Dota Pro Circuit is the professional Dota 2 league that takes place every season, stretching from one TI to the next. The 2021 season will be DPC’s fourth one in history, and with massive changes coming to the league’s format, we are in store for a treat like never before in the history of Dota 2.
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Dota Pro Circuit History
Dota Pro Circuit began in the 2017-2018 season. Initially, things were a lot more chaotic than they are today. A system of partial qualifiers was being used at the time and this created a lot of dissatisfaction.
Furthermore, the circuit had over 20 important events. For the top competitors, who are currently going to just 5 such events per year, this was an absolute Hell. There was almost no time to practice and recalibrate. The players were always traveling from one event to the next and burnouts were a frequent phenomenon. The only people who were happy were the casters and analysts. And of course, the fans, who had the possibility to watch high-level Dota almost every other week.
The first Dota Pro Circuit was won by Virtus.pro, followed by Team Liquid, PSG.LGD and Team Secret.
The second Dota Pro Circuit was much better structured than the first and had new rules. First of all, there were only 10 events instead of an undetermined number of them. Five Minors and five Majors. And every team had to qualify for each tournament, regardless of their previous results and DPC rank. This guaranteed that each competition featured the best teams in the world. Whereas previously, if a team had a great start but then lost its prowess along the way, they would still get invited to big events even though they had no place in them.
Starting with 2018-2019, Majors offered 15,000 qualification points for The International while Minors offered just 500. This was a clear statement from Valve. In effect, only Majors and a real significance and everything else existed just to separate the winners from the losers. A total of just five Major events would decide the teams that got direct invitations to The International. And unlike the previous season, 12 such teams would receive invitations instead of 8. The remaining 6 ticket winners were to be decided in qualifiers.
DPC has six official regions: North America, South America, China, Southeast Asia, CIS, and Europe. Each of these regions has Open Qualifiers and Regional Qualifiers for every single DPC event. Furthermore, they all have Open Qualifiers and Regional Qualifiers for The International.
Dota Pro Circuit 2019-2020 was the third edition of DPC. The Dota Pro Circuit 2019-2020 season followed roughly the same structure as the previous editions. The most significant difference for this year was the merging of qualifiers. Starting with last year’s season, only one qualifier per region was supposed to be played for each pair of Minor and Major events. This qualifier offered a small number of qualification points so that teams would have gotten a better differentiation for subsequent regional qualifiers.
Sadly, the league was cut short in the spring of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving only a handful of tournaments played. Asia dominated the early tournaments of 2020 with Invictus Gaming’s victory at DOTA Summit 11 and TNC Predator’s win at the MDL Chengdu Major. Europe bounced back with Team Nigma’s victory at WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 and Team Secret’s win at DreamLeague Season 13, whilst the planned ESL One Los Angeles 2020 was the first tournament postponed before switching to an online format.
With the rest of the year’s seasons and The International postponed indefinitely, Team Secret emerged as the absolute best team in the World, winning eight tournaments in a row.
The turn of events took its toll on the scene as a whole, with a number of premier teams folding and resorting to waiting for better times for Valve’s MOBA.
Due to the cancellation of the DPC season, third party tournaments replaced Valve’s league as the focal point of the competitive year. With a lot of traditional tournaments like the ESL One Birmingham and ESL One Germany switching to an online format and focusing on a certain number of regions at any given time, OMEGA League arose and exceeded all expectations, giving both teams and fans a piece of competitive Dota that they yearned for so long.
OMEGA League was replaced by the EPIC League in December, giving teams closure to what was by all accounts the worst year in the history of competitive Dota 2.
Although the 2020 season proved to be one of Dota 2’s darkest hours, Valve has announced big changes for the upcoming 2021 season. The upcoming season will feature a six week League portion leading up to a Major. After two seasons, there will be qualifiers for the remaining slots for The International 10 happening in Stockholm in August.
Heading into 2021 Valve will not be using the previous season’s DPC points as a way to seed teams into the leagues. Rather, it will select the top 4 teams in best form from each region to be directly qualified to an Upper-division, while a series of qualifiers, closed and open, will determine the remaining 12 teams in both divisions.
With the changes, Valve will be aiming to bring more stability to the scene and to provide a better environment for all of the teams, especially for the smaller Tier 2/3 teams around the world.
Dota Pro Circuit Predictions
When it comes to Dota Pro Circuit predictions for the ongoing Dota Pro Circuit 2021, expect Cindarella and underdog stories like never before. The past season has welcomed a number of up-and-coming teams into the fray, with Virtus Pro’s current roster being the highlight of last year. After the team started the year out as VP’s academy, VP.Prodigy clawed its way to the very top of the European Dota 2 scene in a manner few could have expected.
Team Secret faltered after their record-breaking run, and OG always remains a huge favorite despite not fielding its back-to-back TI winning roster. Apart from Virtus Pro, Natus Vincere has looked reinvigorated as the former TI winner has claimed back its rightful place as one of Europe’s finest. One should not forget the likes of Team Liquid, Vikin.GG, and Team Nigma, but Kuroky’s boys are by all means out of the top five European rankings for the time being.
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The North American scene looks to be a one-horse race, with Evil Geniuses looking miles ahead of the competition. Quincy’s Crew and Sadboys are currently rounding out NA’s top three, but with the scene still recovering, a lot might happen in the coming months.
Southeast Asia is looking to be an even battle between Fnatic and TNC Predator, with last year’s biggest surprise BOOM Esports hot on their tails. T1 should not be counted out, as even though the team had a disastrous last season, the Korean organization’s newest roster is looking like a possible contender on paper.
China is any man’s game currently, with the scene’s super team Elephant finally settling down as a force to be reckoned with. Vici Gaming, PSG.LGD and EHOME round out China’s finest, but the threat of RNG, Invictus Gaming, and Team Aster is looking to be very real.
Dota Pro Circuit Rankings
- 1st place: Virtus Pro
- 2nd place: Team Secret
- 3rd place: Elephant
- 4th place: OG
- 5th place: Evil Geniuses
- 5th place: PSG.LGD
- 7th place: TNC Predator
- 7th place: Team Liquid
- 9th place: Vici Gaming
- 10th place: Fnatic