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The European region has always been one of Dota 2‘s premier pools. This year, it couldn’t be truer. But Valve’s strict regional lock on tournament berths is causing a problem.
Since last year, the Dota Pro Circuit removed direct invites for tournament organizers, proceeding to introduce mandatory qualifiers for teams of all regions. This ensured that teams from often excluded regions, such as South America, would be able to get into tournaments.
The cap for each region is decided by Valve. Stronger regions like Europe and China tend to get more slots, with the maximum being three and the minimum being two.
So far, Valve hasn’t deviated from the formula. The upcoming ESL One Los Angeles Major will also provide three berths for Europe. With Europe’s stellar results this season, however, even pro players are harking for a different way to settle the qualified teams.
The region’s litany of high achievers has only increased with Team Secret recently winning the DreamLeague Leipzig Major. The other two European teams, Liquid and Alliance, made it into the top six of the field. While Nigma had an uncharacteristically disappointing tournament, they have constantly proved themselves to be a tier-one team as evidenced by their tough Bukovel Minor victory.
Meanwhile, two-time defending The International champions OG are finally returning from their extended break to take part in the qualifiers.
With just three slots to the Major and one to the Minor, this means that at least two of the tier-one European teams are likely to miss out on the LA Major.
While the intent of the DPC is to allow less-known teams from all regions to participate, the uncharacteristically top-heavy state of European Dota also means that tier-two teams from the region won’t be able to get the chance to prove their prowess. This ironically means that due to the region’s overflowing wealth of talent, Europe’s tier-two scene will suffer.
Right now, there doesn’t seem to be an elegant solution to the problem. While increasing the number of teams in the pool will certainly increase representation from all regions, it could also spell even worse schedules and problems for tournament organizers.
Regardless, this seems like a problem that could be tough to fix with the DPC being almost halfway done. With Valve reportedly looking to introduce regional leagues and reduce the number of competitions in next year’s DPC, it could prove to contain the answer that players and fans are looking for.