June 1, 2021
Dota 2 major championships in 2021: What changed?
8 min read
A Dota 2 Major is an important event that unites some of the best teams of the discipline and works as a qualifier for the most important Dota 2 tournament of the season: The International.
The Dota Pro Circuit: Dota 2 major schedule
Dota 2 tournaments were divided into “minors” and “majors”, events with different prize pool allocation and relevance in the tier-1 scenario. Once per year, Valve (the Dota 2 publisher) organizes the biggest event in the discipline, which also happens to be one of the most important tournaments in the overall esports scene: Dota 2 The International, bringing together all the best teams in the world. To help teams qualify for this impressive event with millions of dollars on the line, Valve created the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), whose rewards include both money and points. In order to qualify for The International, you need to perform well in the DPC as a whole: similar to 2020, in 2021, the top 12 teams from the DPC will receive direct invites for The International!
Regional Leagues: A new format for the DPC...
Due to numerous reasons, and especially the pandemics, 2021 established a new format for the DPC. Minor tournaments were replaced by Regional Leagues, which determine the teams that will participate in each Major. This year, the competitive Dota 2 scene will be divided in two seasons, each of them ending in a Major; that means we will only have two major tournaments in 2021, unlike the previous years.
2021 Dota Majors are ONE Esports Singapore Major (Mar 27 – Apr 4, the only major of Season 1 of the DPC in 2021) and WePlay AniMajor (Jun 02–13, the only major of Season 2 of the DPC in 2021).
To qualify for a major, a team needs to be among the top seeds in their respective regional leagues — an impressive feat by itself! You can see the teams that already qualified for WePlay AniMajor here.
… and a new format for Dota 2 Majors too!
In 2021, 18 teams in total, qualifying as top seeds in the following regions, will play in Dota 2 Majors:
- Four teams from Europe
- Four teams from China
- Three teams from Southeast Asia
- Three teams from Eastern Europe
- Two teams from North America
- Two teams from South America
Each team will start in a different round, depending on how well the team performed in their respective regional leagues:
- The top team of each of the six regional leagues advances directly to the playoff stage (six teams)
- The second team of each of the six regional leagues qualifies for the group stage for a chance to qualify for the playoffs (six teams)
- The other qualified teams (the third and fourth from China and Europe, and the third from Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe) will play in the Major in the Wild Card stage
The matches will take place according to the following structure:
- Wild Card (starting on June 2): Best-of-two round-robin series. Two teams will be eligible for the group stage
- Group Stage (starting on June 4): Best-of-two round-robin series. The top two teams will advance to the Upper Bracket Playoffs. The two teams with the least points will be eliminated. The remaining four teams will play in the Lower Bracket Playoffs
- Playoffs (starting on June 9): Best-of-three matches until the Grand Final
- Grand Final: Best-of-five
Prize pool and DPC points
Winning a Dota 2 Major is no small feat, and the prize pool of $500,000 reflects that. Additionally, the teams will fight for their share of 2,700 very important DPC points — teams that end the season in the top 12 of the Dota Pro Circuit will play at the astounding The International 10, the biggest esports event in terms of prize money to date!
The first Major of 2021 has already happened. The ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021 took place from March 27 to April 4 and saw Invictus Gaming take the first place. The team took home $200,000 plus 500 DPC points!
The second Dota 2 Major of the year will take place from June 2 to 13. The prize pool structure at WePlay AniMajor, the only major in Season 2 of 2021’s DPC, indicates that only the top eight teams will have their DPC points and a slice of the money. It’s important to note that in 2020, The International did not happen due to COVID-19 pandemics; for that same reason, WePlay AniMajor will happen at the WePlay Esports Arena Kyiv without the presence of the audience or press. However, the matches will be held in a LAN format, which means that at the upcoming event we will see players on the stage!
WePlay AniMajor’s full schedule can be found here.
Where to watch: Dota 2 Major Twitch channels
A Dota 2 Major usually attracts a heavy audience. According to Esports Charts, the first Major of the year (ONE Esports Singapore Major) peaked at 605,000 viewers.
So you can watch the official broadcast of WePlay AniMajor, here are the Twitch channels you will want to follow, separated by language:
- English: Twitch, YouTube, Smart TV App
- Chinese: Houyu
- Russian: Twitch Main channel, Twitch second channel, YouTube
- Ukrainian: Twitch Main channel, Twitch second channel
- Spanish: Facebook community
- Portuguese: Twitch Main channel, Twitch second channel
Talent crew, analysts and commenters
WePlay Esports has announced the casters of the following languages:
Kyiv as an esports host: Dota 2 Major in Kyiv
This isn’t the first time that Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, will host a Dota 2 Major. In 2017, the Kyiv Major was held in the National Palace of Arts. The tournament featured 16 teams and had European team OG beating the CIS organization Virtus.pro in the finals, in a different setup and under different tournament rules. The Kyiv Major 2017 currently holds the record for the most-watched Major in the history of Dota 2.
WePlay Esports is also well known for hosting different Dota 2 events. WePlay! Tug of War: Mad Moon, for instance, peaked at 295,000 viewers, according to Esports Charts. The event had a cyberpunk thematic, $300,000 as prize pool, and boasted a detailed production that kept the audience entertained not only during the matches but for the duration of the show itself, which lasted throughout the event.
With 2,700 DPC points on the line and being the only major of the 2021 DPC Season 2, stakes will be higher than ever for WePlay AniMajor.
Prize pool and statistics: Why you should watch a Dota 2 tournament
According to Valve, Dota 2 is the second most downloaded game on Steam in 2021. The game has many formats and play modes, and is the sequel of one of the first MOBA games ever created. With a peak of more than 590,000 daily players in 2021, the esports scenario for the discipline isn’t too different — even with all the changes that took place this season.
The International is the esports event with the highest prize pool in the world. That alone adds to the excitement of the competition, and its amount in 2021 will be the highest ever in esports history. To add even more to the hype, in 2020, The International did not happen; that means that not only the crowd but the teams themselves will be eager for this year’s event, which will start on October 7, 2021, in Bucharest. Therefore, watching the competition to see what team will qualify for such a tremendous event can help the audience predict the results, choose their picks, and follow the hero meta closely.
Besides, a Major is a spectacular show by itself. With the current format, there are only two Majors in the season of 2021 — the most important events besides The International. So, if you miss one of them, it’s a huge loss. The prize pool, production ideas, and the amount of effort put into each event are so incredibly huge that each event is a show per se.
If you are familiar with other WePlay Esports events, you know that each one has a theme and is tailor-made in each aspect. That’s how we know that the anime-based WePlay AniMajor tournament will be a very exclusive and unique event that will bring together fans of pop culture and esports and take the excitement to a new level.
When we talk about previous Dota 2 tournaments, we see great production effort and catchy effects; for instance, the WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 has set a new standard for Minors in the DPC; transferring and increasing that production value for a Major — and such an important one — will be the goal for WePlay Esports, which means their tournaments are only getting better with time.
In June 2021, history will be made. The gaming world will have another big tournament, once again held in Ukraine. Tune in to see how teams will share the $500,000 — will your region or favorite team be the first?
(This article has been updated on July 08 after an announcement from Valve regarding a new date and place for The International 2021).