The Dota Pro Circuit rumbles on. And with fewer and fewer tournaments left to play, the clamor to claim points for The International 2018 grows.
The good news for teams chasing qualification is that several of the events left remaining in the series are Majors, plus one SuperMajor. This means there are still lots of points up for grabs.
Allocation of the next batch of points will occur over the next 10 days or so as the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow hosts the souped up EPICENTER XL tournament. The EPICENTER 2017 hosted just 10 teams, but this new event now boasts 12, competing for the 1,500 DPC points on offer and a $1,000,000 prize pool.
- Team Liquid
- Team Secret
- Natus Vincere
- OG (European Qualifier)
- Team Empire (CIS Qualifier)
- compLexity Gaming (North American Qualifier)
- paiN Gaming (South American Qualifier)
- LGD (Chinese Qualifier)
- Mineski (Southeast Asian Qualifier)
- FlyToMoon (Madness Tournament Qualifier)
- The tournament is split into a Group Stage and a Main Event.
- The Group Stage sees two groups each comprising of six teams.
- All matches are best-of-three games.
- Each team will play the other team in its group once.
- Group A – Team Liquid, Mineski, PSG.LGD, compLexity Gaming, FlyToMoon, Team Empire
- Group B – Virtus.pro, Team Liquid, Newbee, OG, Natus Vincere, PaiN Gaming
- The top two teams in each group qualify for the Main Event Upper Bracket.
- The third and fourth placed teams in each group qualify for the Main Event Lower Bracket.
Main Event & Grand Final
- Losing Upper Bracket teams have a second chance to qualify for the Grand Final by dropping into the Lower Bracket in the Main Event.
- The two winners of the Upper Bracket and Lower Bracket contest the Grand Final.
- All matches are best-of-three, apart from the first two rounds of the Lower Bracket, which are both best-of-one.
- The Grand Final is played over a best-of-five format.
DPC Points allocation
The top four teams in the event will earn a share of the available DPC points. There are 750 points available for the winner, 450 for the runner-up, 225 for the third-place team, and 75 for fourth.
Who has the most on the line in EPICENTER XL?
With nine of the 12 teams competing in EPICENTER XL all in the top 16 of the DPC rankings at the moment, there’s plenty up for grabs in this big event.
Virtus.pro, Team Liquid, Team Secret, Mineski, and Newbee are ranked first through fifth. They are not really under threat from teams below them, hence these sides are all seeking to strengthen their positions at the top of the table.
The team that has most to lose at the moment though is PSG.LGD. They currently occupy the eighth and final position in the DPC rankings. Below them, the likes of Natus Vincere, OG, and compLexity Gaming will look put the pressure on them for that final qualifying spot.
For the other teams, this is a chance to gain experience and perhaps make a mark in the tournament.
Current betting on EPICENTER XL
Currently, you can find some quality betting on the event at Betway. The company offers a couple of special betting markets on the event. These include which of the heroes in the Dota 2 game will be the one most picked at the tournament.
The odds on the top bets for this market are:
- Tusk – 3/1 Favourite
- Sand King – 19/4
- Dark Willow – 7/1
- Gyrocopter – 8/1
- Death Prophet, Tiny – 11/1
- Witch Doctor – 12/1
- Lifestealer, Rubick – 14/1
- Ancient Apparition, Terrorblade – 16/1
- 20-1 bar.
There is also a market on the most banned hero at the event. This is a more evenly bet contest.
- Omniknight, Tiny – 17/4 J-favourites
- Nature’s Prophet – 19/4
- Gyrocopter – 10/1
- Razor, Sand King, Witch Doctor – 12/1
- Bounty Hunter, Death Prophet, Terrorblade – 14/1
- Dark Willow, Night Stalker, Tusk – 16/1
- 20-1 bar
Other specialist markets at Betway include:
- Most Contested Hero
- Longest Map Time
- Shortest Map Time
- Highest GPM by a hero in a Map
- Highest number of Last Hits by a Hero in a Map
- Highest Total Kills in a Map
- Most Assists by a Hero in a Map
- Most Deaths by a Hero in a Map
- Most Kills by a Hero in a Map
However, the most exciting market for punters is the Outright Winner market. Currently, Betway has priced up the 12 competing teams as follows:
- Virtus.pro – 51/20 favourites
- Team Liquid, Team Secret – 15/4
- LGD – 19/4
- Mineski – 6/1
- Newbee – 8/1
- OG – 19/1
- Natus Vincere – 29/1
- compLexity Gaming – 34/1
- Team Empire – 39/1
- FlyToMoon – 69/1
- paiN Gaming – 99/1
Who will win EPICENTER 2018?
It is easy to see why Virtus.pro are the favourites with Betway for this event. Since their back-to-back wins at the ESL One Katowice 2018 and The Bucharest Major, no team has really challenged them.
That’s not to say that other teams are not in form. Mineski have been looking strong of late (especially after their win at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018). Team Secret also won the DreamLeague Season 9 event in Stockholm a few weeks back, a short time after their victory at the Captain’s Draft 4.0 in January.
It is worth noting that PSG.LGD have enjoyed three second-place finishes at the StarLadder i-League Invitational, the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018, and the PGL Open in Bucharest.
However, my tip here is Team Liquid. They landed their first win of 2018 at the StarLadder i-League Invitational in February. They’ve not really found form since then but have finished consistently in the top three, and I am backing them to land another win in Moscow.