Steven R. January 2, 2021
PGL has opened the levies on what should be a wave of Dota 2 esports news by announcing the first Dota Pro Circuit invites.
The Dota Pro Circuit is set to return in the very near future and the first step for that is determining which teams will be taking part in the official regional leagues. PGL is the first of the six regional tournament organizers to announce the qualification process, which will determine the 16 teams that will compete in Southeast Asia’s official regional leagues.
Four teams were given an invitation to compete in the top league in the region:
Fnatic and TNC have long been the standard bearers for SEA Dota 2, and that hasn’t changed in 2020. BOOM doesn’t have the same cachet of Fnatic and TNC, but the organization has quietly had a strong 2020 that includes top-four placements in almost every notable online league that has taken place in the region this year. T1 is the lone surprise of that lot, as the organization has posted mixed results throughout the year and only has three players attached to its roster.
There will also be a closed qualifier to determine who will join these four teams in SEA’s upper division. The eight participants were announced by PGL:
- 496 Gaming
- ex-IO Dota2
- Smart Omega
- Vice Esports
- Galaxy Racer
- Cignal Ultra
- Neon Esports
There are few surprises here as most of these teams have been regular competitors in 2020, with varying levels of success. While the top four teams from the closed qualifiers will join Fnatic, TNC, T1, and BOOM in the upper league, the bottom four teams from the closed qualifiers will be forced to compete once again with open qualifier teams for a spot in the lower division.
PGL also detailed the relegation system that will be used in the leagues. The bottom two teams from the upper division will be moved down to the lower division, while the top two teams of the lower division are automatically promoted to the upper division. There is no playoff to determine the fate of these teams, as their final standings move them by default. The bottom two teams of the lower division are removed and thrown into an open qualifier to determine who will take their spot.
Open qualifier registration is already underway, with the action starting on January 3. League play will begin across all regions on January 18.
What is the Dota Pro Circuit?
Starting in 2021, the Dota Pro Circuit is a series of online leagues and live majors. The circuit determines the direct invitees for The International 10 by awarding points based on teams’ performances in those leagues and tournaments.