The Kuala Lumpur Major Regional Qualifier invites are finally in and it seems that we’re in for quite the bloodbath a week from now.
Nearly a week after the first Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit was announced, more details regarding the tournament have finally emerged. In particular, we now know which teams we’ll see having to go through the gauntlet that is the open qualifiers and which ones have a slightly easier road ahead of them after receiving a direct invite to the regional qualifiers.
Since it’s still the start of the season, most teams are headed into the qualifiers with a fresh slate. This means past performance was very likely less of a determining factor. Instead, they were likely based on a combination of their popularity and the projected strength of their lineups.
Having said that, we’re going to be in for quite the wild ride next weekend with every team, from established teams like Team Liquid and PSG.LGD to newly-formed stacks such as Shangri-LA — made up of former OpTic Gaming members plus former Team Secret members Marcus ‘Ace‘ Hoelgaard and Adrian ‘Fata‘ Trinks — required to battle their way from the qualifiers to secure their berths in the first Major of the season.
No Free Invites This Time Around
As you may have noticed, only the Kuala Lumpur Major Regional Qualifier invites were announced. There were no details regarding direct invites to the event itself. That’s not a mistake. That’s actually going to be the norm for the new season.
As per Valve, every team, regardless of popularity, strength, and past accomplishments will have to qualify via the regional qualifiers. The closest a team will receive a direct invite this time around will be to the regional qualifiers. This means no one’s going to be complaining about a team getting a free invite to the event this season; all slots are fair game and every team will have to do their best if they want to take out the more established names.
In total, 16 slots for the Kuala Lumpur Major are up for grabs, with each of the six competitive regions guaranteed at least two slots each. The other three splits are split into three separate regions according to Valve’s discretion. This time, Europe, China, and North America, were the ones to receive an additional qualifier slot.
Finally, the last and sixteenth slot will go to the winners of the still-unannounced Minor, scheduled weeks before the Major.
With the Kuala Lumpur Major Regional Qualifier invites finally in, it’s only fair to wonder what happened as to why the defending champions weren’t on the list.
Surely, OG deserved the nod over a talented, albeit unproven stack, like Shangri-la, right?
As it turns out, OG were the ones to decline.
As explained by PGL on Twitter:
Why exactly OG declined an invite to the regional qualifiers is up for debate. OG have yet to release a public statement themselves. However, it is safe to assume that OG will want to take a rest first. After all, they haven’t had more than a month yet to enjoy their win at TI8. They probably are taking their sweet time first, knowing all too well what they are capable of once the team is raring to go.
It is also possible that OG will attend ESL One Hamburg 2018 (October 26-28) instead. Though a non-DPC tournament, ESL One Hamburg 2018 will feature a $500,000 USD prize pool. That’s a sizable amount of money that’s hard to turn down just like that, especially if a team receives a direct invite to the main event, which OG will most likely get based on their standing as the defending champions.
Either way, according to recent estimates, all it takes to secure a direct invite to TI9 is winning one of the five Majors. Considering OG are no strangers to winning when it counts the most — they’re the winningest team in Dota 2 history with 4 Major titles and 1 TI — they at least deserve the benefit of the doubt.
Now that the Kuala Lumpur Major Regional Qualifier invites are in, we can finally prepare for what’s to come ahead.
In particular, it’ll be exciting to see how teams like Team Liquid, who haven’t played in regional qualifiers in over a year, adjust to the new competitive system and how they deal with having to play against teams of varying skill levels.
Which of the Kuala Lumpur Major Regional Qualifier invites are you most excited to see? Do you think we’ll see a lot of upsets happen at the regional qualifiers? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.