Peter “ppd” Dager dropped some real talk about the state of the Dota Pro Circuit on his Last Word podcast, and what he discussed should worry every Dota 2 fan.
The former TI winner, alongside professional player Mason “mason” Venne and caster Grant “GranDGranT” Harris, touched on a wide range of hot topics within the Dota 2 community. The hottest the trio dove into is the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the Dota Pro Circuit.
Chinese citizens face a number of restrictions when it comes to both international and domestic travel. With the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor Season 3 and ESL One Los Angeles Major less than a month away and the coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down, odds are that Chinese teams are going to face some trouble reaching the United States.
But what if some of the Chinese teams set to participate in the next major cycle are turned away at the border? What if all of them are? And what if this continues on into the Epicenter Major and beyond?
With Dota Pro Circuit events carrying an enormous weight due to their serving as qualifiers for The International 2020, Valve has a tough road ahead when it comes to both ensuring Chinese representation at the event and guaranteeing that participating teams are treated fairly.
Could coronavirus end up ruining The International 2020?
Mason, GranDGranT, and ppd brainstormed possible solutions to the issue and it quickly became clear that there is no good answer to this question.
Mason suggested bumping up qualified teams one spot higher, with teams like Alliance and Business Associates taking Chinese teams’ spots in the major, while qualifier losers like Nigma take a spot in the minor.
While that makes sense, ppd noted that this would be a hard hit to his team, Ninjas in Pyjamas. Vici Gaming not participating in the ESL One Los Angeles Major opens things up in a big way, and taking Invictus Gaming and Royal Never Give Up out of the equation would give NiP an excellent opportunity to jump up the rankings.
He pointed out that the ESL One Los Angeles Major will be a huge opportunity for newer teams to break into the top 12 of the DPC rankings, but offering up more opportunities to teams that are already in the hunt will hinder NiP’s ability to climb the ladder.
The Ninjas in Pyjamas captain also touched on the possibility of removing ESL One Los Angeles from the Dota Pro Circuit and removing it from consideration when it comes to The International 2020 invitations. While this seems pretty far-fetched, Valve has done it before. In 2018, Valve revoked the major status of Galaxy Battles II due to “new government regulations for esports players entering the Philippines.”
That would protect Chinese teams’ ability to qualify for The International 2020, but it would once again adversely impact teams that qualified for the ESL One Los Angeles Major.
Mason suggested that Valve can bring the next DPC event to China, but this would be logistically difficult and would potentially risk the health of the participating players.
Dota 2 fans also presented some ideas of their own, including one that Chinese teams should be allowed to play online during the event. That would still put the Chinese teams at an overwhelming disadvantage as they would need to combat lag in addition to top-flight opposition.
Indeed, there are a lot of possible factors to consider. If the coronavirus situation does not get better soon, Chinese teams will be in dire straits when it comes to The International 2020. Valve has not discussed the topic and precedent suggests that the publisher has no plans on what to do if the situation worsens.
The StarLadder ImbaTV Minor is fast approaching and Team Aster will be the first under a microscope, possibly literally. With less than two weeks before the event, fans are anxious about how things will unfold in China and at The International 2020.