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Dreamleague announces Season 8 as Valve Major; addresses format, region criticisms

Dota 2 fans feel that the tournament skirted some rules about open qualifiers—more harshly in one region than another.

Dreamleague, the Dota 2 league that runs through the fall 2017 season, has announced their 8th season, plus that their league will be qualified as a Major. As the Valve sponsorship implies, according to their guidelines, the prize pool sits at over $1 million, with a LAN finals scheduled at Dreamhack Winter.

The league organizers have also confirmed at least one team from each Dota 2 qualifier region will attend the LAN finals. The attendance of the Dreamhack Winter event will be as follows:

  • 1 China
  • 4 CIS/EU; top four of merged Round Robin round may attend. If the top four does not include a EU and CIS team respectively, the top from that region will attend in lieu of the fourth place team.
  • 1 North America
  • 1 Southeast Asian
  • 1 South America

Organizers released a graphic explainer of the league’s execution, including the qualifiers’ bracket formats:

The league is further explained on their official site.

Regional restlessness

Questions arose regarding regional formats upon the announcement of the league, which showed the American and European regions as merged.

The primary concern regarding this rule is one that’s become more prominent over the last year with the introduction of South American qualifiers for Valve’s Kiev Major, plus The International. The Major/Minor system requires tournaments to have an open qualifier for each of the six regions, respectively: Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States, Southeast Asia, China, North America, and South America. With the introduction of NA and SA qualifiers, players in SA highlighted the issue of ping that would occur in merging the two regions into “Americas,” as tournaments have often done.

The format of Dreamleague S8 made it appear otherwise, once again merging the two regions into “Americas,” and doing the same for CIS and EU. This drew ire especially regarding the Americas region due to ping, aside from the perceived rule-breaking, or at least loophole abuse, taking place. For this reason, South America has been given its own qualifier region, with identical formats to North America, China and Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, the CIS/EU qualifier was seen as a relative non-issue, due to the regions sharing nearby servers. Due to the regional requirement of “one per region,” though, it appears Dreamleague have at least clarified (if not altered) the formats to ensure that at least one EU and one CIS team makes an appearance at the finals.

In this case, the top four teams from the qualifiers will be considered. However, if there is not at least one EU and one CIS team in the top four, the fourth place team will be swapped out in favor of the top team from the other respective region.

Europe-CIS priority

While Dreamleague has technically addressed the issues with the regional allowances via Valve’s guidelines, one other question still lingered for many: Why does EU/CIS get more slots? The region has been given four slots, while each other region has been given one.

Team Liquid claiming victory at Dreamleague Season 6.
Dreamleague Official Site

The organization itself is European, which is only one of their justifications. According to their page:

We also believe that DreamHack is primarily based in Europe, so to cater more heavily to EU and CIS makes sense, while Chinese and American operators will cater more to those regions.

Dreamleague has always prioritized European teams in past seasons. For Dreamhack Atlanta’s event in July, three out of the four slots available were European, and seven out of eight of Season 6’s League teams were European (the eighth was Team NP from NA).

Regional bias is not uncommon in Dota 2 events, either, as events that focus on local teams will often invite more players from that area. Dota 2 Asia Championships leaned towards Chinese presence, with six out of the twelve teams hailing from China. The Manila Masters also had a massive local league spanning multiple local cafes and two months leading up to their Philippines Qualifiers. Such events may see notable shifts, though, with the implementation of the Major/Minors system.