While the UK has hosted some major esports events in the past, most notably the 2015 League of Legends World Championships Quarterfinals, it is still a relatively rare thing for a major esports event to come to Britain.
It is even rarer for that event to take place away from the bright lights of London. Yet that is precisely what is happening this coming week. The latest ESL One Major and Dota Pro Circuit event — ESL One Birmingham 2018 — gets underway featuring six teams with hopes of earning a qualification spot from the Dota Pro Circuit, plus six as-yet-undetermined teams that will come through a series of regional qualifiers.
ESL One Birmingham 2018 stats
- Series – ESL One, Dota Pro Circuit
- Sponsors – Intel, Mercedes Benz, Alienware, Logitech G, paysafecard, NEED for SEAT
- Online/LAN – LAN
- Venue – Arena Birmingham
- Teams Competing – 12
- Format – Group Stage followed by single-elimination playoff
- Prize Pool – $1,000,000
- Starts – April 23
- Ends – April 27
- Dota Pro Circuit Points – 1,500
Twelve teams participate: six invites and six earning a spot through a series of regional qualifiers. The group stage will comprise three groups of four teams.
Finishing in the bottom two eliminates that team from the competition. The three runners-up qualify for the quarterfinals. The three group winners then play a series of three best-of-one matches to decide which two teams make it through to the semifinals and which enter at the quarterfinals stage.
The playoffs are single elimination matches with the two top ranked teams seeded into the semifinals and the remaining four teams competing in the quarters.
All matches in the playoffs are best-of-three apart from the Grand Final, which is a best-of-five match. A third-place decider will be played prior to the Grand Final.
- Invited Teams – Virtus.pro, Newbee, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Vici Gaming, Mineski
- Qualifiers – TBA
There will be one qualifier from each of the following regions:
- Southeast Asia
- North America
- South America
The qualifiers run from May 19 to May 22.
The significance of ESL One Birmingham
With esports gaming in the UK lagging a little behind countries such as China, Korea, parts of the European Union and North America, bringing top-quality tournaments to the country is vital.
Whenever the UK has hosted top esports events, they have attracted huge interest and plenty of attendees. The audience and appetite for esports in the UK is there. And hosting tourneys away from London will allow esports fans from other parts of the country new opportunities.
There are similar venues to Arena Birmingham in many other towns and cities from the UK — in Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Nottingham, Belfast, Cardiff, Sheffield, and Leeds.
The fact that this is one of the remaining Dota Pro Circuit Major events, with 1,500 DPC points up for grabs for the winning team, also adds a huge amount of interest to the proceedings. Those points give several of the teams a chance to either break into the top eight or cement their positions for The International 2018.
Current Dota Pro Circuit standings
|Pos.||Team Name||DPC Pts|
|13||TNC Pro Team||495|
|15||LGD Forever Young||199|
As you can see, several of the current table leaders and contenders will be present in Birmingham.
Of course, there are still two other Majors to take place before May’s date in the UK, EPICENTER XL and the MDL Changsha Major. Regardless how the results pan out at those events, Britain is still set to see plenty of top teams in action.
If you are a fan of esports betting, all the relevant British bookmakers will be ready for Birmingham. Indeed, Betway is already offering odds on each of the qualifying matches. When the tournament’s final roster is complete, you will be able to bet on both the Outright Winner market as well as the individual matches.
Who will win the ESL Birmingham 2018 tournament?
There is no doubt Virtus.pro will be at the forefront of the betting for this event. After tasting victory at the ESL One Katowice 2018 and following that up with another Major win at The Bucharest Major, their winning streak came to a halt with a third-place finish at the Dota 2 Asia Championship in April.
Then, Team Liquid have picked up handy DPC points from third- and fourth-place finishes. Yet a big win has eluded them since February’s victory at the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 4. If they are to stand any chance of catching Virtus.pro, they will need to pick up a win here.
For me though, the team to watch is Mineski. A fantastic win at the Dota 2 Asia Championship moved them into fourth in the table. They have a settled team and are in form, precisely the two factors you need to do well at a Major.
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