The Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor set to kick off this weekend will serve as the fifth pro Circuit Minor of the year. It’s also the first time an international Dota 2 LAN tournament is set to take place in Macau. Of the nine teams, two — VGJ.Storm and EHOME — will be appearing in their first Pro Circuit LAN for the first time this season.
With the usual powerhouses — Newbee, Team Liquid, and Team Secret — already off on holiday, this is Virtus Pro’s to lose. However, there’s no telling just how well the team will perform with Ivan ‘Artstyle’ Antonov playing as a standin for Alexei ‘Solo‘ Berezin, who recently took a break from the team. Not to be discounted are sister teams, LGD Gaming and LGD.ForeverYoung, whose stacked lineups always make them major threats. Meanwhile, the other teams are strong contenders as well. This includes the four-time Major champions, OG, the surprise invites, EHOME, and the so-called Chinese Slayers, TNC Pro Team.
Having said that, we’ve got you covered about everything you need to know about where and why you should watch the Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) December 7, 2017
Three teams received a direct invite to the Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor; ESL Hamburg Champions, Virtus Pro; MDL 2017 Champions, LGD Gaming; EHOME, who received a third surprise invite thanks to Valve’s involvement. The six other teams then each made their way via their respective regional qualifiers.
Below is a complete list of all the Dota 2 teams who will play this weekend:
- Direct Invites — Virtus Pro, LGD Gaming, EHOME
- China — LFY
- North America — VGJ.Storm
- South America — Infamous
- Europe — OG
- CIS — Natus Vincere
- Southeast Asia — TNC Pro Team
Prize Pool and Format
Prize Pool: The Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor adheres to the guidelines Valve set for Pro Circuit tournaments earlier this year. It will feature a prize pool of $300,000 USD and 300 Qualifying Points.
The distribution is as follows:
- 1st Place — ?? / 150 QP
- 2nd Place — ?? / 90 QP
- 3rd-4th Place — ?? / 30 QP
Mars Media have yet to release information regarding the breakdown of the $300,000 prize pool.
- The Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor will kick things off with a BO1 round-robin group stage. For two days, each team will be playing for points. Only the top 4 point-getters will advance to the playoffs. The rest will be eliminated.
- The top seed can pick which of the 3rd/4th place team they want as their opponent in the semifinals. The 2nd seed will play the other.
- The playoffs will be a 4-team BO3 single-elimination bracket, lasting only for one day.
— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) December 2, 2017
Is this Virtus Pro’s tournament to lose? Most will likely say so. However, ever since winning the ESL One Hamburg Major back in November, the CIS bears have experienced a slight drop-off in performance. They remain formidable still, but they’re no longer as scary as they once were. To make matters worse, their captain, Solo, reportedly took a break off of the team after their early exit at the ROG DreamLeague Major. Although the team’s coach, Artstyle, is as formidable as a substitute as they come — Artstyle was the captain of Natus Vincere when they won the first International — we still have yet to see how his play will affect the rest of the team.
Of all the teams playing here, Virtus Pro have the least incentive to win. Even if they manage to win the Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor and The Summit 8 next week, they won’t overtake Team Secret for 1st place in the season standings. They’ve got little reason to try as well, especially since they’re set to play in another Major in January. However, it certainly can’t hurt their confidence to have at least one more Minor under their belt before the year ends.
Welcome home, DDC. It's showtime! pic.twitter.com/0wBhvbzWE0
— Mars Media (@MarsMedia) December 6, 2017
LFY literally remain the same team that took 3rd place at The International 7. They proved that to everyone with yet another 3rd place finish in their first Pro Circuit LAN at the Perfect World Masters. But, while they’re still one of the best Dota 2 teams in China, their performance so far this season only makes it fair to wonder if LFY have peaked or not. Although we may not know the answer to that question just yet, one thing can be sure of is that only a fool would bet against LFY.
— Natus Vincere (@natusvincere) December 7, 2017
After their lackluster showings at both the Starladder and PGL Minor, Natus Vincere have since picked up their play. November, in particular, was a big month for the black and yellow, as they renewed their classic rivalry with Virtus Pro, taking them down in the Grand Finals of the Adrenaline Cyber League and nearly spoiled Virtus Pro’s chances of qualifying for the ROG DreamLeague Major in the Regional Qualifiers. To add salt to the proverbial wound, Natus Vincere finished ahead of Virtus Pro in the main event of the ROG DreamLeague Major itself — Virtus Pro finished in 5th-6th place while Natus Vincere finished in 4th.
Natus Vincere may still lack the consistency of the top Dota 2 teams, but they are on their way to becoming one. If they win here, they’ll have taken one step closer to the realm of legitimate title contenders.
Dark Horse Contenders
— Mars Media (@MarsMedia) December 5, 2017
Unlike in other Pro Circuit tournaments where only one team or two come into the tournament as a question mark with huge upset potential, the Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor arguably has five.
LGD Gaming, despite their inconsistent performance so far this season, remain a major threat. The same goes for OG, who most likely will want to capitalize on the relatively shallow competition and next week at the Summit 8 Minor. VGJ.Storm are looking pretty scary as well, although they most likely will experience first-time jitters and will have to adjust to playing with Damien ‘Kpii‘ Chok as their position 1 carry. Meanwhile, TNC Pro Team, who will also be making their Pro Circuit LAN debut, have chemistry on their side and are probably full of confidence after winning the China Top 2017 LAN tournament two weeks ago.
It’s a very tight race between these five dark horse contenders and each of them are coming in with a lot to prove. This should only make the tournament all the more exciting to watch.
Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor
The fifth Minor of this year’s Dota Pro Circuit, the Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor will start tomorrow on December 8 and will end on December 10.
For more information, be sure to visit the tournament’s official website by clicking here.
Which team do you think will end up winning the Mars Dota 2 League Macau Minor? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.