After a long stretch of Dota 2 qualifiers, weâ€™re now up for the third Major of the season. Hereâ€™s a rundown on what you need to know for the matches starting tonight.
Sixteen teams, eight direct invites and eight qualified teams, will be battling it out for the first Major of the year. Of note is Effectâ€™s LAN event debut, and the debut of Natus Vincereâ€™s and Virtus.proâ€™s new lineups. A total of $1,000,000 and 1,500 QP is at stake for the tournament. To add to that, Mercedes-Benz is once again partnering with ESL to award a brand new automobile to a fan-favorite MVP for the tournament.
As a Major with sixteen participating teams, the road to the Grand Finals will be a bloody one. Two groups of eight each will compete in a double elimination tournament, with the top three teams of each group heading on to the playoffs.
For Group A, the first round matchups are as follows:
Team Liquid vs. Effect
OG vs. Vici Gaming
Mineski vs. compLexity Gaming
OpTic Gaming vs. Virtus.pro
And for Group B, weâ€™ll witness these matchups:
Team Secret vs. Infamous
LGD Gaming vs. Evil Geniuses
Natus Vincere vs. Fnatic
Team Kinguin vs. Newbee
The winner of each groupâ€™s Upper Bracket Finals will have a one step advantage over the other four teams qualified for the Playoffs. The second placer of each group will be fighting against the third placers of the other group in the quarterfinals, while the first placers will be waiting straight from the Semifinals. This is an important advantage as the Playoffs round will only be single elimination, and a battle for third place match will also be conducted. Therefore, the winners of each group will automatically secure a podium finish in the tournament.
Both Team Secret and Virtus.pro will be competing in this tournament, and are looking to secure their second first place finish in a Valve Major this season. Meanwhile, Newbee and Team Liquid, incidentally the only two teams left that hasnâ€™t changed their roster since TI7, will be continuing their rivalry here. Itâ€™s important to note that Team Liquid has consistently reached a podium finish in all of the tournaments thus far.
A lot of talent will be in this tournament, not only behind the monitors but also in front of the cameras, as Redeye will be hosting the tournament along with OJ Borg. ODPixel, Capitalist, Blitz and TobiWan will be casting the games while PimpmuckL will control the camera and observer effects. Fogged, Purge, and Nahaz will serve as analysts, while Noxville will serve as the tournamentâ€™s official statistician. And finally, reporting the event would be Sheever.