The first Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) event of the new year, the WePlay! Bukovel Minor, starts this Thursday.
Here’s everything you need to know.
A DPC Winter Tale
The Bukovel Minor will kick off the 2020 leg of the 2019-2020 DPC season, and will be the first DPC event organized by WePlay! since they started hosting a variety of smaller tournaments as far back as 2013.
The Minor will be held from January 9-12 in Bukovel, the largest ski resort in Eastern Europe situated in Ukraine — the perfect venue for a wintertime tournament.
What’s at stake?
Eight teams from six different regions will compete for a US$300,000 prize pool, alongside a 660 DPC point pool to help towards their campaign for a direct invite to The International 2020 (TI10).
However, the teams will surely be gunning for the direct invite to the DreamLeague Season 13 Leipzig Major — where there’s even more money and DPC points up for grabs — reserved for the winning team.
The tournament will follow a GSL (round-robin) format for the group stage, where the teams are separated into two groups of four to go through a series of best-of-three matches.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the Playoffs, while the bottom two teams are eliminated. The group stage is set to run from January 9-10.
The Playoffs will feature a double-elimination bracket with best-of-three matches, finishing with a best-of-five Grand Finals. The Playoffs are set to run from January 11-12.
The Bukovel Minor will feature eight teams that qualified for the tournament through the closed regional qualifiers in early December last year.
North America and CIS both have two teams, while South America, Europe, China, and Southeast Asia have one representative each.
Royal Never Give Up (China)
Royal Never Give Up (RNG) beat out other well-established Chinese Dota 2 organizations like CDEC Gaming, EHOME, and Look For Smile to qualify for the WePlay! Bukovel Minor.
After the team lost to EHOME at the start of the closed qualifier, they rallied back and won seven straight games in the lower bracket to secure their spot in Bukovel.
GeekFam (Southeast Asia)
GeekFam is a team that went undefeated throughout the SEA qualifier. They knocked out BOOM Esports and Cignal Ultra in the upper bracket to get to the Grand Finals.
They then matched up against Cignal Ultra again, where they continued to impose their will by sweeping their opponents in the Grand Finals, 3-0, which secured their spot at the Minor.
It is also important to note that GeekFam made a roster change prior to the Minor. Their position 2 player from North America, Eric “Ryoya” Dong was replaced by Karl “Karl” Jayme.
Gambit Esports (CIS)
The first CIS team to qualify for the Bukovel Minor was Gambit Esports, after they dominated the upper bracket by defeating both HellRaisers and Team Spirit.
Team Spirit (CIS)
After losing to Gambit in the winners’ final, TeamSpirit was able to earn the second qualifier spot for the Minor by defeating HellRaisers 3-2 during the losers’ final.
Nigma Esports (Europe)
After their post-TI9 break, Nigma Esports managed to secure their first DPC appearance of the season by defeating Team Singularity during the semifinals 2-0. Then, they outplayed Vikin.gg during the next two matches, where they earned the 3-0 sweep in the grand finals.
Ninjas in Pyjamas (North America)
The first team to qualify in the NA region was NiP. They defeated Team Xolotl at the beginning of the qualifiers. Then, they beat out J.Storm 2-1 to secure their Minor berth.
NiP also decided to part ways with their position 1 carry player, Oliver “Skiter” Lepko. The team then signed Jason “Tanner” Weedon as their position 2 middle laner, while Nico “Gunnar” Lopez will be taking over the hard carry role for the team.
Fighting PandaS (North America)
After being dropped to the lower bracket by J.Storm,
Fighting PandaS chose to regroup and, as a result, swept both Team Xolotl and J.Storm to secure their spot at the Minor.
Furia Esports (South America)
The last and lesser-known team to qualify for Bukovel was FURIA Esports. They blitzed the SA region by sweeping all three of their opponents during the qualifiers. They defeated and outclassed SA rivals Vicious Gaming, EgoBoys, and Gorillaz-Pride.
The front runner of the tournament is clearly Nigma Esports. They were runners-up at TI9, but they struggled to break down the Outlanders Update, which was dropped a few days before the closed regional qualifiers for the Leipzig Major.
With the amount of talent on the team, and with Kuroky’s leadership, the new esports organization will be eager to earn those crucial DPC points and a spot at the DreamLeague13 Leipzig Major.
How to watch
The group stage games will be streamed on WePlay’s four different Twitch channels, with the playoff matches all streamed on the main channel thereafter.
The group stage is set to begin at 7:00 a.m. GMT+8 for January 9 and 10. For the playoffs, the games will be played at 11:00 p.m. GMT+8.
Here’s the schedule for Day 1:
- Ninjas in Pyjamas vs Geek Fam 7:00 a.m. GMT+8
- Team Spirit vs Royal Never Give Up 10:00 a.m. GMT+8
- Fighting PandaS vs Nigma Esports 1:00 p.m. GMT+8
- Gambit Esports vs FURIA Esports 4:00 p.m GMT+8