- IESF World Championship 2022
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- BetBoom Esports Tournament
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- DPC SA 2023 Tour 1: Open Qualifier #1
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- DPC 2022/2023 Winter Tour 1: NA Open Qualifier
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- DPC SEA 2023 Tour 1: Open Qualifier #2
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- Claro Gaming Apu League Season 5
- Euphoria Dota 2 League
- The Last Battle
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- New Talent Cup
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- Dota 2 Champions League Season 16
- Dota 2 Champions League Season 16 Closed Qualifier
Dota 2 is not just a PC MOBA game but a popular esports discipline.
Every year, many Dota 2 tournaments are hosted both amateur and professional and the main event is the tournament The International, which set a world record for being the owner of the biggest prize pool (more than 31 million dollars).
Types of tournaments
Tournaments are divided into many different types in the modern esports, each of which has a particular meaning and features.
The feature of online is that teams don’t need to go to a certain place, players can play online.
Such tournaments usually have a small prize pool (less than 50 thousand dollars). However, there can be events sometimes, for example, such as the 1st season of the Chinese professional league, the prize pool of which amounted 200 thousand dollars.
From the point of view of organizers, online tournaments don’t need expenses on rent of a venue and organizing, on one hand, but don’t provide a profit from ticket sales, on the other hand. It’s more profitable to host qualifiers and small tournaments online and the LAN format is traditionally used for big Dota 2 events.
The “LAN” prefix means that matches are hosted on a local network, to make this all teams-participants should come to a particular place.
Big stadiums, arenas, centers are chosen for large Dota 2 events, which can include a lot of viewers. Players usually sit in special glass rooms and a match is broadcasted on big screens, so that all viewers can watch the action well.
Almost all large events with a prize pool of more than 50 000 dollars are hosted in the LAN format. Despite LAN tournaments are streamed online, so everyone can watch them, however, when you are watching your favorite team playing live, you have very different feelings.
The esports world of Dota 2 works by a simple principle: weak teams drop out, strong ones proceed to a tournament. Qualifiers are used to determine and drop out the weak ones but at the same time to provide little known teams with an opportunity to prove themselves.
Initially, all teams take part in open regional qualifiers. A number of participants can reach several hundred and only a few of them will advance further.
The next stage is closed qualifiers. Both teams, which have passed open qualifiers, and teams, which have received a direct invitation, get there. Only after a victory in closed qualifiers, a team proceeds to the main event.
Qualifiers are just a way to get to a tournament, so teams don’t receive money for a victory, they receive a chance.
Minors and Majors (Premier) Tournaments
In 2017, the Valve company decided to partner with third-party tournaments, giving them statuses: minor and major. According to the company’s idea, the official support of tournaments should increase the popularity and competitiveness of the discipline. The result is clear now, Dota 2 is one of the most popular and profitable games in esports.
If a tournament wants to receive one of the statuses, it must be hosted in a LAN format, it must host qualifiers in every region and have an appropriate prize pool.
Minors are the tournaments with the prize pool of more than 150 000 dollars (usually 300), their level is way lower than the Majors’ one, however, even a victory at a Minor is a big achievement. Not only money but rating Dota Pro Circuit points, which are required to get to The International, and also invitations to Major tournaments are used as a reward. About 20 official Minors were hosted in the last 3 years.
Majors are the most prestigious tournaments, which lose only to The International. They have a high level of organization and gather a lot of viewers. Little known teams advance to Major tournaments very rarely, the same teams usually face there, which have already proved their level of play. An average prize pool of such Dota 2 events amounts 1 million dollars, it sometimes increases to 1.5 or even 3 million dollars.
Besides, compared to Minors, Majors provide winners with not only bigger prize money but ten times more rating Pro Circuit points, which are very necessary to get to The International.
If you want to go to a Minor or a Major, you will need to finish qualifiers successfully or receive a direct invitation.
The format of Dota 2 tournaments
Tournaments can use different formats, depending on a number of teams, a type, and purpose.
Types of matches
Three types of matches are mostly used at tournaments:
- bo1. Teams play one game, which determines the result of the match
- bo3. Teams can play three games maximum, one of the teams has to win twice to achieve victory
- bo5. Teams can play five games maximum, you need to win 3 times to prevail.
Due to the odd number of games, teams don’t have an opportunity to make a draw.
The group stage
Despite only the strongest teams proceed to tournaments, their number still doesn’t allow to start a competition from a bracket (playoffs) and if a tournament is hosted with a few teams, it will not be interesting for viewers.
