The MDL Changsha Major is one of the last few Majors in the current Dota Pro Circuit Season. The tournament will be the first of two Majors in China as we come nearer to The International 2018. Featuring a Prize pool of $1,000,000 there is a lot of competition for the trophy. But it’s not just about the money as this Major could well decide the final standings for the DPC rankings.
The MDL Changsha Major will provide a total of 1500 DPC points with the first placed team receiving 750 points. It is a huge step forward for any team looking for an invite to TI8. However, the most intense competition will not be happening near the top rankings of the DPC points table. Teams will be looking to secure their spot near the Bottom of the DPC rankings.
The Bottom three rankings in the DPC Top eight are occupied by three Chinese teams. They need to maintain their position and not be overtaken by the likes of Na’Vi, Fnatic and Evil Geniuses. EG probably has one of the best chances to break into the Top 8, but that is dependent on a performance improvement.
Format and Scheduling
The MDL Changsha will have a round-robin Group Stage. There are two groups comprised of six teams each.
Each group will have a round robin format wherein all the teams play each other. Points are accorded depending on their performance.
The top team in each group receives a direct entry into the Upper Bracket Round 2. The team which comes in the last place will be eliminated from the tournament in the Group stage.
The 2nd and 3rd ranked teams in each group will play in the Upper Bracket Round 1. They will have multiple chances to prove themselves. The 4th-5th positioned teams will be in the lower bracket and a single mistake would mean the end of the road for these teams.
All matches ( Except Lower Bracket Round 1 matches ) are Best of three. The grand final is a Best of Five matches and the winner takes home the majority of the prize pool.
The six teams in Group A are as follows:
- Team Secret
- Invictus Gaming
Group A will probably see a lot less competition considering how much of a gap is present between the top and the lowest teams. Secret and Mineski are definitely above the rest of the group when it comes to results. The two team will be battling it out for the top position. This will guarantee them a direct entry into the Upper Bracket Round 2. While Secret is already guaranteed an invite to TI8, Mineski is almost sure of an invite as well. They are currently placed 5th in the rankings and have a good cushion compared to the rest of the teams. However, they will still be looking to perform well and gain as many DPC points as possible. The huge prize pool is also a contributing factor.
OG has not looked great in their recent outings with a certain lack of chemistry between Notail and the rest of the team. From the outside, it seems as if there is a communication breakdown on the roster. Ofcourse the fact that they are using 7ckingMad on the team might be a contributing factor, but OG is not as strong as they once were.
Group A seems relatively straightforward when it comes to the rankings. Secret and Mineski hold the top two spots while the other teams will be scrambling together to fill the rest.
The teams in Group B are:
- Vega Squadron
- TNC Pro Team
- Vici Gaming
It’s a fact that this Group is filled with competition, but mainly amongst the Chinese teams. The likes of PSG.LGD, VGJ.Storm has been putting up strong performances recently. The competition will be fierce considering their teams’ knowledge about each others’ playstyle and tactics.
On paper, PSG.LGD is the favorite to top the group and go directly into Upper Bracket Round 2. They are 4th on the DPC leaderboards and have been on a strong roll recently. They recently won the EPICENTER XL tournament but it was preceded by second-place finishes in several previous DPC events. The PSG.LGD squad looks very strong in their current form and it does seem that they have peaked at the right opportune moment.
They will face competition from the likes of Newbee, Vici Gaming as well as VGJ.Storm. Surprisingly, it might appear that VGJ.Storm is the best team from amongst these three. While all the teams will want to place first, the group stage is also the breeding ground for different and unique strategies. We will see the teams bring out different ideas and strategies in order to perform better in the playoffs. However, that being said, no team wants to be the 4-5th position team either. Being in a 4-5th position at the end of the group stage basically puts you in a do or die situation in the lower bracket. Having just one game to prove their worth can lead to an upset and a premature end to the tournament run for any of these teams.
The MDL Changsha Major is the perfect opportunity for certain teams to confirm their position on the DPC table. They will have a great chance to try out different strategies in the Group Stage. With Virtus Pro absent from the major, it provides an opportunity to other teams to play on a relatively equal footing.
MDL Changsha begins on 14th May 2018 and can be viewed live on Twitch.