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The glaring issue with the new Dota Pro Circuit format

With every regional DPC league except for China having completed their first season, some glaring problems with the system seem to be surfacing.

Things like players getting kicked right after qualifying for the Major and the incredibly hard road to qualifying for TI. Many fans and pro players have been highlighting these problems in the past few days. What is going on exactly?

JaCkky’s pizza party

Back in 2018, after qualifying for ESL ONE Katowice, the south-east-asian Team Fnatic celebrated with an amazing pizza party. However for Khoo “Ohaiyo” Chong Xin this party wasn’t very fun. During this party his teammates would tell him that he was getting kicked from the team and that his replacement had already arrived in malaysia where the team was situated. In fact, Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao and the rest of his teammates already knew about this before they even played their last match. A grueling BO5 series up against TNC. The match that got them the 3-2 victory securing their qualification for ESL ONE Katowice. A match that Ohaiyo worked so hard for , but he was being rewarded with a quick exit.

Ever since, the pizza party meme has been a staple of Dota 2 culture. If your team tells you they are going to have a pizza party, you might want to start packing. Now, two years later, the SEA region still sees the same thing happening. Because right after securing themselves the wild card slot for the coming major, T1 kicked their carry player Souliya “JaCkky” Khoomphetsavong, leaving the young cambodian with nothing.

Even though this feels like a very unfair situation, according to Valve’s own DPC rules there are no problems at all with this approach. As the FAQ about the DPC states:

Can a team remove a player after qualifying to a major?
“Yes. However, a team that removes a player after securing a slot at a major, will have a 20% deduction to the points obtained during that event in addition to the normal penalty.”

The normal penalty being the 20% of DPC points they will lose from their already earned points. Which is the penalty a team receives for removing a player in general. So unfair as it may feel, this is entirely by design. Valve might want to revisit these rules, since it really doesn’t feel that fair to most fans and especially JaCkky.

Open Qualifiers

There is another reason why this situation feels even more unfair right now. Because previously, you could always show that you were good enough for TI, simply by winning the Open Qualifiers. Yet, this is the first season where these will not exist. Instead the only open qualifiers that do exist are for the lower divisions of regional leagues.

This means that to earn DPC points and to have shot at TI, you need to go through at least the whole season of the lower division regional league. For a player like JaCkky this means that if he were to make an entirely new team, it would take him two whole seasons to even start earning DPC points again. Making it virtually impossible for him to catch up with other teams and get to TI.

Transfer Season

Everybody obviously remembers OG’s Cinderella story of starting in the open qualifiers, and ending up winning 2018’s International. There is however no way a similar story will take place with the next International. Simply because there are no open qualifiers this season. It does mean that the coming weeks will be very exciting in terms of roster speculation however. Starting April 11th teams are no longer allowed to add players to their roster for the 2nd season of the DPC, the season that leads directly into TI.

Also read: Dota 2 star ppd and Sadboys part ways, won’t compete in Season 2

With players like Sumail, Ana and Ramzes being free agents right now, we might see some very exciting transfers coming up in the future. If you are not in a DPC team on April 11th, there is no way to qualify for The International and starting April 6th, teams are not even allowed to kick players anymore. It’s a system not everybody agrees with, but it’s definitely different and spectacular. Especially if you consider that next TI is probably going to have an even more ridiculous prizepool than any International of the past. Since there is still a lot of money left from the last TI that didn’t happen, we will probably be blessed with a prizepool around $40 million.

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Image Credit: Valve


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