Competitive Dota returns with a revamped Pro Circuit, now reimagined as a series of divisional online leagues feeding into big LAN Majors and eventually the ultimate prize in the world of esports: a ticket to The International and a shot at the biggest pile of cash a pro gamer can dream about.
With non-stop Dota action across the entire week for the duration of the season, it can be easy to get lost among all the regions and divisions – hence this handy guide to help you orient yourself across the entire Dota Pro Circuit 2021 format!
How does the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit work?
This year, the competitive Dota scene is looking a lot more like League’s, with six-week-long regional online round robin competitions feeding into two LAN Majors and eventually The International.
The six main regions (Europe, North America, CIS, China, Southeast Asia and South America) each have their own leagues consisting of an upper and a lower division.
The upper division features the best teams in the world and good performances there will directly qualify you for the Majors. The teams in the lower division are fighting for a chance to get up. The bottom two teams are relegated at the end of each season.
North America: The Tale Of Two Giants
NA Dota has been dormant for the past half a year as the pandemic scrambled the world and the game’s competitive scene with it. Now the landscape is quite different upon their return, but nevertheless, two clear favorites have emerged in the upper-division.
Evil Geniuses obviously still remain the big boys here, and moving on from the speculative RAMZES pickup seems like a good move, with iceiceice (previously of Mineski and Fnatic) serving as his replacement.
The other notable team in the upper NA division is Quincy Crew, and no doubt the two sides will serve up a fascinating battle as they fight for the top spot during this inaugural season.
For the opening matchups, our recommendation would be to check out EG versus 4 Zoomers where the favorites are offered at +111 for a -1.5 handicap win at the time of writing at the top eSports betting sites.
Europe: the most stacked of them all
The old continent has brought along some of the best Dota play we’ve ever seen over the past few years, with OG single-handedly wrecking TI’s yearly East-West winner shuffle and Team Secret racking up an astonishingly dominant set of results over the course of 2020.
Though they are the favorites to win the competition (styled as DreamLeague DPC Europe) by every metric, no doubt their challengers are also quite capable – beyond the back-to-back TI winners, Team Liquid and KuroKy’s Nigma lurk in the shadows too, with Vikin.gg also posing as a threat to the top teams in the top division. If you only have the capacity to follow one of these leagues, pick this one.
There’s a spicy little matchup coming up on the 23rd between Nigma and their former org, Team Liquid. It’s a close affair but we can just see Liquid squeeze past their previous squad, a result offered at -103 at the time of writing.
China: controversies and a superteam
The emergence of Elephant as the team to beat, an exciting squad featuring ex-PSG.LGD player fy is the biggest storyline in the Chinese region, and no doubt the competition is going to be fierce as he and his fellow players are joined by his former org, EHOME, Vici Gaming and Team Aster among others to fight it out for one of the four Major spots (one playoffs, one group stage and two wildcards) allocated to China.
However, any betting recommendation about the region has to come with a caveat right now in light of ex-TI winner org Newbee’s stinging ban for matchfixing, an unprecedented move by Valve and the local tournament organizers.
For this league, you could do worse than to check out the curtain-raiser between Vici Gaming and LBZS, a matchup where Vici are considered incredibly heavy favorites.
CIS: a place of upheaval
This region is perhaps the most unpredictable of all, courtesy of the fact that each of the top four teams have revamped their lineups in preparation for this competition. Virtus.pro are the favorites, leaning on their overperforming academy side (VP.Prodigy), now playing under the main team banner.
You may recognize the current Team Spirit squad as Yellow Submarine from a little while back. Na’Vi have also put up decent results with their recently signed new squad, while the qualifier-winning NoTechies side features such veterans as Crystallize and ex-VP legend Solo. Anything is possible in this one.
VP’s debut at the event against Empire on the 24th is a must-see game for Dota fans, and they look good value for the -1.5 handicap win even at -350 for this one against their upstart opponents.
South America: the big three’s dominance
No doubt Thunder Predator are going to be the team to beat here, with fellow direct invitees Infamous and Beastcoast close behind. Those who followed the 2019/20 DPC season closely may still think of Beastcoast as the region’s best team but those times are long gone, and the BTS Pro Series Americas winners must be considered the favorites even though they made some roster adjustments heading into the new year’s competitions.
Still, Beastcoast’s fabled inconsistencies make them a fun team to watch, and this is part of why we wanted to highlight their opening matchup against EgoBoys, where we can see the upset happen often enough to jump on the +271 offered for the upstarts.
SEA: the best of the rest?
TNC Predator – not to be confused with Thunder Predator over in the South American division – has basically won the last previous DPC season, warts and pandemic and all, but their results since then have diminished quite significantly.
Fnatic have gone through a few player changes due to marauding Chinese orgs and it remains to be seen how competitive they are. Keep an eye out for BOOM Esports and Neon Esports, two teams with good results in the online era.
Check out the match between Fnatic and T1 as the upper bracket curtain-raiser between two storied esports orgs! Though it’s T1 with the more stable roster for once, Fnatic’s Dota pedigree makes us think they’ll live up to their designation as favorites here and are good value for -135 to win.
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