Valve announced yesterday the final technical details of the new 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC).
It’s been confirmed with Valve’s official announcement what we learnt a few weeks ago when we reported that the next season will feature 12 teams qualified to The International 2019 via DPC points, with the rest of the six slots being reserved for regional qualifiers, one slot per main region (EU, CIS, SEA, China, NA, SA).
— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) September 5, 2018
The biggest news coming from Valve last night is the amount of points allocated to the tournaments part of the Pro Circuit. Majors will be worth a total of 15,000 points while Minors will have just 500 points to offer in total. There is also another important spin to the previous season, a measure that is also meant to help the lower tier squads.
Minors are not qualifying a team to TI, but they do qualify you to Majors
In their FAQ list Valve states:
Can teams qualify for both the Minor and the Major?
No, only teams that have not qualified for the Major can compete in the Minor qualifiers.
In other words, not only that they lowered the Minors points allocation into oblivion in order to make sure that nobody gets the funky idea that it is worth grinding Minors to secure one of the 12 invites to TI9, but they actually forbid all the teams qualified for Major to participate in the Minor qualifiers paired with that specific Major. That’s why we’ll always have the Major qualifiers played first, then the Minor ones.
An easier way to understand the flow for the next season schedule would be:
Major qualifiers → Minor qualifiers → Minor → Major, rinse and repeat 4 times
Why would a team play in a Minor?
Despite the insanely low amount of points, the Minors get now a whole new importance. Winning a Minor automatically qualifies the winning team to the next Major. The rule is not entirely new in the Valve games, CS:GO having something very similar, but not quite identical.
Minors DPC Points distribution:
1st place: 120 DPC Points
2nd place: 100 DPC Points
3rd place: 90 DPC Points
4th place: 70 DPC Points
5th-6th place: 40 DPC Points
7th-8th place: 20 DPC Points
Although the points are tiny numbers now, the Minors are still getting a $300, 000 prize pool which represents a decent amount of money for any lower ranked team. The Minors have finally got the meaning every pro player wished they would have had in the previous season, and given the new rules regarding the Majors qualifiers, this season should be extremely exciting for everyone involved.
Majors qualifiers, slots and points
Major qualifiers must have now at least two spots per region, with the competition being open to all six regions. This means that 12 teams are going to qualify, plus the Minor winner gets us to 13 teams. The remaining 3 spots to make a 16 teams Major will be decided by Valve, not the tournament organizer, to which region should be given. This means that at every Major qualifiers China might get 3 spots, same NA and SEA or any other combination of regions.
Another important change is with regards to the DPC points distribution. This year all the teams participating at a Major will get a share at the 15,000 points. Regardless of who the tournament organizer is, the points distribution will always be the same:
Major DPC Points distribution:
1st place: 4950 DPC Points
2nd place: 3000 DPC Points
3rd place: 2100 DPC Points
4th place: 1350 DPC Points
5th-6th place: 900 DPC Points
7th-8th place: 450 DPC Points
9th-12th place: 150 DPC Points
13th-16th place: 75 DPC Points
After seeing how big the difference is in terms of points between the Majors and the Minors and after moving over the “is this a typo?” question, a new one started to be tossed more and more on the many social media platforms: why would a tournament organizer have the incentive to host a Minor if it will only feature lower tier teams?
Technically, lower tier teams can mean lower viewership numbers, lower ticket sales at the venue and so on and so forth. Remember the previous season where most of the first Minors were proudly introducing their first two invites being the TI7 winner and the runner-up team. With the new season, Valve is continuing to financially endorse the Minors and the Majors, 50% of the prize pool coming from their side. Tournament organizers should remember, if they ever forgot this, that their events are meant to help the professional scene to develop in a healthy and organic way. Once they remember that, they will immediately understand why having the Minors held with this new rules is extremely important for a scene where only a few months ago a team was extremely close to lose a spot at TI8 over a 35 DPC points difference and in the previous year, a self-sustained squad like Team Faceless didn’t make it to TI7 despite dominating their region for the entire season.
Shuffles, stand-ins and DPC points penalties
Valve made drastic changes to all these aspects. They completely shifted the power this year by giving the entire points earnings to the organization, not to the players. This will take off the table the previous year scenario where a player with a high amount of points could be transferred on a high fee for his points. At the same time, in this new season, the teams are allowed to shuffle as many times as they want, with the caveat that each time they do that they will lose 20% of their total DPC points. The shuffle rule is again advantageous for the lower tier teams who most likely will have lower amounts of DPC points.
Valve is not forbidding anyone to play with a stand-in in the DPC events but the penalty is much higher this year. “Any team that plays the LAN portion of a tournament with a sub will incur a 40% penalty on points earned from that tournament,” they say in their new rules, which basically translates to: If a team plays with a stand-in at a Major and they win the whole thing they would earn as many points as they would have earned by placing third.
With all these in mind, and with just five Majors and Five Minors to be held in the next Season, Valve opened the registration page for teams to lock in their starting roster and they must do so until September 15. The next day the Kuala Lumpur Major qualifiers will commence and with them, the road to TI9 is truly starting!