The first matches of the Dota Pro Circuit 2021 season will begin on January 18. The top teams in six regions will compete for DPC Points and Major Quotas. The next two months will give fans an answer to the question of how the competitive Dota 2 scene will continue to live and whether it is possible to hope for a speedy restoration of discipline after the pandemic.
The American Dota 2 scene has long been considered one of the weakest in the world. There are practically no rosters left here that can compete with the European ones, and most of the players prefer to play in short-lived and constantly changing mixes. The only exceptions to this rule are three collectives – Evil Geniuses, Quincy Crew and 4 Zoomersthat have more or less stable roasters. But what about other teams in the region?
The main idea of Dota Pro Circuit 2021 is to divide the participants into regional leagues and divisions. Such a semi-closed structure should stimulate competition and the development of an ecosystem of indoor scenes, as well as motivate tier-2 teams, which will now have a separate league with their own prize pool. In theory, strict rules and a long-term league format should make the mixes perform and develop for the future. They will no longer be able to gather the week before qualifiers for The International to compete for a tournament quota. Now this right will have to be earned by working hard in the regional leagues.
The 2021 DPC season could be instrumental in reanimating the American scene. On the other hand, if Valve stops at half-measures and fails to force local mixes to play by the new rules, then the scene risks finally turning into a big swamp.
Are there new clubs coming to Dota 2?
In recent years, many wealthy esports organizations have bypassed Dota 2, preferring to invest in squads playing in the League of Legends franchise leagues, Call of Duty, etc. This trend has always been explained by the fact that the professional Dota 2 scene is very unstable, and Valve does not want to communicate with clubs and provide them with support. In the upcoming 2021 DPC season, this sad situation may finally change.
The closed qualifiers are left behind, and now the participants of the first and second divisions have been determined in all six regions. They have a month and a half of the playing season ahead, the first Major and the fight for DPC points. The goals are clear, the schedule is drawn up, but many teams still lack one important nuance – organization. Now in every regional league there are a number of mixes that you can sign under any tag. If force majeure does not occur, then almost all of these rosters will participate in the qualifiers for The International, because the most difficult thing they have already done is to advance to the regional league.
Seems like a great time for executives Ninjas in Pajamas, mousesports, Cloud9, Chaos, NRG Esports, OpTic Gaming, Immortals, Mineski and many other organizations to return their clubs to the professional Dota 2 scene. Moreover, in the Dota Pro Circuit 2021 season, Valve promised to release team bundles – their sale should help clubs maintain lineups. However, how exactly this system will be implemented, the developers have not yet specified.
Will DPC 2021 members be able to keep their rosters until the end of the season?
There are very few professional teams in Dota 2 that can boast of stable and long-lasting lineups. Regular player reshuffles have always been an integral part of the scene, but their numbers could drop dramatically in the 2021 DPC season. The reason for this is the new format and penalties for the use of standins.
During regional leagues, teams will be able to play with stand-ins, but such matches must involve at least four members of the main squad. According to some reports, the standin can only be used four times per season. If the team exceeds this limit and is unable to set the lineup for the match, it will receive a forfeit defeat (two such defeats will lead to the team leaving the league). If the roster arrives at the Major with a replacement, then it will be fined 40% of the points received in the tournament. If a team decides to exclude a competitor after qualifying for a Major, they will lose another 20% of the points earned in addition to the usual penalty.
In past seasons, teams were not afraid to change players, even receiving penalties. However, do not forget that then the participants had much more opportunities to earn these points. For example, in the same 2019 there were as many as five Minors and five Majors, and in 2021 there were only two Regional Leagues and two Majors. That is, in the current season no one will throw DPC points. Teams will have to think carefully about reshuffles if they want to get invited to The International, rather than taking risks in the qualifiers. However, “first swallows“ already flew – support Enise 5up Elves left the team B8 Esports immediately after qualifying.
Will we see RAMZES666 and No[o]ne in the first half of the season?
Some professional players did not manage to find teams before the start of the qualifiers, so they are likely to miss the first half of the season. The CIS faced such unpleasant circumstances Roman RAMZES666 Kushnarev, Vladimir No[o]ne Minenko and Pavel 9pasha Khvastunov… Several well-known esports athletes participated in the qualifiers, but were unable to win quotas. Among them Alexey Nongrata Vasiliev, Aybek Naive- Tokayev, Stanislav 633 Glushan, Vladimir yol Basov other.
Latecomers may still show up in Season 1 as substitutes or if a team chooses to donate DPC points to sign them. According to the DPC 2021 rules, only players who do not play for other teams from the first or second divisions can be stand-ins. But even with this limitation, the potential “bench” looks very impressive.
If the above players remain unclaimed in the first season, they will have to wait for the end of the Major and new qualifiers for the second division. In fact, this April qualifier will be their only chance to compete for a trip to The International 10. To do this, you will first have to break through to the second division, then not fly out of it and successfully compete in the regional qualifier. Well, or again hope for replacements.
How will the young players perform?
One of the main intrigues of the Dota Pro Circuit 2021 in the CIS will be how young players will show themselves. There are quite a lot of such participants in both the first and second regional divisions. Perhaps this year will be a turning point in terms of generational change in the professional scene.
Now one of the strongest teams in the region is Virtus.pro, the average age of the players is about 19 years. Many participants Team Spirit also relatively recently started performing on the professional stage, but they have already proved themselves well in matches with strong teams. There are also several fresh names in the composition Team empire…
In the second division, there is also a confrontation between experience and youth. Against the star esportsmen from HellRaisers, Gambit Esports and XactJlepbI little-known players will fight Imperial Pro Gaming, Winstrike Team and VP.Prodigy… The season in the CIS promises to be very interesting, and it will surely open up several new big names for the scene. After all, it was the first time that promising newcomers had such an opportunity to prove themselves.
Who will become the top 1 in the CIS?
This article would be incomplete without the main intrigue of DPC 2021 for Russian-speaking viewers – the battle for the top 1 CIS. Like dozens (if not hundreds) of times before, the rosters of the Russian organization will argue for such a prestigious title. Virtus.pro and the Ukrainian club Natus Vincere, and so far it is difficult to imagine that some third team will wedge into this fundamental rivalry.
Now the confrontation between Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere looks more principled and interesting than ever. Both teams are in great shape – they ended 2020 with major tournament victories, winning first places at EPIC League Division 1 and OGA Dota PIT Season 4, respectively. At the time of publication of the article, both teams are also in the top 3 ESL rankings, next to Team Liquid…
Now Virtus.pro has a very young and ambitious roster with good technical performance and teamplay. On the other hand, Natus Vincere has very experienced players with strong morale, who have played at The International more than once and won the majors in the past.
We have already written about the opposition between experience and youth, but in this particular duel it reaches its climax.
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