Qualifiers wrapped up this week for ESL One Birmingham, the second to last Major of the season and UK's first. Both team OG and Na'Vi qualified, representing Europe and CIS respectively, at a time when they were under scrutiny for their presumed undeserved invites to the China Supermajor. PaiN gaming, with their newest member, w33, swept Mad Kings 3-0 to win the South America qualifier. LGD.Forever Young edged out a 3-2 victory over iG in the China qualifier. Out of the Southeast Asia qualifier was Team Fnatic, who currently 11th in the Pro Dota Circuit standings, and they will have another opportunity to leap into the top 8. Finally, for the North America Qualifier Optic Gaming bested VGJ.Thunder once again, after beating them in the grand finals at the recent Starladder Minor.
At a press conference in Shanghai, French football club, Paris Saint-Germain, announced a partnership with LGD Gaming. The team's players will be donning PSG branded jerseys, as well as playing under the tag "PSG.LGD". The move follows a trend of major sports organizations investing in esports, from the Golden State Warriors owners pumping $13 million in a LCS franchise to the New York Yankees partnering with Vision esports. PSG will be the first football organization to invest in a Dota 2 team.
Only fitting that this DPC system embarrasses itself by ending with PGL/Perfect World inviting both @evilgeniuses who lost their last 2 NA qualifiers and @OGesports to the last and highest value major. OG isn't even eligible for DPC points. Very disappointing...— Peter Dager (@Peterpandam) April 16, 2018
The ten invites for the largest event before TI8, the China Supermajor, were released earlier this week. As the final major and one that has the most DPC points at stake, it'll be a pivotal event for all teams vying for a top 8 finish on the Pro Circuit standings and an invite to TI8. While some of the invited teams were no surprise, a few others are currently under scrutiny for their place in the tournament. The public outcry has stemmed from community members, pro Dota players (namely Eternalenvy and ppd), and casters. OG, for example, is ineligible to receive a direct invite, so any success will be seen as solely blocking other teams vying for invites.
The discussion about the obligations tournament organizers have to host teams that are popular against teams that have proved their value isn't an old one. But the Pro Circuit has introduced a new wrinkle to the debate. Valve could help fix these events on a case by case basis, as they have in the past, but they may have to induct a more sustainable solution in the future. We'll be following up on this issue in a future blog post.