EPICENTER Major Participants and Qualifier Results
The qualifiers for the EPICENTER Major have finally come to an end with 14 teams managing to secure tickets for this great event. As you probably know, the EPICENTER Major will be the last Dota Pro Circuit tournament of the season before The International 2019. So, a lot of teams are trying to earn just enough points to secure a top 12 spot in the DPC rankings and a direct invite to TI 9.
EPICENTER Major Qualifiers Results
The EPICENTER Major qualifiers did not provide too many surprises. Here’s a short recap of what took place in each region.
In the NA region, the Group Stage went as everyone had expected with one exception: Forward Gaming took the 1st place with seven consecutive wins. This blew me away and to put things into perspective, just consider the fact that Evil Geniuses finished 3rd at the latest Major as well as at two other Majors this season.
So, one of the world’s best teams got beaten by a regional rival that went through some recent roster changes and is not even in the top 12 within the Dota Pro Circuit rankings. In fact, Forward Gaming is sitting at number 18 with just 155 points. By comparison, EG is sitting at number three with 6750.
In the Playoffs Stage of the NA EPICENTER Major qualifiers, Evil Geniuses proved themselves and ultimately won the Grand Final by beating Complexity (3 – 1). The match wasn’t easy though, as EG lost the first game and had a huge disadvantage in the second one as well. So they weren’t far from being eliminated.
In South America there were no surprises, except for the fact that Chaos Esports Club did not even participate in the qualifiers, due to the fact that they lost three players right after the MDL Paris Major.
The two teams that secured tickets for EPICENTER Major were paiN Gaming and Infamous. The first of these teams won the Group Stage with a record of 6 W – 1 L, while the second one easily triumphed in the Playoffs.
The European competition was a bloodbath, with Liquid losing no less than four of their seven matches but still managing to somehow beat Team Secret. NiP also performed poorly in the Playoffs Stage and practically handed OG the region’s 3rd ticket to EPICENTER Major. The other two teams that qualified were Team Secret and Team Liquid.
Unlike North America, Europe got three tickets for EPICENTER Major instead of two. I’m not entirely sure why Valve changed the rules right before the end of the regular season. However, they certainly did and that left every region except Europe and China with just two qualification spots. The bright side is that the SL ImbaTV Minor will grant two tickets for the Major instead of one.
The CIS region had three teams tied for first place at the end of the Group Stage and in the tiebreakers, Gambit defeated Na’Vi and Virtus.pro and claimed their second ticket to a DPC Major for this season.
The Playoffs Stage saw Virtus.pro triumph over Na’Vi in the Grand Final, but the match was hard fought. In spite of the fact that they managed to qualify for EPICENTER Major, Virtus.pro showed signs of weakness. Combined with their disappointing 7th – 8th place at the MDL Paris Major, these signs clearly indicate that VP is once again drowning near the shore.
Last year they did something similar, dominating the regular season and then showing up extremely tired and creatively bankrupt at The International 2018. We’ll have to see what’s going on with VP at the upcoming EPICENTER Major but things are not looking good for them. From being the best team in the world, we may see them fall as low as 5th – 6th or even 7th – 8th at this final DPC tournament as well as at TI 9.
In the Chinese region, things are looking grim for Keen Gaming and EHOME, two of the teams that are currently in the top 12 but may end up losing their spot after EPICENTER Major. In the qualifiers for the event, EHOME went 1 W – 6 L while Keen Gaming went 2 W – 5 L. As a result of these disastrous scores, both of them lost their chance to compete in the Playoffs Stage.
The Group Stage was won by PSG.LGD as expected, but not without a lot of trembling on their side. In the Playoffs Stage, Royal Never Give Up and Vici Gaming managed to claim the remaining two tickets to EPICENTER Major, which was essentially a given.
And finally, in the SEA region, TNC Predator and Fnatic were the teams that claimed the two available spots, after Mineski failed miserably and lost even the Playoffs Stage. In particular, TNC Predator showed amazing strength throughout the qualifiers, winning the Group Stage and losing just one match. This loss was totally unexpected and came against an underdog, Geek Fam, so it was most likely a fluke. Because the rest of TNC’s matches were a clear indication that the team has been reborn in a way.
The secret behind TNC’s recent show of force is none other than Heen, who joined the organization at the end of April. In case you don’t know who he is, Heen is the former coach of Team Liquid. You know, the guy that helped them win The International 2017.
EPICENTER Major Prizes
Because it’s a Major, EPICENTER Major will offer 15,000 qualification points for The International 2019, as well as one million dollars in prizes. These rewards will be shared among the 16 competitors in the following way.
- 1st position: $350,000 – 4950 qualification points
- 2nd position: $170,000 – 3000 qualification points
- 3rd position: $100,000 – 2100 qualification points
- 4th position: $80,000 – 1350 qualification points
- 5th – 6th position: $60,000 – 900 qualification points
- 7th – 8th position: $40,000 – 450 qualification points
- 9th – 12th position: $15,000 – 150 qualification points
- 13th – 16th position: $10,000 – 75 qualification points
Dota Pro Circuit Rankings
The only relevant DPC rankings for EPICENTER Major are the ones presented below. Keep in mind that only four qualification spots are left to be claimed. The other eight are already off the table.
- 9th place: Keen Gaming: 1140 qualification points
- 10th place: OG: 948 qualification points
- 11th place: TNC Predator: 696 qualification points
- 12th place: EHOME: 590 qualification points
- 17th place: Gambit Esports: 228 qualification points
- 18th place: Forward Gaming: 155 qualification points
- 19th place: paiN Gaming: 150 qualification points
Apart from these competitors, there’s also RNG and Infamous in the mix. EHOME will not be present at EPICENTER Major to defend their top 12 position so their spot is almost guaranteed to be taken by some other team.
Keen Gaming may also miss the event, but their position is strong enough to resist the final assault, so it’s extremely unlikely that they will lose their top 12 spot.
EPICENTER Major Participants
So far, 14 of the 16 EPICENTER Major competitors are known. The other two will be decided after the SL ImbaTV Minor. The teams that are currently known are the following.
- CIS: Gambit Esports, Virtus.pro
- North America: Evil Geniuses, Forward Gaming
- South America: paiN Gaming, Infamous
- China: PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, Royal Never Give Up
- Europe: OG, Team Secret, Team Liquid
- Southeast Asia: Fnatic, TNC Predator
Most of these competitors are familiar faces. As a result, I expect Team Secret, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, and Virtus.pro to dominate the tournament. Also, because of their massive potential, I also expect TNC Predator and OG to surprise us at EPICENTER Major. Both teams have amazing achievements under their belts and now they also have the right people in their composition. In OG’s case, ana has clearly proved since his return that he is one of the best carry players in the world. In TNC’s case, Heen has offered similar proof regarding his coaching ability and understanding of the game.