Poland’s First Major Dota 2 Tournament Since 2013
Poland is hosting its first significant Dota 2 tournament in five years this week. Sixteen teams, including eight directly invited by ESL, will compete over six days at ESL One Katowice. The tournament will conclude with the main event at Spodek Arena on Feb. 24 and 25. ESL’s “brackets from the start” format, previously seen at ESL One Genting, will determine the outcome of the tournament.
$1 million dollars in prize money and 1,500 Pro Circuit points are up for grabs in Katowice. These Pro Circuit points are particularly important as the current season is almost halfway over. All the teams at Katowice will be playing their best, striving for invites to The International 8 later this year. Squads like OG and LGD Gaming, who are on the verge of the cutoff point, will be particularly eager. Meanwhile, top tier teams like Team Liquid and Virtus Pro will also be aiming to solidify their positions at the top.
Main Event Headliners
Out of the eight directly invited teams, four are world-class lineups that can easily win premier events. TI7 champions Team Liquid are still at their peak and show no signs of slowing down. Virtus Pro, already one of the strongest teams globally, will benefit from the addition of new recruit Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan. Fresh off their victory at ESL One Genting, Newbee enters the tournament with high spirits and great momentum. Above all these teams, Team Secret stands as the current leaders in terms of Pro Circuit qualification points. They have been performing exceptionally well in recent tournaments, boasting an impressive Pro Circuit resume.
Following the Leaders
The other four invited teams are also top tier, but have been less successful in recent tournaments. Fan favorites Evil Geniuses have not won a single Pro Circuit event this season, and their teamwork and execution have been lacking. Mineski had a strong start to the season but has since fallen off. Vici Gaming and Natus Vincere complete the list of invited teams. Vici Gaming had two Pro Circuit grand final appearances against Secret and Liquid, both going to five games. Natus Vincere, as the most popular team in Dota 2 history, always has fan support.
Going Through the Gauntlet
In the field of eight qualifier teams, OG, compLexity Gaming, LGD Gaming, Fnatic, and OpTic Gaming stand out as potential challengers to the top teams. compLexity and LGD have performed well in recent regional qualifiers. OG has a strong carry player, Resolut1on, who has proven himself in past tournaments. Fnatic and OpTic will need to bring their best performances to Katowice, as they have had mediocre results in the Pro Circuit thus far.
The remaining three teams, Infamous, Effect, and Kinguin, are considered underdogs and face an uphill battle. They are not expected to make it far in the tournament.
ESL One Katowice begins tomorrow with Team Liquid vs Effect at 6am ET. You can catch the action through ESL One’s official livestreaming site or on their Facebook page.