In early November in the Croatian port of Split, the AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League will begin, marking the sixth time Dota Pit has hosted the event. There is a prize pool of $300,000 up for grabs. Teams can start earning vital qualification points for a spot in The International 2018.
The two finalists from The International 2017, winners Team Liquid and runners-up Newbee, have already earned a place next year by virtue of their performances. They will be joined by six other teams during the next couple of weeks from a half-dozen regional qualifiers.
Dota 2 Pit League Regional Qualifiers
Each of the six regional qualifiers comprises four invited teams. Two events, the CIS Qualifier and the Southeast Asia Qualifier, have already been played. The European Qualifier and the North American Qualifier are set to be decided this weekend.
Each section uses a double elimination bracket format; only the winning team progresses into the Dota Pit League.
The South American and Chinese qualifiers will be played early in October, and the four teams that will compete in these events will be confirmed in the next week or so.
Here’s a look at the other four qualifiers:
Teams Invited – Team Spirit, Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, Team Empire
Virtus.pro earned the right to compete in Split thanks to a dominant performance in the CIS Qualifier. They began against Team Spirit and came through that game with a 2-0 victory. They then repeated that scoreline in the semifinal against Team Empire.
Team Empire then earned a place in the Grand Final with a Losers Final win over Team Spirit. There, they found Virtus.pro in uncompromising form, and the latter secured a comprehensive 3-0 win. Virtus.pro didn’t lose a single game on their way to claiming the CIS berth.
Qualifier – Virtus.pro
Southeast Asia Qualifier
Teams Invited – Mineski, TNC Pro Team, Fnatic, Execration
After a hugely exciting final with Fnatic, Mineski earned the qualification spot. Both teams were the dominant forces in this qualifier, with neither dropping a single game against the other two opponents.
In the Winners Final, Mineski earned a 2-0 win over Fnatic, who then bounced back to defeat Execration 2-0 in the Losers Final. In the Grand Final, Mineski started as favourites, but they were pushed all the way by Fnatic, who twice came from one game down to tie the match at 2-2 only for Mineski to claim the crucial fifth and deciding game.
Qualifier – Mineski
Teams Invited – Team Secret, mousesports, OG, HellRaisers
The European games get underway on Sept. 28 and run until the Sept. 30. The semis pit Team Secret against mousesports, while OG will face HellRaisers.
Bet365 currently has Team Secret as the 1/7 favourites to beat mousesports (4/1), while OG are also heavy favourites at 1/5 to defeat HellRaisers (10/3) in their opening semifinal clash.
The qualifier will be decided after the final is played on Sept. 30.
North American Qualifier
Teams Invited – compLexity Gaming, OpTic Gaming, Digital Chaos, Immortals
The North American games start on Sept. 29 and will run until Oct. 1. The draw has pitted compLexity Gaming against OpTic Gaming in the first semi, while in the second, Digital Chaos will take on Immortals.
These qualifiers look to be much more even contests than in the European section. Bet365 has compLexity Gaming as the slight 8/11 favourites against Optic Gaming (even), while Digital Chaos and Immortals are both 5/6 to take the win in their semifinal.
The final of this tournament will be played Sunday, Oct. 1.
LoL Worlds update: Cloud9, Fnatic Progress With Ease
Two of the four Play-In Stage Round Two games have been completed at League of Legends Worlds. Things went exactly as expected.
After a qualification stage that didn’t provide any huge upsets, minus Fnatic’s final game loss to Young Generation, the odds were always against the lesser teams in in the best-of-five qualifying round.
North America’s Cloud9 progressed with a comprehensive 3-0 win against Lyon Gaming. The Latin American North team was simply outclassed by a more experienced and illustrious opponents. Lyon struggled to make headway in any of the three games.
It was a similar story in the second match of the day. Former European champs Fnatic took on the emerging Hong Kong Attitude. The underdogs paid a heavy price for losing their tiebreaker game to Fenerbahce in the group stages. Fnatic, perhaps stung by criticism following their surprise defeat to Young Generation, powered to a 3-0 victory.
Sept. 29 marks the final two games of the Play-In Stage Round Two. It is thought Chinese giants Team World Elite will cruise to a comfortable victory over Young Generation. However, the other semifinal should be more even. Fenerbahce will start as favourites against Team oNe eSports, but of all the Round Two games, this has the potential to perhaps cause an upset.
Latest betting on the Outright Winner market
Longzhu Gaming have drifted slightly out to 2/1, meaning SK Telecom T1 are now the 7/4 favourites to lift the title. Samsung Galaxy are a 13/2 shot to win, with Team World Elite (still not confirmed for the group stage yet) are a 14/1 chance.
The rank outsiders are Team oNe eSports and Young Generation, who are now both rated at 500/1.