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ESL One Birmingham preview: schedule, format and teams

The final standard DPC Major is kicking off this week — here’s what you need to know

ESL | Jeroen Weimar

My, how the time goes by. The second to last Major in the Dota Pro Circuit is here, and like any other major, there’s a lot at stake. It’s the last tournament with the standard Major payout, with $1 million in the purse and 1500 Qualifying Points awaiting the teams.

While the cash prize is once again large enough to turn heads, for pro teams, it’s the points for a top four finish that count. After all, it’s the final stretch in the road to The International 8, and all of these teams are hoping to get a slice of a growing prize pool that has already reached over $10 million.

And with only twelve teams, this sprint appears easy — but with two of the TI8-qualified teams and five of the eight still in the clear, it’s going to be an intense race.

If you don’t want to miss the action, we’ve got a schedule so you know when to tune in.


Official Stream: ESL One stream hub —

Prizes: The prize pool will be $1 million USD with 1500 Qualifying Points at stake, in proportion to the cash prize. Point distribution and cash prizes for teams that earn points will be as follows:

  • 1st Place — 750 Qualifying Points/player; $500,000 team prize
  • 2nd Place — 450 QP/player; $200,000 team prize
  • 3rd Place — 225 QP/player; $100,000 team prize
  • 4th Place — 75 QP/player; $60,000 team prize

If you’re still a bit confused about how the Pro Circuit will work, check out our primer about the Valve-sanctioned tournament series.

Competition Format: This event’s group stages will be “GSL,” a double-elimination format, followed by a single-elimination playoff stage.

  1. In the Group Stages, there will be three groups of four.
  2. Each team will play another in their group.
  3. The winners of the initial match play each other for first seed, while the losers of the initial match meet for an elimination match.
  4. After the second set of games, the two remaining teams meet for a second-seed match. The winner of this match is second seed of the group, and the loser is eliminated.
  5. The top seed of each group meets for a best-of-one to determine seeding in the bracket. The top two advance to Semi-Finals, and the last drops to Quarter-Finals.
  6. Playoffs continue in a best-of-three single-elimination bracket, including a Third Place Decider match, until a best-of-five Grand Finals.

On Sunday, there will be the Third Place Decider match, followed by the Grand Finals, so it’ll certainly be the day to catch.


Group A:

  • Evil Geniuses (North America, Qualifiers)
  • Fnatic (Southeast Asia, Qualifiers; replacing Happy Feet due to visa issues)
  • Team Spirit (Commonwealth of Independent States, Qualifiers*
  • Virtus.Pro (Commonwealth of Independent States, Qualifiers)

Group B:

  • OG Dota (Europe, Qualifiers)
  • Team Liquid (Europe, Direct Invite)
  • Vici Gaming (China, Direct Invite)

Group C:

  • LGD.Forever Young (China, Qualifier)
  • Mineski (Southeast Asia, Direct Invite)
  • Newbee (China, Direct Invite)
  • OpTic Gaming (North America, Qualifier)

*Replacement for Natus Vincere, which could not attend due to a team shuffle


Note: Times are approximate and are subject to change as games run longer or shorter.

Wednesday, May 23 Group Stages Day 1

  • 10:30 AM BST (5:30 AM ET) — Pre-Show
  • 11:00 AM BST (6:00 AM ET) — Group A Initial Matches [Bo1]
    Virtus.Pro vs Team Spirit
    Fnatic vs Evil Geniuses
  • 12:10 PM BST (7:10 AM ET) — Group B Initial Matches [Bo1]
    Team Liquid vs Pain Gaming
    OG Dota vs Vici Gaming
  • 1:10 PM BST (8:10 AM ET) — Group C Initial Matches [Bo1]
    Mineski vs LGD.FY
    OpTic Gaming vs Newbee
  • 2:30 PM BST (9:30 AM ET) — Group A Continued [Bo3]
    Winner Match
    Elimination Match
  • 6:00 PM BST (1:00 PM ET) — Group B Continued [Bo3]
    Winner Match
    Elimination Match
  • 9:30 PM BST (4:30 PM ET) — Group B Continued [Bo3]
    Winner Match
    Elimination Match

Thursday, May 24 Group Stages Day 2

  • 10:30 AM BST (5:30 AM ET)
    Playoffs Decider Match 1
  • 2:30 PM BST (9:30 AM ET)
    Playoffs Decider Match 2
  • 6:30 PM BST (1:30 PM ET)
    Playoffs Decider Match 3

Friday, May 25 Playoffs Day 1

  • 1:25 PM BST (7:25 AM ET)
    Stream starts (Preshow)
  • 2:00 PM BST (8:00 AM ET)
    Quarterfinal #1
  • 5:50 PM BST (12:50 PM ET)
    Quarterfinal #2

Saturday, May 26 Playoffs Day 2

  • 1:25 PM BST (7:25 AM ET)
    Stream starts (Preshow)
  • 2:00 PM BST (8:00 AM ET)
    Semifinal #1
  • 5:50 PM BST (12:50 PM ET)
    Semifinal #2

Sunday, May 23 Playoffs Day 3

  • 10:30 AM BST (5:30 AM ET)
    Stream starts (Preshow)
  • 11:05 PM BST
    Third place decider match
  • 3:00 PM BST (10:00 AM ET)
    Grand Finals [best of five]