Your Guide to the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018

Much like previous Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018, the 2018 instalment is going to be just as big. But, unlike in years past, Valve has given it a much-deserved Major certification. This should up the ante for the sixteen Dota 2 teams playing in the first ever Major this season to have as many teams fight in a round robin group stage and double elimination playoffs — the ideal format for most people.

With so much at stake, it’s only fitting that the competitive field is looking strong as well. The top eight teams on the season leaderboards save for Natus Vincere are playing in the tournament. The triumvirate of Team Secret, Virtus.Pro and Team Liquid are all in full form right now; Team Secret are fresh off a win at DreamLeague Season 9 while Virtus.Pro are likely looking to extend their Majors winning streak to three in a row. As for Team Liquid, the reigning TI champions will welcome back a rejuvenated Amer ‘Miracle‘ Al-Barkawi.

The rest of the field should not be underestimated, though. Especially the Chinese teams. The DAC is usually when the hometown teams start gearing up for TI and all six of them are no doubt raring to go. This is especially true for LGD Gaming, who are heading into the tournament sporting a 15-0 record in online qualifiers, with wins against VGJ.Thunder and ViCi Gaming.

With at least five more confirmed Majors to go before the end of the season, look to the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 to be the starting point for teams who are looking to turn their seasons around and get a direct invite to The International 8.

The Stakes

The Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 will kick off a stretch of five Majors and two Minors in a span of roughly around two months. Also known as The Oriental and considered by many as the East’s version of The International, DAC 2018 will offer a prize pool of $1 million USD along with 1,500 Qualifying Points.

Of the sixteen teams playing in the tournament, Virtus.Pro are the only ones already guaranteed a direct invite to The International 8. The rest are still fighting for a shot at this year’s TI. Although at this point, it will be a huge upset of Team Secret and Team Liquid don’t make it given how many points they already have.

Anyone interested in watching the tournament can watch it live at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, or for free via VODs or live streaming via Twitch and the Dota 2 client.

Competing Teams

The Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 will see sixteen of the best Dota 2 teams from around the globe butt heads. Six of the participating teams received direct invites, including the struggling Invictus Gaming squad, who will look to try and defend their 2017 title after not appearing in a single Pro Circuit LAN all season long. The rest had to make their way via their respective Regional Qualifiers.

The complete lineup of the participating teams are as follows:

Direct Invites: Invictus Gaming (China); Team Liquid (Europe); Newbee (China); Team Secret (Europe); Virtus.Pro (CIS); ViCi Gaming (China).

Qualifiers: Mineski (Southeast Asia); TNC Pro Team (Southeast Asia); Keen Gaming (China); LGD Gaming (China); VGJ.Thunder (China); OG (Europe); Effect (CIS); Evil Geniuses (North America); OpTic Gaming (North America); paiN Gaming (South America).

Format and Prize Pool

Prize Pool: 1 million USD and 1,500 Qualifying Points.

Distribution will be as follows:
1st Place — 750 Qualifying Points
2nd Place —  450 Qualifying Points
3rd Place — 225 Qualifying Points
4th Place — 75 Qualifying Points

Group Stages: The sixteen teams are split into two groups of eight teams each. Each team will play each other in a best-of-one round robin. The top two teams from each group will advance to the playoffs of the main event, while the bottom two will be eliminated. The rest (third to sixth-place teams) will then be matched up in a best-of-three single-elimination bracket prior to the playoffs.

Playoffs: The remaining eight teams will play each other in a double-elimination bracket. The first two rounds of the lower bracket will be best-of-one. The rest will be best-of-three except for the Grand Finals, which will be a best-of-five.

The Heavy Favourites

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018

Virtus.Pro have won three out of the past four Majors of 2017-18 Pro Circuit and are looking like the heavy favourites to take home yet another title at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 (Virtus.Pro)

Virtus.Pro

Virtus.Pro are back-to-back Major winners and three-time Major champions. Two of their Major titles came after adding Vladimir ‘RodjER‘ Nikogosyan to their roster and there’s no doubt that more time with the ESL One Katowice 2018 MVP has only made the team better. Case in point, the Russians (+1 Ukrainian) handily won WESG 2017 with Igor ‘iLTW‘ Filatov standing in for Vladimir ‘No[o]ne‘ Minenko, and the CIS bears are easily better with the 20-year-old Ukrainian manning their middle lanes (no offence to iLTW).

