The Epicenter Major qualifiers kick off in just a few days, and teams are just now finding out their chances of qualifying directly to the event.
After weeks of confusion and silence, Epicenter revealed the qualifier slot allocation for the event on Twitter. Three teams each from Europe and China will compete in the event, while the North America, South America, Southeast Asia, and CIS regions will send two apiece. The final two slots will go to the top two teams from the upcoming StarLadder Minor.
The allocation differs from the first four majors of the season, which saw Europe, China, and North America receive three slots in each event, while Southeast Asia, South America, and CIS each received two. The final slot went to the winner of each major’s preceding minor.
Though this made sense earlier in the year, North America has seen many of its presumptive contenders fizzle in recent months. This had some fans calling for North America’s third slot to be reallocated, something Epicenter seemingly attempted to do themselves.
Alongside the initial announcement for the event in March, Epicenter stated that there would be three CIS teams headed to the event through qualifiers. The move raised many an eyebrow with players and pundits as the CIS region has been shaky throughout the season. The move smacked of favoritism given that the major set to take place in Moscow.
Three weeks later, Epicenter made the surprise announcement that Valve had nixed those plans and had reset the slot allocation to two for each region and one for the StarLadder Minor winner. Teams and fans have been left to wonder what would become of those three remaining slots in the month since.
The timing is far from ideal, with the closed qualifiers beginning imminently. But the decision has been well received.
Dota 2 majors are used to determine direct invitations to The International 2019, and many of those direct invites were locked up this weekend at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. There are four remaining invitations, and any team that can make it to the Epicenter Major has a shot at qualifying for TI9 with one strong showing. Dedicating two slots to the StarLadder Minor allows more fringe challengers an opportunity to sneak their way to Shanghai and adds even more excitement to an already interesting event.
The qualifiers for the Epicenter Major begin on May 15 and run through May 19. The qualifiers for the StarLadder Minor will begin shortly thereafter.