Veteran Ukrainian Dota 2 caster v1lat recently discussed rumors surrounding the ongoing EPIC League closed qualifiers and the fan outcry at the alleged preferential treatment of an invited team cutting in at the end.
The team is rumored to consist of four former Virtus Pro players—no[o]ne, RAMZES666, Solo, Zayac—and free agent SumaiL.
Vl1at posted to his Telegram channel, raising concerns about the lack of transparency exhibited by the tournament organizer, Epic Esports Events. The text, originally in Russian, was translated via Google Translate.
Among various points, V1lat raised questions about the “integrity of the tournament.” The star-studded team’s “pull” meant that they were able to skip the majority of the qualifiers, while at least one other team will be forced to play two best-of-five series for a chance at Division One.
V1lat did concede that, however, he would jump through hoops and find a way to include such a team in the tournament. A strong CIS team draws viewership like no other, after all.
The qualifier was always planned this way, though, according to Epic Esports Events. In a statement provided to cybersport.ru, the tournament organizer said the second-place qualifier was initially reserved for Natus Vincere. After Evil Geniuses turned down its direct invitation to the league, Na’Vi took EG’s slot in the league, while Epic invited a new team for the qualifiers.
Regarding the peculiar arrangement, “all participants were notified before the tournament began,” Epic said.
At time of writing, the tournament organizer is yet to officially confirm that the invited team will be the rumored SumaiL and former VP stack. It appears to be an open secret at this point, however, since the official EPICENTER account posted a picture of former VP captain Solo yesterday with the caption “miss me?”
Reports over the past few weeks have also corroborated the existence of such a stack. Chinese coach rOtK revealed that he was approached by former VP general manager Roman Dvoryankin with an offer to coach a lineup consisting of no[o]ne, Solo, RAMZES666, and SumaiL in October. Dvoryankin confirmed the interaction took place in an interview with cybersport.ru.
DatDota developer and analyst Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen cited yesterday from “a variety of sources” that the lineup includes Zayac and will allegedly be immediately advanced into the second-place playoff decider to qualify for Division One of the EPIC League.
The organizer’s official tournament bracket also includes the separate series, with an “invited team” pre-seeded into the second-place decider.