In the group stage, teams are divided into groups, in which they play by a particular system:
- The GSL system;
- The Swiss system.
Teams, which have shown the best results in the group stage, advance further in the playoffs. At Minors, the best teams proceed to the playoffs after the group stage and the worst ones are eliminated. They got in upper and lower brackets.
The playoffs are the final stage of the tournament where teams fight to advance to the next stage and then to the final, as a result.
One bracket is used at relatively small tournaments, so teams are eliminated after the first loss.
Two brackets are used at large tournaments: upper and lower. If a team loses in an upper bracket, it will step down to a lower and if it loses in a lower bracket, it will be eliminated from a tournament. In such a way, if a team has shown itself well in the group stage, it will advance to an upper bracket and have “an extra life” in stock, so it can lose but not be eliminated from a tournament.
Basically, the double-bracket format results in the fact that teams from a lower bracket and an upper one face in the final.
Series and organizers of Dota 2 tournaments
This is the biggest and most prestigious Dota 2 tournament, which is organized by Valve every year.
The first The International had the prize pool of more than one million dollars and a half, for which 16 strongest teams from all over the world were fighting. The level of the tournament grows every year, the last The International had the prize pool of 34 million dollars, due to which set the world record for becoming the tournament with the highest grabs.
It’s very difficult to get to The International and winning it is the dream of any team. There are two ways to advance to the championship:
- Earn many Pro Circuit points and receive a direct invitation.
- Prevail in closed regional qualifiers.
The championship is divided into few stages: regional qualifiers, the group stage, the main event (the more complicated analog of playoffs).
Dota Pro Circuit points
Valve introduced the rating system, in which teams earn points for victories at tournaments (about 5 thousand points for the 1st place).
The top 12 teams in the rating receive an invite. On average, about 4 thousand points are required to make it to The International, which is equal to one won Major.
The rating system stimulates teams to do their best at all tournaments to earn as many points as possible and advance to the championship. Besides, in such way teams, which are in decline or simply don’t have an appropriate level of play, are dropped out.
Electronic Sports League is one of the biggest esports leagues in the world, which was founded back in 1997. ESL became the organizer of the serious of tournaments EMS One in 2013.
After the end of EMS, the company started organizing the new series ESL One, in which prestigious Major and Minor tournaments are still hosted nowadays. They have more than a hundred thousand viewers of a broadcast at the same time and also more than 5 million views on Twitch.
Mars Dota 2 League is a series of tournaments, in which one of the most prestigious events of the Dota 2 world is organized.
MDL tournaments are mostly hosted in mainland China and the organizer is the Shanghai company Mars Media.
The series targets the Chinese audience, which brings a significant part of the profit, however, MDL is widely covered not only in China. Mars Media has recently organized Major not in China but in Paris, which allowed to become even more popular and show that esports in Dota 2 is concentrated not only on the Chinese market.
Another series of high-level tournaments (Minors and Majors). It has been organized by the company DreamHack since 2013.
Tournaments of this series are most frequently hosted in Sweden where the head office of the organizer is located. The quality of the organization of Dota 2 events is not worse than in other series.
WePlay has been organizing Dota 2 tournaments since 2013. Their level is a bit lower than such giants as ESL or DreamHack but it’s clear because the company focuses not only on tournament organizing but on an informational-entertaining activity. It owns the website weplay.tv, on which the main esports news is covered, analytics are made and, also, reviews and interviews are published.
This series of middle-level tournaments (Minors), which was founded in 2014. Some tournaments also enter the Pro Circuit series and their prize pool amounts 100-300 thousand dollars.
The American company Beyond the Summit is the organizer of the series, it was run in 2012 and positions itself as one of the biggest esports companies in the world.
Asia Pacific Predator League
This series of tournaments for professional teams from Southeast Asia. The company Predator Gaming is the organizer and such giants as Intel, Microsoft, and Xbox are sponsors.
The tournaments of the series have a middle level and can’t be compared to other events described in the article. Despite the big sponsor companies, the prize pool doesn’t increase beyond 200 thousand dollars.
ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational
ONE Esports is a Singapore company founded in 2019, which entered the esports world of Dota, having organized two big tournaments ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational with prize pools of 500 thousand dollars. Besides, the company now is responsible for organizing the Major tournament, which will take place in Singapore on June 20-28.
This series of tournaments are organized by Alisports, the subsidiary of the company Alibaba Group. Many small events all over the world, which, basically, are qualifiers to make it to the main tournament of the year with a big prize pool, are organized every year.