Six weeks still remain until ESL One Mumbai kicks off, with teams from five regions clashing in the second Dota 2 major of the year. But fans of high-level play can be comforted by the fact they won’t be starved for action in the meantime, with the first round of qualifiers beginning this Wednesday.
European fans will have to wait a little longer to see some of their favorites, though, as Gambit Esports received the third direct invite of the tournament so far, bypassing the qualifiers and joining The Alliance and Ninjas In Pyjamas in the main bracket.
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Gambit has looked incredibly strong in recent showings, consistently finding themselves in the winner or second-place spots in both minor and major tournaments. Their addition to the invite pool shored up a bracket that started to look weak with Alliance’s recent poor performances.
Just a few hours prior, Ukrainian team Natus Vincere revealed they would be skipping the tournament entirely due to a busy schedule. The loss of Na’Vi is a big blow to the strength of the tournament. At their last tournament, WePlay! Dota 2 Valentine Madness, they made it to the semi-finals, taking games off NiP and eventual winners Gambit.
With the qualifiers set kicking off tomorrow, it’s unlikely we’ll see too many more changes to the brackets. However, with four direct invite spots remaining in the tournament proper, it will be interesting to see who joins the three European teams in the coming weeks.