Dota 2: EPICENTER Major Preview and Group Breakdown

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Dota 2: EPICENTER Major Preview and Group Breakdown

ESTNN's Veselin Ignatov takes viewers through what they can expect that the last Dota 2 Major before TI 9, EPICENTER Moscow.

After an entire season full to the brim with tons of action, it is finally time to watch the last Major of the 2018/2019 Dota Pro Circuit. Starting on June 22, sixteen of the best teams in the will duke it out against each other in order to win the last available DPC points. As we all know, teams need those points in order to snag a direct invite for the biggest event in Dota 2 esports – The International 2019.

With a staggering $1,000,000 prize pool and 15,000 DPC points on the line, the EPICENTER Major is definitely a must-watch for every Dota enthusiast out there.



Like we already said, sixteen teams will play it out in Moscow this coming weekend. Fourteen of these teams qualified through regional qualifiers: 3 from Europe and China, 2 from CIS, SEA, SA, NA. In addition, the last two participants won their spot at the event after finishing first and second at the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor.

The EPICENTER Major will have a Group Stage and Playoffs. The Group Stage will be just one day – from June 22nd – 23rd. The sixteen teams are divided into four GSL groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group will advance to the upper bracket while the bottom two win a one-way ticket to the lower bracket. All games will be played in a best-of-three format.

The Playoffs will take place from June 24th – 30th. These matches will follow the classic double-elimination format. What’s more, the last three days of the tournament will be held in front of a live audience at the CSKA Arena in Moscow.

All games except the Grand Final and the lower bracket's round one are played in a best-of-three format.


Participating teams in Moscow

When EPICENTER announced the groups, many fans went on Twitter to complain about the poor shuffling. Yes, on paper, some of the groups seem like they are much easier compared to others. However, that doesn’t mean that this will be the case here. After all, the stakes are very high, and viewers can expect teams to pull out all the stops, considering what's on the line.

Group A

The teams here are Team Secret, Fnatic, paiN Gaming and Royal Never Give Up.

At first glance, this group might seem like a walk in the park for Team Secret. To be honest, this is probably true. Team Secret has been absolutely phenomenal throughout this DPC season. Of course, Puppey and Co. already qualified for TI long time ago, which means that they are only here for the experience and the prize pool.

The same goes for Fnatic in terms of their spot for TI. That said, they are nowhere as dominant as their fellow EU team. Despite that, they will probably finish second in Group A and advance directly to the Upper Bracket.

As for RNGU and paiN, both of them are very good teams. It will, however, be very difficult for them to come on top in a group such as this. In the best case scenario, one of them could potentially finish second, but it definitely won't be easy for the third and fourth-seeded teams in this group.

Group B

This group is undoubtedly going to be one of the most interesting ones, especially after the recent controversy surrounding Team Liquid’s roster. Apart from the TI 7 champions, the other teams here are Evil Geniuses, Gambit and Infamous.

Evil Geniuses are also performing pretty well recently. In fact, they managed to get a top-three finish in the vast majority of the tournaments this season. This definitely makes them one of the favorites to win this group.

Gambit has had some ups and downs throughout the season. Despite that, if they manage to grab a good start here, we might see them finish somewhere near the top.

Currently, we still unaware who will be Liquid’s fifth player. Rumors have it that it will be the Romanian mid laner w33ha. However, neither the team nor w33ha has confirmed this rumor.

Group C

The third group in the Major consists of Virtus.Pro, Forward Gaming, Vici Gaming, and Alliance.

The Swedish squad, Alliance, barely missed out on winning the StarLadder Minor just a couple of days ago. Despite that loss, they managed to get a spot for this Major, which was a must if they wanted to have a chance at getting the direct invite to TI. In order to do so, they have to collect a decent amount of DPC points at EPICENTER.

The same goes for Forward Gaming. If they manage to finish somewhere near the top in Moscow, they might just be able to nail down that spot. If they don’t, however, they`ll have to go through the qualifiers again.

On the other hand, the two titans of Dota in this group have already secured their spot a long time ago. Both VP and Vici are most likely going to experiment with different lineups here with nothing on the line.

Group D

The last group might just be the “Group of Death” simple because all four teams are potential group winners. At first glance, PSG.LGD is the one that stands out the most. The TI 8 runners-up are slowly clawing their way back into form after Maybe’s return. They are definitely among the big favorites.

Ninjas in Pyjamas is one of the teams which has become much better as the season has progressed. They managed to win two Minors, with the most recent being the Starladder ImbaTV. What’s more, they’ve also secured their spot for TI which gives them a little more space to breathe.

The other two teams here are OG and TNC Predator. This DPC season was not the best for the TI 8 champions, but they still have a chance to change it with a win here in Moscow. Apart from their performance, OG recently stepped into the spotlight for their actions against their player Ceb. You can read more about it by clicking HERE.

This is undoubtedly one of the most important tournaments of the season. As soon as it’s over, we`ll know the names of all of the teams who managed to earn themselves the direct invite for The International 2019.

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Dota 2: EPICENTER Major Preview and Group Breakdown
Zlosterr has been a fan of esports for many years and mainly focuses on Dota 2. He has more than five years of experience writing Dota 2 content for numerous platforms. Besides being a passionate fan of the game, he's also played for various amateur teams.