Eight formidable Dota 2 teams will face off looking to win the top prize of $72,000, 140 Dota Pro Circuit points, and a spot in the upcoming DreamLeague Leipzig Major. Among that lot are several top esports organizations as well as a handful of newcomers that are looking to make their presence felt.
This is a high-stakes affair and WePlay! is set to make it a memorable occasion with a unique look and setup. With the event taking place at a Ukrainian ski resort, the organizer is tapping into that with a broadcast that pays homage to its wintery locale. WePlay! is also commemorating the event with unique limited edition plushies available for fans in attendance.
WIN.gg is here to give fans an early look of the event and break down what to look out for, and what to look forward to.
WePlay! Bukovel Minor teams, favorites to win
The WePlay! Bukovel Minor will feature eight teams from each of the six main Dota 2 regions. The competitors were determined in the qualifiers that took place in December:
This likely doesn’t come as a surprise to Dota 2 fans. Competing under the Team Liquid banner, Nigma reached the grand finals of The International 2019 where they were upended by OG. The players sat out of the first major cycle of the season and looked a bit rusty in their season debut, which resulted in them missing out on the DreamLeague Leipzig Major. Still, if they return to form they should be able to win here.
Past Nigma, Gambit Esports and Royal Never Give Up have the best odds of victory.
The WePlay! Bukovel Minor is an official Dota Pro Circuit minor and follows the standard prize pool and DPC point distribution for the 2019-2020 season. The winner of the event will also receive an invitation to the DreamLeague Leipzig Major.
1st place - $72,000 and 140 DPC points
2nd Place - $60,000 and 120 DPC points
3rd Place - $54,000 and 110 DPC points
4th Place - $42,000 and 90 DPC points
5th-6th Place - $24,000 and 60 DPC points
7th-8th Place - $12,000 and 40 DPC points
DPC points serve two purposes. During the season, they are used to determine which teams are invited to qualifiers for the majors. This allows teams to skip a possibly problematic trek through the open qualifiers. At the end of the season, the 12 teams with the highest totals of DPC points will receive a direct invitation to The International 2020.
The WePlay! Bukovel Minor will also use the standard Dota Pro Circuit minor event format. The eight teams will be divided into two GSL groups, with the top two from each group advancing to the playoffs while the bottom two are eliminated. The four remaining teams then progress to the playoffs, which will take place in a double elimination format, with best-of-three series that head into a best-of-five grand finals.
With The International standing as the largest event of the year by an enormous margin, that makes Dota Pro Circuit events of the utmost importance for teams.
Hosts and casters working as talent at WePlay! Bukovel Minor
The WePlay! Bukovel Minor will have a number of top teams participating, and it features a similarly strong lineup of casters and hosts. The desk hosts will include Jorien "Sheever" van der Heijden, Rich Campbell, and Roberto Gonzales.
Sheever is one of Dota 2’s top hosts, working at a slew of large events over the years. Rich Campbell is best known for his work in Activision Blizzard titles, but branched out into Dota 2 in 2019 and will be continuing that work into 2020. Gonzales isn’t as familiar a face, but he has worked with WePlay! On a number of different events in both Dota 2 and Artifact.
There aren’t any surprising names on this list, with most of them standing among the most frequently used talents in Dota 2 today. The specific caster pairings are not yet known, but there aren’t any bad combinations among this lot.
How to watch WePlay! Bukovel Minor, opening match schedule
The WePlay! Bukovel Minor begins on January 9, with games starting in the early morning for North American fans and the afternoon in Europe. WePlay! will broadcast the event in English, Russian, and Ukrainian
The full list of official WePlay! Twitch channels can be found on its Twitch team page.
The schedule for the WePlay! Bukovel Minor’s first day is laid out as follows:
Group A: Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Geek Fam, 10:00 (GMT+2), 09:00 (CET)
Group A: Team Spirit vs. Royal Never Give Up, 13:00 (GMT+2); 12:00 (CET)
Group B: Fighting PandaS vs. Nigma, 16:00 (GMT+2), 15:00 (CET)
Group B: Gambit Esports vs. FURIA Esports (Group B), 19:00 (GMT+2); 18:00 (CET)
Group B elimination match, 22:00 (GMT+2), 21:00 (CET)
The group stage will conclude on January 10, with the remaining five series played on a similar schedule. The day starts with the Group A elimination match.
The playoffs start on January 11, with all three upper bracket series being played out alongside the first round of the lower bracket. The event finishes on January 12 with the lower bracket finals and best-of-five grand finals.