The only problem right now for Virtus.Pro is complacency now that they’ve already secured an invite to TI8. But, if they can remain as hungry as a bear preparing to hibernate during the winter, then the sky is the limit for this team.

Team Secret

The back-to-back DreamLeague champions are back. Weeks after playing less to their usual standards, Team Secret have finally regained their form and just in time for the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018. Clement ‘Puppey‘ Ivanov’s draft game has been on point so far, while Yazied ‘YapzOr‘ Jaradat is just as greedy as ever. Between those two, the versatility of Marcus ‘Ace‘ Hoelgaard and the malleability of their three cores, Team Secret will be a tough matchup regardless of who they’ll go up against in the tournament.

Team Liquid

Where Team Secret and to some extent, Virtus.Pro, are fresh off huge wins at Pro Circuit tournaments, Team Liquid are just fresh. Yes. Fresh. But that just might be enough of a boost to help give the reigning TI champions their first ever Major title in team history. Mind you, Team Liquid have been scary good. They have yet to finish outside of the Top 4 of a tournament in a year. But whether it was the grind of the long season or from teams studying them to patch or a combination of both, Team Liquid just have not looked as dominant in recent weeks.

Here’s to hoping that a fresh and rejuvenated Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi will change all of that.

The Storylines to Watch Out For

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018

The face of LGD Gaming, Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao will look to lead his team to another deep run at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 (Starladder)

The Rise of LGD Gaming

For those who’ve been keeping up with the online qualifier matches, you’ll know just how good LGD Gaming have been over the past few weeks. As mentioned earlier, they are 15-0 heading into the tournament with a 24-6 record overall in March alone. Sure, most of their wins have come via the Online Qualifiers, but that’s not exactly a knock on them. The Chinese Regional Qualifiers are easily the most competitive Regional Qualifiers. To come out on top of them (and in such fashion) is a good sign that LGD Gaming are in for a deep run.

If there’s one team that’s currently outside of the top eight of the season leaderboards that’s set to make a huge splash in the weeks ahead it’s LGD Gaming. They almost always take things up a notch just before TI, and the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 might just be where they make their statement.

What’s Up With OG?

Kicking Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok certainly hasn’t made the team any better, and they have yet to announce his replacement. Do they plan on sticking with Sébastien ‘7ckingMad‘ Debs as their mid player? If so, why? Gustav ‘s4‘ Magnusson obviously still has the chops to play mid and there should be a young offlaner available out there *cough* Maurice ‘KheZu‘ Gutmann *cough*.

Either way, OG are playing at the Dota 2 Asia Championships with 7ckingMad, which doesn’t bode well for their chances. They need an explosive core that can soak up space and carry them, much like what Anathan ‘ana‘ Pham and Miracle- did for them. Resolut1on was supposed to be that guy, but we all know how well that turned out.

On a related note, wouldn’t it be funny if Resolut1on, who will stand-in for Effect at the tournament, ends up carrying his team to a Top 4 finish or at least, a higher placement than OG?

Just How Good are Evil Geniuses and opTic Gaming?

Evil Geniuses ripped through GESC Indonesia like it was nothing. Then, just a few days later, they lost to the likes of VGJ.Storm and OpTic Gaming. Such losses shouldn’t be happening. Not this far into the season and especially not for a team of such a supposed calibre as Evil Geniuses. Those losses cast some serious doubt over Evil Geniuses’ chances of making a strong showing at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018.

The same goes for OpTic Gaming, who looked poised to take North America’s slot for the MDL Changsha Major all for themselves after beating Evil Geniuses and yet they also lost to a VGJ.Storm squad that have yet to make a Pro Circuit LAN appearance this season.

Which Dota 2 teams do you think will come out on top at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. 

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