A Look Ahead at the Dota Pro Circuit 2019-2020 Season


by in Dota 2 | Sep, 13th 2019

The new Dota Pro Circuit 2020 is less than one month away, with the qualifiers for the first event October 5th – 10th. In this article, I will take a look at the format for the new season and changes announced by Valve.

Dota Pro Circuit 2019-2020 Format

The DPC format will be very similar to that of 2018-2019. In other words, there will be five Minors and five Majors, preceded of course by qualifiers. However, the qualifiers will no longer be separated. So instead of one qualifier for a Minor and one for its corresponding Major, there will be one just one qualification tournament for both. Of course, the duration of such a tournament will be longer than usual, around 5-6 days.

Another significant change compared to last season is the has to do with the stakes for each qualification tournament. In the past, these tournaments only offered a spot at the Minor or Major. Now they also offer qualification points: 370 for each event. The amount may not be very high, but since Minors offer just 660 points, the rewards are quite substantial if you think about it. Of course, both of these types of tournaments pale in comparison to Majors, which offer 15,000 points each.

Here is the exact schedule of the Dota Pro Circuit for 2019-2020:

  • 1st Qualifier: October 5th – 10th
  • 1st Minor: November 7th – 10th
  • 1st Major: November 16th – 24th
  • 2nd Qualifier: December 1st – 6th
  • 2nd Minor: January 9th – 12th
  • 2nd Major: January 18th – 26th
  • 3rd Qualifier: February 9th – 14th
  • 3rd Minor: March 5th – 8th
  • 3rd Major: March 14th – 22nd
  • 4th Qualifier: March 29th – April 3rd
  • 4th Minor: April 23rd – 26th
  • 4th Major: May 2nd – 10th
  • 5th Qualifier: May 17th – 22nd
  • 5th Minor: June 11th – 14th
  • 5th Major: June 20th – 28th

DPC Major Format

The competitive format for the Dota Pro Circuit Majors will be the following:

Group Stage

A total of 16 teams will be present at each tournament of this type and divided into four groups of four. Each group will be played in the GSL format. The top two teams advance to the Upper Bracket while the bottom two teams advance to the Lower Bracket of the Playoffs Stage. Every match is Bo3.

Playoffs Stage

This Stage will be identical to that of The International 2019, meaning that eight teams will start in the Upper Bracket and eight in the Lower Bracket. The first round of the Lower Bracket will consist of Bo1 matches. Every other match is Bo3, except the Grand Final (Bo5).

DPC Minor Format

Dota Pro Circuit Minors will have eight participants and consist of two stages.

Group Stage

For this Stage, the teams will be divided into two groups of four. Each group will be played in the GSL format. Every match will be Bo3. The top two teams from both groups advance to the Playoffs Stage.

Playoffs Stage

This Stage will consist of two Semifinals (Bo3) and One Grand Final (Bo5). The winner gets a ticket to the upcoming Major.

DPC Qualifier Format

Each regional DPC qualifier has 10 teams. Eight of them represent the top eight teams with DPC points. The other two get invited based on the Open Qualifier results. If not enough teams have DPC points, Valve will decide who gets directly invited and who has to go through Open Qualifiers.

Every DPC qualification tournament consists of two stages.

Group Stage

For this Stage, the 10 teams are divided into two groups of five. The top two teams from each group advance to Stage 2. The 3rd advances to Stage 3. Everyone else is eliminated and receives 10 Dota Pro Circuit points. If the region has three Major or two Minor slots available, the 4th place teams compete in a Bo3 match to decide who else advances to the 3rd Stage. If five slots are available in total (three for Major, two for Minor), both 4th place teams advance to the 3rd Stage.

Stage 2

For this Stage, the four competitors play a Double Elimination tournament to decide who goes to the Major. The top 2-3 teams qualify, depending on the number of available slots for each region. The losers advance the 3rd Stage.

Stage 3

This Stage consists of another group of four teams that play a tournament in the GSL format. The top 1-2 teams qualify to the Minor while the rest get 20 qualification points.

Points and Money Distribution for DPC Tournaments

This is how the rewards will be distributed among the Major and Minor competitors.

Dota Pro Circuit Majors

Place Prize Money Points
1st $300,000 4850
2nd $160,000 3000
3rd $110,000 2100
4th $80,000 1350
5th – 6th $60,000 900
7th – 8th $40,000 450
9th – 12th $20,000 150
13th – 16th $12,500 100

As you can see, there will be a slightly different distribution of prizes compared to the previous season. Instead of $350,000 and 4950 points, the winner only gets $300,000 and 4850 points. This also means that the 9th – 16th place teams get better rewards.

