If you’re a Dota 2 fan, you might have been feeling starved of action recently. ESL One Mumbai’s depleted lineup had five top teams drop out, and March was the last time we got to see many of Dota’s top stars.
But there’s finally something to get hype about. The MDL Disneyland Paris Major starts on Saturday, May 4, and the game’s best teams are back in action. And just in case you’re not convinced, here are three reasons you should get excited about this upcoming Major.
After MLD Disneyland, there’s only one Major left in the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit. This penultimate Major will set the scene for EPICENTER 2019 in Moscow, and it’s the last chance for some teams to earn a spot in this year’s International.
Simply put, this is where world championships are made, in the trenches of the late season tournaments. Virtus.Pro, Team Secret, Vici Gaming, and Evil Geniuses are sitting pretty, having already earned an invite for the championship tournament, but 14 places remain, eight invites and six qualifying positions.
MLD Disneyland will be the chance for teams like Gambit Gaming, EHOME, and Natus Vincere, who’ve had strong showings throughout the season, to secure a vital invite spot—saving them from the qualifying tournament grind.
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Last year, NiP unveiled their new roster and announced their renewed commitment to Dota 2. But after a poor showing at the Kuala Lumpur Major, the Swedish team was all but written off as a non-factor this season, especially with Team Secret’s dominance of the European scene.
In fact, after crashing out of the closed qualifier for this tournament, it was looking unlikely we’d see NiP at another Major this season. That was until their turnaround performance at the OGA Dota PIT Minor.
In Split, NiP was resurgent, sweeping Alliance and Gambit in straight games, and rallying behind the strong play of veteran Martin "Saksa" Sazdov and carry Adrian "Fata" Trinks. Here on another European stage, NiP have the chance to translate recent success into an invitation to this year’s International.
Maybe it’s my inner child speaking, but any esports event held at an internationally renowned theme park is going to be hype. Over the last season, Dota 2 tournaments have moved towards adopting a more “party” attitude, emphasizing audience experience as well as the quality of competition. The ESL One series of events, in particular, have focused on big spectacle and fan engagement just as much as their brackets.
And that’s one of the reasons why MLD Disneyland is going to be a great tournament. Not only are there important matches on the line, but it's set to have a fantastic atmosphere because of it's genuinely magical venue, only enhanced by a passionate European crowd.