There’s some big news from the Dota Pro Circuit. The forthcoming Galaxy Battles, set to go off in the Philippines next week, is stripped of its Major status.
On Jan. 4, Dota 2 developers Valve, the chief organizers of the Pro Circuit Qualifiers, announced that due to “new government regulations for esports players entering the Philippines,” they rescind the tournament’s Major designation.
Valve explained the reason behind this decision stemmed from “unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players, as a condition to enter the country.”
What’s the real issue?
This most likely refers to the national government changing its laws for issuing players “e-gamer licenses.” This license recognizes esports players as athletes under Filipino law.
In order to procure said license, competitors must send in a fee of around 800 pesos ($16 to $17), as well as a number of other forms, reports, and tests. This also includes drug tests. Players must also provide authorities with a photo ID, proof of organization membership, and sponsorship information.
Clearly, Valve deems that these requirements infringe on Galaxy Battles participants. Oddly enough, there is no official word whether visiting players to the Philippines would be subject to this legislation, but it’s certainly implied by Valve’s stance.
What now for Galaxy Battles?
Galaxy Battles still exists, but with a reduced prize pool of $500,000 (down from the original $1 million). Furthermore, Valve’s endorsement of the event is officially withdrawn. Fallout Gaming and Purpose Win take over the organizing.
Valve also states it is “talking to tournament organizers to try and find a way to run a Major with the invited and qualifying teams, including the Pro Circuit points that would have been available in Galaxy Battles 2018.”
Several teams withdrew from the event after Valve’s decision. Twenty-four hours after the announcement, Virtus.pro, Team Secret, and Team Liquid —the three leading teams in the Pro Circuit rankings at the time of this writing — announced immediate withdrawal.
OpTic Gaming followed suit on Jan. 6. Newbee departed the following day, and Mineski bowed out Monday.
This means the five top DPC teams (and half the 16-team field) are no longer participating in the Jan. 15 tourney. Indeed, there are now a number of vacancies in the event. The organizers scramble to fill them likely as you read this.
The invited teams still confirmed as participating include Infamous, OG, TNC Pro Team, LGD Forever Young, and Evil Geniuses. The organizers will confirm a further three directly invited teams in the days leading up to the tournament.
In addition, three teams earned a spot in the event through regional qualifiers. They are Team Spirit (CIS), VGJ Thunder (China), and paiN Gaming (South America). The qualifiers from Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia are not yet known.
These 14 teams are joined by two wild card teams, both of which are TBA.
Team Secret takes the wheel at The Captain’s Draft
In other news, Team Secret stood tall at last week’s Captain’s Draft. They take home a sizable purse and 150 DPC points.
That said, things did not go their way completely at the event. The group stage saw them only qualify as the third-ranked team from Group A.
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In a different tournament, that third-place finish would have eliminated from the event. In this case however, it earned them a playoff match against Group B’s second seed in Evil Geniuses.
At this point, Team Secret found their best form. They defeated Evil Geniuses 2-1 in the quarterfinals before moving on to Mineski in the semifinals. Mineski defeated Team Secret during the group stage, but there was to be no repeat here. Secret played an impeccable game to silence their rivals 2-0 and earn a spot in the final.
In that final, they faced another team that had beaten them earlier in the tournament — Vici Gaming. That 1-0 defeat in the final game in Group A became a distant memory however after an enthralling final.
Secret won the opening map before Vici Gaming showed their class by taking the next two maps to put themselves within one game of winning the event. In a crucial 50-minute fourth game, which ebbed and flowed, Team Secret nailed down the tying win.
That set up the climactic map, which was the shortest game of the final. Team Secret once again came out on top to clinch the 3-2 victory and their second DPC victory of the season. They join both Team Liquid and Virtus.pro as the only teams to have won two events on the circuit thus far.