Valve announced “Regional Leagues” earlier this evening in an effort to bring structure to an often hectic Dota 2 schedule and provide more consistency to competing teams.
According to the announcement, Valve will institute the leagues after the conclusion of the tenth edition of The International in 2020. Valve explained the change in the blog post announcing the Regional Leagues.
“We believe the consistency and regularity of the league throughout the year, paired with a flat and deep prize pool distribution will, over time, nurture healthy and strong Tier 2/3 competition,” Valve said.
At first, the new Regional Leagues look like a mess of letters and numbers, but the Leagues are much easier to understand when their structure is laid out from top to bottom.
Here’s how each season breaks down in terms of the number of teams in each Regional League:
That makes for a grand total of 96 Dota 2 teams competing in a structured tournament schedule for three seasons every year. In addition, every game will be available for fans to watch. Upper-division matches will be broadcast from a live studio, while fans can tune in to lower-division matches on Dota TV.
According to Valve, the developer will ensure that each Regional League adheres to the following regarding time and format:
Valve also released a full schedule for the first season of Dota 2’s Regional Leagues as seen below.
The developer also revealed that they will perform the initial seeding of the teams for the first Regional League season. The teams themselves are responsible for deciding which region it wants to play in, as well as making sure it is eligible to play in the region it chooses.
Eligibility is determined by a simple majority as three of a team’s players have to live in the region they’re competing in. Teams are also allowed a single stand-in for a maximum of four games throughout the season. The stand-in must be a player from a lower-division team or someone uninvolved in any Regional League, not a player from another competing upper-divison squad.
Each season will be roster locked, and if a team wants to change regions they have to requalify through each league’s Open Qualifiers.
Finally, Majors will still play an important part in the Dota 2 Season. Eighteen teams representing every region will compete for a $500,000 prize pool along with a mountain of DPC points to propel them to The International.
Each region will have a set number of Major slots for the year:
Wildcard Stage Format
A standardized Major format comes alongside the announcement. An initial Wildcard stage will consist of:
Group Stage Format
The group stage is similar to the Wildcard stage, but with eight teams instead of six. In the Major group stages, the top two teams will take Playoff spots in the upper bracket, while teams that finish third through sixth will be seeded into the lower bracket. The teams that place in the bottom two are eliminated from the Major.
Teams that finish the season in these placements will be seeded into the group stage:
Dota 2’s Regional League Playoff Format
Finally, the playoffs will feature a twelve team, double-elimination bracket featuring the following teams:
At the end of each year’s third season, the 12 teams with the most DPC points will qualify for The International 2021. TI 11’s final six spots will be filled with teams through a last-chance qualifier in each region featuring the top eight teams from those regions that don’t already have an invite to The International.
Regional League dates already set, still room for other tournaments, says Valve
Valve has released the dates for all three seasons along with Tuesday’s announcement, informing fans that any dates outside these are there for the taking by third-party organizers.
The dates for each season are as follows: