Starladder and ImbaTV are kicking off 2019 with a bang in the form of the Chongqing Major 2019.
Just a few months after the Kuala Lumpur Major, and nearly half a year after The International 2018, Dota 2 is set to take center stage once again, this time at the biggest inland city in China, Chongqing.
This Saturday, the event will kick off with the group stages, with the playoffs starting soon after. There are plenty of returning faces this time around more, but plenty more who are just making their DPC debut. Paired with a whopping $1 million prize pool and an even more important 15,000 DPC points on the line, teams will surely be giving it their all as they try to win the second Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit.
So, who are playing? What is at stake? How much is on the line? What storylines should we pay close attention to?
Read on more below to find out.
What is the Chongqing Major 2019? How Much is at Stake?
There is no bigger event in Dota 2 than The International, both in terms of scope and prize pool. However, ever since 2015, Valve have expanded their tournament profile and are now backing tournaments outside of Seattle, providing half of the prize pool to organizers who they deem worthy of hosting such a prestigious event. They first started with nine “Majors” for the inaugural 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit, followed by five for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit.
Thus far, there have been two Major events this season. The first was the Kuala Lumpur Major back in November and now, the Chongqing Major 2019.
Despite different tournament organizers handling the events, each have consistently remained one of the most anticipated tournaments of the year, both due to their scale and the $1 million prize pool.
The Chongqing Major 2019, which will take place at the BLOOMAGE Cultural and Sports Center, will feature sixteen elite teams competing against each other over the period of more than one week, with coverage on para with anything that traditional sports broadcasts have to offer.
Those interested can watch the tournament live at the venue, or stream it on Twitch and in the Dota 2 client for free.
Who Are Playing at the Chongqing Major 2019?
Starting with the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, Valve decided to revamp the way tournament participants are decided. Completely doing away with direct invites, any tournament that’s part of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit is now required to allot a minimum number of slots to each of the six competitive regions — two for Majors and one for Minor.
To which regions the tournament or organizers will give thee extra slots to is completely up to their discretion.
Here are all of the teams that qualified for the event:
- Team Liquid (Europe)
- Team Secret (Europe)
- Alliance (Europe)
- The Pango (CIS)
- Virtus.Pro (CIS)
- Team Aster (China)
- Vici Gaming (China)
- PSG.LGD (China)
- Fnatic (Southeast Asia)
- TNC Predator (Southeast Asia)
- J.Storm (North America)
- Forward Gaming (North America)
- Evil Geniuses (North America)
- Chaos Esports Club (South America)
- Thunder Predator (South America)
Finally, the last team to complete the 16-team lineup of the Chongqing Major 2019 is EHOME, who won the recently-concluded Bucharest Minor.
As you can see from the list of teams, it includes a number of known names, and a lot more who are making their DPC LAN debuts for the first time this season. This includes the likes of The Pango and Thunder Predator, as well as EHOME. The team, Chaos Esports Club, is made up of former members of the paiN Gaming organization.
Unfortunately, a number of teams also failed to make the list. This includes the reigning TI8 champions, OG, as well as other notable teams such as Ninjas in Pyjamas and Natus Vincere, among others.
What is the Format for the Chongqing Major 2019? How Much Is At Stake?
As is typical with another Major tournament by now, the Chongqing Major 2019 is broken up into two parts: the group stages and a 16-team double-elimination playoff bracket.
Similar to the Kuala Lumpur Major, the Chongqing Major 2019 will play out the group stages the same way. The 16 teams tournament will be divided into four groups of four and will play best-of-three series against their group mates. The way the format is structured will result into one team going 2-0, two teams tied for 1-1, and and the last one going 0-2. The two teams with tied scores will play another best-of-three to determine the seeding for the playoffs, or “main event”.
After the group stages, the 16 teams will face off in a double-elimination tournament, contested in best-of-three series. However, the first round of the lower bracket will be contested in best-of-one while the grand finals will be played as a best-of-five.
As stipulated by Valve, the prize pool breakdown will follow that of the previous Majors.
- 1st Place — $350,000 / 4,950 points
- 2nd Place — $170,000 / 3,000 points
- 3rd Place — $100,000 / 2,100 points
- 4th Place — $80,000 / 1,350 points
- 5th-6th Place — $60,000 / 900 points
- 7th-8th Place — $40,000 / 450 points
- 9th-12th Place — $15,000 / 150 points
- 13th-16th place — $10,000 / 75 points
Who are the Favourites to Win the Chongqing Major 2019?
As per the outright betting odds courtesy of 10bet, five teams are currently heavily favoured to win the Chongqing Major 2019, with a sixth not too far behind.
Tied for the highest odds are the powerhouses, Team Secret, and Virtus.Pro at 5.00 odds (bet $100 to win $500). Each team have had a successful showing so far, with the former already winning two LAN tournaments and a runner-up finish in at least one Major. The latter, of course, is the reason why Team Secret aren’t firmly on top, taking out their European rivals in a tit-for-tat series that lasted all the way to a Game 5 in the Grand Finals of the Kuala Lumpur Major.
The International 2018 runner-ups, PSG.LGD, are close behind at 6.00 odds, and are tied with Team Liquid. However, of the two, Team Liquid’s status as heavy favourites seem to be on a limbo. After all, they’ll be missing the services of their superstar core player, Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi. Meanwhile, PSG.LGD are finally complete, with their coach, Yao ‘QQQ‘ Yi, finally back after a long vacation.
In third place are Vici Gaming (8.00 odds), who boast arguably the most talented core duo in the world in the form of Zhang ‘Paparazi‘ Chengjun and Zeng ‘Ori‘ Jiaoyang, followed by Evil Geniuses’ (10.00 odds) superstar lineup consisting of some of the best collection of talent that the west has to offer.
All eyes will be on these five teams making it at least to the Grand Finals. Any less will be considered a disappointment.
All odds courtesy of 10bet.
Which Teams Are Worth Keeping an Eye On?
While most people will likely be looking at the heavy favourites, there are a handful of teams playing at the Chongqing Major 2019 that have the potential to make a deep run, if not take the title for themselves.
Chief among them is EHOME, who recently won the Bucharest Minor. Although fatigue is likely going to be a huge factor, the Chongqing Major 2019 is a long tournament. Not to mention, they’ll be playing in home turf, which lessens the adjustment period for the team. Boasting a relatively young lineup coached by the TI4 champion Zhang ‘xiao8‘ Ning and with two TI6 winners in Yang ‘y`‘ Yiping and Zhang ‘Faith_bian‘ Ruida, EHOME, who are at 14.00 odds to win according to 10bet, are definitely a sleeper pick to take the tournament.
Two other teams worth paying close attention to are Alliance (49.00 odds) and J.Storm (35.00 odds).
Although relatively unproven compared to the more established teams, these two boast considerable talent in their lineups. In particular, J.Storm recently picked up Clinton ‘Fear‘ Loomis, which adds a calming presence to the team.
Placing in 9th-12th place at the Kuala Lumpur Major, expect these two teams to finish higher at the Chongqing Major 2019. Who knows? They might even win it all. After all, we’ve seen stranger things and bigger underdogs win a title.
In a way, the Chongqing Major 2019 will serve as a warm-up to The International 2019. If all goes well, then we’ll have nothing to worry about the mega-event in Shanghai later in August of this year.
Hopefully, any hiccups the tournament will encounter now will serve as a mistake that Valve can learn from for Dota 2’s biggest event come summer time.
Which team do you think will win the Chongqing Major 2019? Do you think we will see yet another Cinderella run from an unlikely team? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.