The Dota 2 Pro Circuit 2018-19 has almost drawn to a close as the last Major of the season is under 10 days away. The strongest teams in the world will fight again for the last chance at getting an invite to The International. The 16 team tournament will be followed by a 1-month break for the players before The International finally kicks off in Shanghai.
The Epicenter Major is Russia's biggest annual LAN event. It will emanate from the CSKA Arena in the country's capital of Moscow. The 12,000 capacity arena previously hosted the last 3 installments of this event and this will be the second time it has gotten Major status. The Prize Pool of the event will be $1 million similar to all other Majors and the tournament will be preceded the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor which is currently in progress.
What makes this Major special is that this will be the last chance for several teams to get an invite to TI9. If teams fail to get an invite they will have to survive the bloodbath that is the regional TI Qualifiers where all the remaining top teams of a region will fight for just 1 spot in The International.
The Dota Pro Circuit Rankings are what determine whether a team will get an invite to The International or not. Every team participating in Majors or Minors earn DPC Points in accordance with their placements in the tournament. These points are accumulated throughout the season and the top 12 teams will be getting an invite to TI9. The other 6 slots in TI9 will be filled by 1 team from 6 separate regions via offline qualifiers.
As per usual, the tournament will follow a double elimination bracket system succeeding the usual round-robin group stages. Two teams from the currently ongoing StarLadder ImbaTV Minor will also join the 14 previously qualified teams in Moscow.
While 14 out of 16 participating teams have already qualified, the tournament has more significance for some teams than the others. Out of the 14 teams, 7 have already secured a spot in The International. While the other seven can virtually guarantee an invite with a win at the Major.
Teams already qualified for TI9
Team Secret - Team Secret currently sit at the summit of the DPC Rankings. They have secured their qualification to TI but remain favorites to win the Major at Moscow.
Virtus Pro - Virtus Pro are second in the DPC Rankings. They have secured their qualification to TI. Although in a run of bad form, VP are still favorites on their home soil.
Evil Geniuses - EG are third in the DPC Rankings. They have secured their qualification to TI and are one of the strongest teams in the world at the moment.
Vici Gaming - Vici are fourth in the DPC Rankings. Their high placement comes solely off the back of one single Major victory. They have finished 5th-8th in all other Majors thus proving one single Major victory can propel a team to The International.
PSG.LGD - PSG.LGD are fifth in the DPC Rankings. They have secured their qualification to TI and are a strong contender although they haven't been at their best this season.
Fnatic - Fnatic are sixth in the DPC Rankings. They have had a poor season finishing on the lower half almost every time. However, they managed one third-place finish which gave them enough points to secure qualification into TI.
Team Liquid - Liquid are seventh in the DPC Rankings. They recently parted ways with their core player Matumbaman in a shocking move no one anticipated. However, they are guaranteed a slot in TI.
Teams yet to qualify for TI9
OG - OG currently sit at 10th place in the DPC Rankings. They have had a turbulent season but are virtually guaranteed to get an invite to TI. They have used 3 players in their Position 2 role in this season but with usual starter Ana finally back, we can expect OG to get a strong finish in Moscow.
Gambit Esports - Gambit will be playing their second Major of the season. They have had a poor season but have shown occasional brilliance. They currently sit at 17th and to get into the top 12 they have to finish in the top 4 of this Major, which is very unlikely.
Royal Never Give Up - The Chinese team will play its first Major. They are ranked 27th and is one of the lowest ranked teams of the season. They will have to finish in the top 3 to get an invite which is nearly impossible for a team of this caliber.
TNC Predator - Sitting at 11th, TNC can comfortably get the invitation to TI. If they manage to get in the top 8 they are guaranteed an invitation. Even if they don't only circumstantial events will deny them the invitation.
Forward Gaming - Forward sit at 18th on the DPC Rankings. They are still in reach of the top 12. But for that, they must finish in the top 6 at the very least. They haven't shown much potential and are unlikely to get the invite.
Pain Gaming - Pain are 20th in the DPC Rankings with just one Major appearance. They need a top 4 finish to get the invite but considering their poor form and results, it is unlikely.
Infamous Gaming - Infamous are 29th in the DPC Rankings. They are the lowest ranked team in the tournament. For them to get an invite they will have to finish in the top 3 which is nearly impossible for the team.
The final 2 slots are reserved for the winners and runner-up of the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor which is ongoing at the moment and can be watched live on Twitch.
The Epicenter Major itself can be watched live on Twitch and from inside the Dota 2 Game Client. It certainly is the most anticipated Major of the season as its the last chance for several teams to make it to the prestigious International.