On April 27, the sixth Major of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit season kicks off with 12 teams from across the world competing for a prize pool of $1 million. Who will keep their cool in the VTB Ice Palace? Read on for expert insight into the EPICENTER XL odds.
The third instalment of EPICENTER held in Moscow will feature substantial prize money and 1500 Pro Circuit Points. These points are used by Valve to determine which teams get invited to The International – the most significant Dota 2 event of the year.
Five teams were invited with six teams achieving qualification through their regional qualifiers. The remaining team gained a spot through a one-of-a-kind qualifier named the ‘Madness Qualifier’. The qualifier consisted of 289 teams from all over the world with the one successful winner achieving qualification to the main event.
The regions with qualifiers were South America, Europe, CIS, North America, China and Southeast Asia. With teams having a few weeks to prepare, we should witness some of the best Dota 2 action of the year. As the outright market is now live on Pinnacle, it’s time to take an in-depth look at the EPICENTER XL odds.
The five invites for the EPICENTER XL:
- Team Liquid
- Team Secret
- Natus Vincere
The seven qualifiers for the EPICENTER XL:
- OG (European Qualifier)
- Team Empire (CIS Qualifier)
- complexity Gaming (North America Qualifier)
- paiN Gaming (South American Qualifier)
- LGD Gaming (China Qualifier)
- Mineski (Southeast Asia Qualifier)
- FlyToMoon (Madness Qualifier)
Understanding the tournament format
The initial stage consists of two groups of six teams. The format is a round-robin, where each team plays a single match versus all the other teams in their respective groups. The top two teams from each group progress to the upper bracket, the third and fourth to the lower bracket, and the remaining two sides eliminated.
The playoffs feature a double elimination bracket. The first two games of the lower bracket are best-of-ones (BO1), with the remaining matches being best-of-threes (BO3) and a best-of-five (BO5) final.
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The double elimination bracket enables teams suffering an early defeat a second chance, which can also be good news for bettors. Teams can climb their way through the lower bracket and secure a spot in the final. It’s important not to write off any team suffering an early loss as they can still cause damage later in the tournament and might offer value as the event progresses.
The Madness Qualifier consisted of 289 teams from all over the world with the one successful winner achieving qualification to the main event.
The group stage consisting of BO1 matches is where the majority of upsets occur. Having a bad start can be the difference between winning and losing. We should see some unpredictable results, with weaker teams having a higher chance of causing an upset due to the unpredictable nature of the format.
Due to the round-robin format, the last fixtures might see potential upsets materialising due to some teams fighting for a spot in the playoffs, while others are qualified or eliminated.
As we proceed into the BO3 and BO5 matches, weaker team’s chance s of defeating top teams diminishes due to requiring two or three games to secure a win. Looking towards the favourites to win these matches could be a smart move as we move into the upper bracket finals.
EPICENTER XL odds: The favourites
Virtus.Pro (3.870*) are the favourites for this event. After a disappointing 5 – 6th finish at the last International, they managed to win four tournaments, including the Bucharest Major and ESL One Katowice.
Having already secured enough Pro Circuit points to guarantee themselves a spot at the next International enables Virtus.Pro to use this event for practice. Swapping Lil for RodjER with Natus Vincere in February seems to have been a great piece of business.
Team Liquid (4.270*) won last year’s International and are looking to take their third EPICENTER title. Their form this year has been inconsistent, winning StarLadder i-League, coming 3rd at ESL One Katowice, 3 – 4th at the Bucharest Major and 5 – 6th at the Dota 2 Asia Championship.
Despite practically securing their spot at the next International, a decent finish at EPICENTER would all but guarantee it and they will want to secure a place to defend their crown as soon as possible. Their stable roster since the New Year increases their chances of succeeding.
The format is a round-robin, where each team plays a single match versus all the other teams in their respective groups.
Team Secret (4.460*) - under the guidance of Puppey - have both some positive and negatives against them ahead of this event. Despite some unimpressive results of late, Puppey is one of the most experienced in-game-leaders in Dota 2 and will be a big draw for bettors. He knows how to get the best out of his players and isn’t scared to use unorthodox strategies to secure a victory.
Despite winning Captains Draft 4.0, Team Secret’s form has dipped since – coming 3 – 4th at ESL One Genting, 5 – 6th ESL One Katowice, 5 – 8th Bucharest Major and 9 – 12th Dota 2 Asia Championship. Despite this inconsistent form, they sit third on the Pro Circuit points list and with the raw talent they possess is always a threat. Puppey will have prepared tactics for this event and it will be interesting to see what happens.
EPICENTER XL betting: The outsiders
paiN Gaming (117.720* to win the tournament outright) are coming into this tournament to gain experience. Their roster issues this year doesn’t help their preparation, but its good news that w33 is now a permanent part of their roster. In all honesty, their chances of progressing are slim and an upset or two will probably be their primary focus. w33, a former Major winner, will be hoping to share his knowledge with the rest of the team and surprise a few people.
FlyToMoon (78.090*) secured their position at the event through the Madness Qualifier and it is their first major event as a team. Failing to progress through a single qualifier before, they surprised other teams by succeeding this time. They might struggle with a lack of experience on a big stage but FlyToMoon have nothing to lose so can take risks and get a victory over a top team would be an achievement.
compLexity’s (40.800*) preparation has been less than ideal. Kyle, the brother of Zfreek, was removed from the roster on March 16 due to irreconcilable differences with the rest of the team. They will be using this event to test a new 5th, which isn’t announced yet. Sitting in 16th place in the Pro Circuit points rankings, their chance of making it to The International are all but gone.
*Odds subject to change