All the Changes Coming to the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit Explained

As the 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit comes to an end, culminating in Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament, The International, later in August, Valve already have their eyes set on the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit.

The Revamped 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit

2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit

The widely experimental 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit has led to Valve making some welcome changes for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit. (Valve)

For the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, Valve will introduce a more general structure as compared to the rather barebones structure of the 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit introduced right after the conclusion of The International 2017.

The Minors and Majors, as well as the Qualifying Points, will remain. However, how these work together throughout the year will change drastically come next season. Case in point, instead of the player-centric point-based system we’ve seen, the focus will shift towards teams and organizations now. Any points earned from tournaments will now go directly towards the teams.

Valve also has made it a point to space out the qualifiers, so following them should be much easier this time around.

Below is a summary of all the changes for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit:

“Next season’s Minor and Major events will be held in pairs”

2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit

While many welcomed the year-round matches, the lack of distinction between Minors and Majors this past season left much to be desired. (DreamHack)

Good news, it seems that Valve was paying attention all along. Although many fans loved having matches to watch nearly every day for most of the year, anyone involved in the competitive scene complained how exhausting it was to have to play in a tournament only to go home and worry about playing in the Qualifiers a few days later and vice versa. For next season, Valve has promised a more spaced-out scheduling, with Minors and Majors working in tandem.

Effectively, what this means is that Minors will act as lead-ins to Majors.

The general flow will be that Major qualifiers will take place first. Any team that fails to qualify for the Major can qualify for the Minors, where they can earn a spot at the following Major by winning the Minor. To minimize the likelihood of Visa issues preventing a team from participating in the Major, Valve have also required every team participating in Minors to secure a Visa for the Major in advance.

Valve have also set strict guidelines for tournament organizers vying for both Minors and Majors for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit. Minors will have to feature a minimum of eight teams, with at least one qualifier per region. Meanwhile, Majors will have to feature at least sixteen teams, with at least two qualifiers per region. In addition to this, all teams playing in a Minor or Major will also earn DPC points. Just how much points each team will earn remains to be seen.

Finally, Minors and Majors for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit will have no direct invites. Every Dota 2 team will now have to qualify the hard way.

“The 2018 – 2019 season will no longer regulate player movement via hard roster locks”

2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit

Adding Roman ‘Resolut1on’ Fominok late in the season meant that VGJ.Storm had no chance to earn Qualifying Points despite winning a Minor and placing second in a Major. (Perfect World)

As mentioned earlier, for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, points will go to the teams or organizations instead of the players. In addition to this, teams will also have more leeway to try out different players next season. This is because teams no longer risk disqualifying themselves from the season leaderboards should they choose to swap out players in the middle of the competitive season. Of course, teams will still face penalties for breaking their designated five-man roster.

Every player removed from the roster reduces a team’s current point total by 20% while bringing in a new player will not affect a team’s point total in any way. Also, should a team qualify for a Pro Circuit event choose to make roster changes prior to the event itself, they face a penalty in the form of a 40% reduction of the total points they will earn for that particular event.

Finally, for next season, teams will no longer be able to change rosters once TI invites are out and the Qualifiers are about to start. However, teams are free to declare any substitutions after the Qualifiers for emergency purposes, subject to Valve’s approval.

“Team Ownership and Invites”

2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit

In addition to the main ViCi Gaming squad, the organization also has a few other rosters, including VGJ.Storm and VGJ.Thunder. (ViCi Gaming)

For next season, Valve has made it a point to make sure that only one team under a single owner or organization can compete at TI, as well as the TI Qualifiers. Multiple teams are still free to participate in the DPC, but only one can go to TI and the TI Qualifiers. Furthermore, this ruling “includes cases in which players have financial ties to other teams.”

Several major organizations stand to be affected by this, specifically, organizations part of the Association for Chinese Esports or ACE. Although, in general, this should be good for the scene as it gives smaller and newer organizations more incentive to join.

2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit Schedule

The 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit will start much earlier than last year. Instead of taking place later in September or October, the roster lock is set for September 15. This is just a mere three weeks after the end of The International 2018.

Judging by Valve’s proposed schedule, it’s near impossible to predict which tournament organizers will handle which event. Valve has also openly stated that they are still currently soliciting event proposals for the Majors and Minors, except for the November Major, which is already set in stone.

Regardless, if Valve’s proposal is to go by, next year will be huge. For example, Minors will go on for six days, while Majors will span nearly two weeks. While there’ll be some welcome clear distinction between Minors and Majors next season, there’s no doubt we’ll see some serious action at each event either way.

Here’s the schedule for next season:

NOVEMBER MAJOR

  • Major Qualifier — September 17 to September 21
  • Minor Qualifier — September 23 to September 26
  • Minor Event — October 29 to November 4
  • Major Event — November 8 to November 19

JANUARY MAJOR

  • Major Qualifier — November 26 to November 30
  • Minor Qualifier — December 1 to December 4
  • Minor Event — January 7 to January 13
  • Major Event —January 17 to January 27

MARCH MAJOR

  • Major Qualifier — February 1 to February 5
  • Minor Qualifier — February 7 to February 10
  • Minor Event — March 4 to March 10
  • Major Event — March 14 to March 24

MAY MAJOR

  • Major Qualifier — March 28 to April 1
  • Minor Qualifier — April 3 to April 6
  • Minor Event — April 22 to April 28
  • Major Event — May 2 to May 12

JUNE MAJOR

  • Major Qualifier — May 15 to May 19
  • Minor Qualifier — May 21 to May 24
  • Minor Event — June 10 to June 16
  • Major Event — June 20 to June 30

Final Thoughts

Valve pretty much hit the nail on the proverbial head with the changes to the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit. Instead of the chaotic scheduling we had this year, next year looks to be a lot better. Specifically, the notable distinction between Minors and Majors means a lot more to the growth of Dota 2’s competitive scene.

If there’s one thing that I’m not quite sure of as of yet, it’s Valve clamping down on single organizations having multiple teams. Expect this to get messy, especially in the lead up to The International 2019.

Either way, these all look like good, smart changes done for the betterment of Dota 2 as a whole.

What do you think of the changes for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit? Do you think Valve got everything right? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. 

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