The World Electronic Sports Games 2016 is basically the first ever Dota 2 World Cup and will take place from 12-15 January at the Changzhou Olympic Sports Center in Changzhou, China.
Twenty-four teams representing 16 nations will fight for a share of a $1,500,000 prize pool, with $800,000 going into the pockets of the winners. Only the top eight sides will receive a slice of the prize pie.
In the spirit of a true international event, the organizers introduced the first Middle East and Africa qualifier, awarding three spots to teams from this usually overlooked region.
Meanwhile, eight qualifiers come from the EU and CIS region, six from the Americas, six from the Asia and Pacific area, and one from China. However, some Chinese teams were allowed to participate in the Asia and Pacific qualifier so there will be three teams from the home nation overall.
The qualifying stage took place between August and November and each country was allowed to have more than one representative. As a rule, the line-up of each team must be composed of players from the same country. Teams that were already established (e.g. Alliance, Danish Bears) were allowed to take part in the open qualifier as their respective country’s representatives, while other players were allowed to form teams themselves based on their nationality. Players with dual citizenship such as Roman “rmN-” Paley (Russia and Germany) were allowed to represent the country of their choice.
The 24 teams from 16 countries have been divided into four groups of six teams. The matches will be played in a best-of-one round robin format. The three teams from each group with the worst record will be eliminated, with the top three advancing to the playoff stage.
These are the four groups:
|Bravado Gaming||South Africa|
|Team One Ecuador||Ecuador|
|TNC Pro Team||Philippines|
The playoffs will be played in a best-of-three match format and will be single elimination without a loser bracket. The second and third best teams from each group will start at the round-of-12. The four winners of this stage will advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face the winners of the four groups.
The tournament will then progress to the semifinals and Finals, with the losing semifinalists playing a third place decider which will determine winnings and prestige. Both the third place match and the Finals will be best-of-five affairs.
In the spotlight
There are plenty of newcomers in this competition but a number of teams do grab attention, with Alliance and Danish Bears being two of the favourites. The Swedes have former TI 3 winners Jonathan “Loda” Berg and Jerry “EGM” Lundkvist in their ranks, while the Danes’ gradual progress since they completed their formation in June was rewarded with a 4th spot in Dream League Season 6 last month.
Among the compiled teams, Ukraine are the ones that stand out as they feature Dota 2 veteran Danil “Dendi” Ishutin (Natus Vincere) and one of the most consistent carries of the past year, TI 6 runner-up Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok (Digital Chaos).
Another team that could fight for first place are the other Swedish representatives Horde as they feature high level MMR players, while Russia’s Fantastic Five are also worth following.
There will be a large number of teams that the general Dota 2 audience have never seen play together as WESG is the first tournament that aims to bring the feel of a World Cup to the Dota 2 scene. Arguably, one of the defects of the tournament format is that this gives advantage to teams such as Alliance, who have been together for a while.
Despite this, it will be a great chance for the players to show what they are capable of, and with one of the largest prize pools outside of the Valve events, it is not solely a matter of prestige, but a unique opportunity for some players to break into the Dota elite.