The Major is soon, what should we expect?

4 min read

PPD breaks down the major format and some of his favorites to survive the unique format never before seen by Dota fans or teams.

In case you needed a reminder the Singapore Major begins on March 27th. Unfortunately if you’re from NA or EU this is going to be a really hard tournament to watch live. The matches begin each day at 10:00pm EST / 04:00am CET so it’s likely you’ll be catching up during your day watching VODs.  https://www.youtube.com/c/PGL/videos

NOTE: If you haven't been following twitter or reddit it's important that you know that many teams have had players test positive for COVID-19 and will be using stand-ins. 

This major’s format is unique to anything we Dota fans have seen before. The tournament begins with a round-robin group stage known as the Wildcard. 6 teams consisting of the 3rd and 4th placing teams in regions that were given more than 2 slots. AS Monaco Gambit (#3 CiS), Vici Gaming (#3 China), PSG.LGD (#4 China), T1 (#3 SEA), Team Nigma (#3 EU), and Team Liquid (#4 EU) will play each other twice and the two top placing teams will join the six 2nd seed teams in an 8-team round robin to determine who will then join the playoff bracket with the #1 seeds from each region.

Wildcard

Wildcard teams are guaranteed to play 10 games. If they advance to the group-stage round robin they will play a minimum of 24 games. If you’re a fan of one of these you’re in luck. Unfortunately I’d guess that a majority of viewers are fans of the #1 seeded teams who don’t start playing until March 31st. #1 seeds advance directly to the playoff bracket and could be eliminated in as little as 4 games. On the flipside a #1 seed team could win the major with as little as 9 games won.

I think this format will benefit lower seeded teams because of the number of matches they will be playing before they advance to the playoff stage. I have always felt that the momentum and confidence that teams gain while advancing through a tournament trumps overall strength that higher seeded teams might have over them. On top of that the Wildcard is stacked with teams from the most competitive regions. I think it’s very likely that atleast one team that advances from the Wildcard will make the playoffs.

In my previous article I went on about how Team Nigma would be my favorite to make a deep run but they recently announced that MC tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be playing.
https://twitter.com/TeamNigma/status/1374662272476356609?s=20

They will be using their coach RMN as a replacement. He has some experience playing with the team and stood-in for Kuroky many times. I'm unsure what role he will be playing but I think it's unlikely Kuroky would play something other than 5. If I recall correctly RMN is mostly an offlane player by choice. GH has played many games of core enigma in their matches so I'd expect them to use that hero quite a lot at the major. I think we might see all 3 of them take turns in different positions. Could be a unique advantage but I'm guessing it will be a unique disadvantage unfortunately.

That being said, my pick for the wildcard will be AS Monaco Gambit. Noone has always been the talent behind VP’s success and he only recently replaced FN and helped them qualify. They’ve had time to practice now and I expect them to do well. I must admit I'm not the most knowledgable about Chinese Dota at the moment so it's possible Vici blows up all of my predictions as well.

 

Group Stage

Joining the two best wildcard teams will be the 2nd seed teams. I’m mostly looking at Alliance to rival the #1 seeds in the playoffs. Alliance has consistently stepped up to every challenge this season and have without a doubt proved themselves as the 2nd best team in Europe. I wouldn’t say it’s guaranteed as they will be playing 14 games in 2 days but they're my favorite as of now. I also had Quincy Crew in that category before MSS tested positive for COVID (https://twitter.com/KBBQDotA/status/1373716007626366976?s=20) because I genuinely believe CCNC is one of the most talented mid players at the moment and if he and MSS are both having good games I could have seen them in the playoffs. Without MSS it may be a rough tournament for them. They will be using Milan who is a very high skilled player, if you you're willing to call Mirana spammers high skill that is.

Seeding

As the playoffs are so far away I’ll try to hold off on any overly bold predictions. However I think it’s safe to say the biggest story of the seeding is going to be who faces off against South America’s Beastcoast in round 1. Advancing directly into the top 8 I can imagine everyone is hoping to match them in round 1 for the easiest shot at guaranteeing a top 6 finish. Beastcoast has surprised in the past and I hope they do again but if you asked any of the other 7 teams in the playoffs who they wanted to play round 1, I’d bet it’s BC.

I’m not sure how PGL plans to do their seeding for the final playoff bracket but I hope they do a live-streamed blind draw. I don’t think there can be any mathematical way to determine seeding on the #1 seeds who have not played in any of the round robins so if they use another method I would be disappointed. Regardless I think it’s best that we all hope BC is in great form and provides us some great games no matter who their opponent.

Playoffs

Let’s pick a winner because… why not?

My brain says Team Secret however my heart is hoping for a EU/China match between Team Secret and Invictus Gaming. EU and China have been considered the best regions and without any international competition I’m hoping for an international final. Team Secret v Nigma would be entertaining but not the final Dota fans need to be united as an international audience once again. 

Thanks for reading everyone. If you want to continue this discussion or chat about the major feel free to join me on my discord. https://discord.gg/yDpmUaQ

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Peter "ppd" Dager

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