Another full circle of Majors and Minors has come to an end. The 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) featured just ten tournaments in total, down from 22 in the previous season, and starting with the first Minor of the season, up to TI9 qualifiers, here is how the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit unfolded.
Oct 29 – Nov 4, 2018 DreamLeague Season 10 Minor where Tigers started strong and compLexity fell.
Hosted in a studio set-up, with no live audience, The Stockholm Minor was the first tournament of the DPC season and it featured seven teams that failed in the Major qualifiers, plus Vega Squadron who were relocating for the first time into the European region.
Vega’s arrival to the Minor was an adventure itself. The team did not qualify for the Minor, but got lucky when Team Liquid withdrew from the tournament. Mango Bay, the team next in line eligible to replace Liquid according to the results of the European qualifiers, was already disbanded, so the fourth-placed team got a ticket to the first Minor of the season. Team Lithium were quickly signed by Vega Squadron who failed in the CIS regionals and that’s how their adventure in the 2018-19 season truly began.
However, those are not even the biggest events related to the DL Season 10 Minor. The tournament started in a GSL group stage format and two teams stood above everyone else. compLexity Gaming finished first in Group A with an undefeated run, while Tigers took the first placed in Group B dropping just one game. The playoffs brought the first big drama of the season. At the beginning of the upper bracket semi-finals coL versus Royal Never Give Up, Rolen Andrei “Skemberlu” Ong typed in the All Chat “GL” followed by a derogatory term against the Chinese team. The incident sparked a long trail of discussions in the professional scene and lead to nearly the entire compLexity Gaming roster falling apart.
coL tried to keep the situation under control and announced even before the day was over in Sweden that Skem will receive a fine for his words.
Nonetheless, a few weeks later, when another player used the same derogatory term, and the drama intensified, Skem’s time with coL came to an end. “There’s been some concerns over recent events that he’s not going to be representing our brand in the right way,” said Kyle Bautista, general Manager at compLexity Gaming when it was announced that Skem was benched while Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao, and Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu left the team at their own request.
From there on, the DPC season became a hustle for both coL and EE-sama, who ironically was the one to approach coL in the post TI8 shuffle, and was the one who brought Skem to the coL house. The information was delivered in a video announcement where Joshua Schmidt, the team manager at that time, explained how the roster came together.
Unfortunately, the mistake made by Skem at his very first LAN tournament had a bigger impact on coL, who through all the season struggled to rebuild the team, to find players that would not have to deal with infinite Visa issues, while also losing their manager, who decided to leave the esports scene as a whole. “After a break, and a lot of thinking, I made the decision to leave my job at coL and continue down a new path elsewhere. This decision was made for personal reasons, and I felt it necessary to step away in order to regain and improve my mental and physical health. I had lost touch with the happy, friendly, curious Josh of the past, and I need to go find him again,” said Josh in a TwitLonger post mid-January 2019.
coL, Envy and Skem ended the season without qualifying for The International 2019. At the same time, the DreamLeague Season 10 Champions, Tigers have also had an eventful season with a lot of roster swaps leading to an inevitable full disbandment.
Tigers took the spoils in Sweden and went to the Kuala Lumpur Major on the back of their victory. However, the team started to slowly fall apart.
Not many details were given at the time and the fans hoped for a recovery when Danil “Dendi” Ishutin and Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung joined the team. Tigers haven’t qualified for any other DPC tournament and after the TI9 qualifiers were over, one of their former members, David “MoonMeander” Tan opened up on Twitter and said that the organization hasn’t paid the players for their Minor Championship victory, nor the prize from the Kuala Lumpur Major.
In the following days we will continue to disect the 2018-2019 DPC season and take a look at some of the defining moments for the teams and players who fought this year for a ticket to TI9, so, stay tuned!