Dota Pro Circuit Minors

Place Prize Money Points
1st $72,000 140
2nd $60,000 120
3rd $54,000 110
4th $42,000 90
5th – 6th $24,000 60
7th – 8th $12,000 40

The winner only gets rewarded once. So if they do well and get more than 140 points at the Major, they no longer get the 140 points earned at the Minor. This change was introduced starting with this 3rd DPC season, after detecting a tiny flaw in the previous system: the winner of a Minor was always getting rewarded twice.

Threshold

Last season, the 12th team that got directly invited to The International at the end of the Dota Pro Circuit was Keen Gaming. They had 1140 points. In total, the Dota Pro Circuit 2020 offers 80,150 points.

This shows you just how strong the top eight teams are. They practically share among themselves almost all of the riches throughout the season. Everybody else has to take what’s left. And even with one or two relatively modest results (7th – 8th or 5th – 6th) at the Majors you get to play at The International. That was precisely what happened with OG in 2018-2019. They got one 5th – 6th place result, and that was it. Apart from that achievement, they got almost nothing all season. And yet, not only did they qualify for TI9, they also won it for the 2nd time in a row.

Regional Analysis

The upcoming season will be exciting to watch, especially when it comes to the European and Chinese regions. Both of them have many exceptional teams that will no doubt want to take part in every Major. Assuming that they’ll both receive three slots for each Major (and there’s no reason for them not to), the battle for those three slots will take place between five-six teams in both cases.

Europe

In Europe, we have OG, Team Liquid, Team Secret, Alliance, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Each of these teams will be fully capable of getting a top-three spot in the qualifiers.

I expect Liquid, Secret and Alliance to be the main stars, simply because NiP looked terrible at The International 2019 and OG is likely to return to oblivion if ana decides to leave again. This is a team that cannot function without him. They’ve already tried multiple times, and they failed miserably. Furthermore, I don’t see how they could be motivated to continue playing and training at the highest level after winning two consecutive TIs. The money will never be a problem, so their motivation has to come from somewhere else.

If ana decides to stay, I think OG will continue to be a world-class team. But if not, they’ll probably start having real issues again. Last year, after winning The International, they declined to take part in the first Major of the season. That may happen again, although the probability is not very high, due to the new rules imposed by Valve. If they miss the first qualifier, they will likely have to go through Open Qualifiers to get to the second one, because they won’t have any DPC points.

One thing that will be fun to watch in 2019-2020 is Alliance. They looked solid at the end of last season and could have easily placed much higher at TI9. However, the lack of experience eventually cost them a lot, and they ended up being eliminated in the first round of Lower Bracket matches. However, if they decide to stay together, I can see them getting stronger and stronger as the months go by. They’ve already achieved a high level of fluency and mastery in everything they do, so we could soon see them hit critical mass and start beating some of the top teams.

China

In China, new teams are likely to rise to the top as a result of all the roster moves. With Fade gone from Vici Gaming and fy gone from PSG.LGD, the pecking order in the region is unknown at this point. In particular, three teams could take advantage of this situation: Keen Gaming, Royal Never Give Up, and Team Aster. Two of them have upgraded their rosters in recent weeks and might prove to be strong enough to start stealing the Vici’s and PSG’s tickets to the Majors. The third, RNG, finished 7th – 8th at TI9 and proved to be stronger than anyone had expected.

Keen Gaming has brought in Mushi, one of the most knowledgeable, successful, and determined Dota 2 professionals. He was three times in the top four at The International and won many other trophies, including a Major. With him as a new member of the team, Keen Gaming could easily reach the next level of skill and triumph over their regional rivals. Keep in mind that the team already has Kaka (former Newbee player), eLeVeN and old chicken in the roster. This is a roster filled with superstars, and if they manage to cooperate well with each other, success is pretty much guaranteed.

Team Aster now has Fade (Vici Gaming’s former captain) and Sccc (former Newbee midlaner) in their roster. So the potential for significant results is there. It remains to be seen if they can communicate properly and find a winning set of strategies against the likes of PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming. The first two qualifiers for DPC events will clearly show us whether or not they can shine in the Chinese region with this new lineup.

Thanks for joining me for a closer look at the Dota Pro Circuit 2020! Stay tuned for more Dota 2 news in the coming days.

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