Cologne Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major tournament qualifiers and ELEAGUE adopted it for the 2017 ELEAGUE Major qualifier and the ELEAGUE Major itself. 

The Kiev Major format is a deviation from what the audience is accustomed to - causing some to feel uncomfortable or confused about what to expect.  However, if it works as intended, it would mean more emphasis on the group stage and more accurate seeding for the main event.

Kiev Major will kick off on April 24 with the group stage with an action packed day - approximately 16 best-of-three matches expected.

Kiev Major format

Group stage:

  • April 24-25
  • One group of 16 teams
  • Four Rounds of matches will be played
  • All matches are best-of-three
  • Matchups are based on same win/loss record
  • Teams will not play same team twice


Main event:

  • April 27-30
  • Single elimination bracket
  • All matches best-of-three
  • Grand Finals best-of-five


Kiev Major


The Kiev Major is scheduled to take place between April 27-30th at the National Palace of Arts, in Kiev, Ukraine with 16 teams competing for the $3,000,000 prize pool. National Palace of Arts is one of the main theater venues in Kiev, Ukraine. It was opened in 1970 with a seating capacity of almost 4,000 in the main concert hall – approximately the same size as the Wang Theater where the Boston Major was held this last fall.

In the past, StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 2 hosted CS:GO at the event successfully.

The event will be hosted by PGL and will be the last Major pre-TI7.


Do you like the new format?

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Cristy “Pandoradota2” Ramadani
Pandora is a behind the scenes Dota 2 professional Jack of All Trades. When not busy with Dota 2 work, she is out trying to save the world or baking cupcakes. Follow her on Twitter @pandoradota2


  • Vedant "nAgent" Patil ,
    People don't think of consequences. As this swiss system might give balanced playoff seeds, it will also definitely give major upsets of the tournament. As every team has to play best of thress unless they win 3 of them to qualify. If 2 good teams face each other anyone can win these best of threes and might upset the tournament favourites in group-stages. Yeah! there is a chance that big teams that many people will consider as tournament favourites might not even make it to play-offs. I think Round Robin 2 game series group stage is more balanced. But I also liked the decision to change major format to swiss system. As it kills repetitiveness of the tournaments and also gives chances to see some new faces on big stages. Yeah! We don't need most balanced formats every time rotating formats for every tournament will keep a great surprise factor as it will be less predictable who can emerge big in the tournament.
    • Andrey "jed1" A ,
      All teams go to the playoff. Meaning group stage with 30 bo3s in 2 days decides nothing. Great format.
    • Shi Zheng "lonelyraw" Tan ,
      The format is more entertaining to watch since the one having the same cumulative win/loss which means teams of the same level will face off against each other, compared to round-robin which is kinda less entertaining due to the possibility of 1-1 draw. While I agree that there will be higher chance of upsets due to the limited games (3 or 4) played, it will mainly affect the teams in the middle (the moderately strong and moderately weak teams), thus far more exciting. Moderately strong teams might suffer but the strongest will definitely come up on top.
  • Quy Don "redbottom" La ,
    ... Example of round 1 .... Team I vs team J ..... then how the fuck the result of round 1 could possibly be Team I 0-1, Team J 0-1 ???
  • Ivan "k.o._shake" Nepomyaschiy ,
    What a fail from PGL. You need 5 round of six teams with 2-2 score, and only after 5th round you will get 8 teams........ fail Ukranian Palace, fail with tickets, #failKievMajor
  • battulga "baagii" enkh ,
    Stupid format... No PlayOff no qualified no eliminated waste of a time group stage boring..... qualified eliminated then daouble bracked more than this format
    • Arvell "revyrain" Skynative ,
      There is a playoff at main event April 27-30. And it is a Single Elimination bracket just like the Boston Major. The Swiss Format is planned to be used on the group stage at April 24-25.
    • Arvell "revyrain" Skynative ,
      Oops.. I think I misunderstood your point. Well, group stage is mainly created just to be the parameter of seeding the teams into the main event, so there is less pressure at this point indeed. Also it seems Valve wants all the arriving teams to have a chance to play in the main event, so they don't put any elimination at group stage. It's too cruel IMO to just let teams go home from the very first day without ever seeing the main stage.


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