Chongqing in China stages the first Major of the year – the 2nd of the Dota Pro Circuit 2018/19 season.
It will be the first time a Dota 2 Major event has been held there.
The 16 teams will battle for a prize pool of US$1million, while 15,000 DPC points will also be up for grabs from January 19-27.
The teams have been drawn into four groups of four. The top two teams in each group will advance to the upper bracket; the bottom two head to the lower. The group-stage matches will be played in elimination format on January 19-20.
The Major will then continue with the main event beginning on January 22 and concluding with the grand final on January 27.
All of the games apart from the first round in the lower bracket (best of one) and the grand final (best of five) will be played in a best-of-three elimination format.
As per the new DPC rules, there are no invitees in the tournament and 15 of the participants earned their spot through regional qualifiers, while EHOME got in as winners of the Bucharest Minor.
Virtus.Pro (Outright odds: 4.920) – VP have been the staple of CIS Dota 2 for the past couple of years with one of the longest-standing rosters on the scene. Despite being arguably the best team of the previous DPC season, they fell short of winning The International 8 and will keep chasing the dream of claiming the biggest prize in Dota 2. They have already won the Kuala Lumpur Major this season.
Team Secret (4.640) – Fell just short of claiming glory in the previous Major, reaching the grand finals. One of the best Europe region teams made two changes for the new season, bringing Nisha to the spotlights, as well as their former player and household Dota 2 name zai back into the roster. With these changes, Secret look better than last season and have been more consistent in their performances.
Team Liquid (4.880) – The TI7 champions had a bit of a rough start to the season after failing to qualify for the Kuala Lumpur Major and suffering from bad form. KuroKy’s boys stepped up their game recently and adjusted well to the new 7.20 patch, showing this team are still a force to be reckoned with. The squad has been together for two years now (with some of the members being together more than three) and features top-quality talent and perhaps the best Mid in the world, Miracle-.
PSG.LGD (4.430) – The Chinese powerhouse were incredibly close to winning TI8 and despite being favourites stumbled at the very end. With that sour taste still in their mouths, the Chinese finished in 5-6th spot at the Kuala Lumpur Major – a position that does not reflect their talent and ambition. The current roster is a strong one and being on home soil will certainly be a boost.
Vici Gaming (7.490) – One of the strongest Chinese teams who came 2nd in the local qualifier, Vici Gaming had a decent previous season but failed to make an impact on the stage of TI8. As a result, three new players joined the ranks and the results followed quickly – 2nd spot in ESL One Hamburg in October saw Vici Gaming bow heads only to Team Secret. Unfortunately for them, the Chinese underperformed in the Kuala Lumpur Major, taking 7-8th spot, and will be looking forward to getting back towards the very top positions.
EG (8.210) – The symbol of North American Dota created a new line-up, signing s4 and Fly just before TI8, and immediately gelled, managing to secure 3rd spot in the tournament. The roster hasn’t had any changes since then, but the star-studded squad slightly underperformed in the qualifiers and will arrive as the 3rd best from the NA region. EG finished 3rd in Kuala Lumpur and will certainly look to at least repeat this notable achievement.
Forward Gaming (38.740) – The NA team appeared on the international Dota 2 scene under the banner of VGJ.Storm in the concluding stages of the previous DPC season, winning the GESC: Thailand Dota2 Minor. Forward Gaming did not stop, surprisingly winning one of the groups at TI8, eventually ending in 7-8th spot. FG have been somewhat less impressive since the start of the new season, but their 9-12th place in the Kuala Lumpur Major is something to build on and they have proven that they have the talent to challenge the big names.
Fnatic (23.990) – Have undergone various roster changes in the last two years and have been characterised by showing glimpses of brilliance, alongside plenty of blunders. The current line-up features some of the best South-East Asia players such as Abed and DJ, who are also the longest-standing members and the ones often responsible for pulling the team out of sticky situations. Also including iceiceice, Jabz and MP this year, the team have lots of potential and can build on their 7-8th spot in the Kuala Lumpur Major.
Aster (17.280) – An ambitious project that was formed to break the status quo in Chinese Dota and challenge teams such as PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming. They are led by by BurNIng, a legendary Dota 2 player, who is now in the role of a coach. Aster have a good blend of experience and young blood that has already demonstrated its potential on the stage of ESL One Hamburg. The team won the Chinese qualifier, beating the more renowned PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming and will certainly look to improve from the 13-16th spot they achieved in the Kuala Lumpur Major.
Potential to upset
EHOME (12.070) – Fell just short in the Chinese qualifiers, finishing 4th, but the team demonstrated their quality on the stage of the Bucharest Minor. Dominating throughout, EHOME won the trophy, losing only a single game in the entire tournament. EHOME did not participate in the previous Major and have improved significantly since then.
J.Storm (60.870) – Won the North American qualifier despite the presence of a more established teams such as EG and Forward Gaming. They are a brand new team and feature North American and Korean players. Most recently, the team signed the legendary TI5 winner Fear, who once again has returned to competitive Dota. J.Storm are not new to majors this season and finished in 9-12th spot in the Kuala Lumpur Major.
TNC Predator (48.000) – One of the strongest SEA teams for a while now. With the arrival of Gabbi and ninjaboogie last September, they have managed to make an impact on the international scene, as well. Their 5-6th spot in the Kuala Lumpur Major was not a surprise and they beat a number of respectable teams to achieve it. TNC can have a slow start, but are good at coming back after they gain momentum during the tournament.
Alliance (94.160) – A team who enjoyed glory days in 2013 but then slipped back. Now they finally have a line-up which is starting to compete regularly at international Dota 2 events again. Four of the players have been together since 2017 with qojqva joining last June to form up the current line-up. This will be the second Major for Alliance to participate in after their 9-12th spot in Kuala Lumpur. It should be noted that they eliminated TI8 champions OG in the qualifiers to earn their spot here.
The Pango (48.000) – A team formerly known as NoPangolier. They are already one of the surprises in the tournament, having qualified alongside Virtus.Pro from the CIS region, beating them in the final. The team is led by the experienced CemaTheSlayer who was for a long time part of Vega Squadron. This will be the first Major event for a team that was only formed in October.
Chaos Esports Club (62.720) – Basically this team is the old paiN Gaming. The Brazilian team with European elements are arguably the strongest South American outfit. paiN made their mark on the international scene last season, finishing 3rd at the ESL One Birmingham Major. Their TI8 participation was rather lacklustre, followed by another bottom finish (13-16th) at the Kuala Lumpur Major. They have been struggling to repeat their success in the new season and will try to redeem themselves under their new owners in Chongqing.
Thunder Predator (186.460) – The least known team of the bunch, they qualified as the 2nd best from the South American region, albeit only after Test123 were disqualified. The team have never played at a DPC event or a Major and being here is already a success. Thunder Predator are entirely composed of Peruvian players, who will have the chance to show the international Dota 2 community what they are capable of.