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    The offline unknown: Dota Pro Circuit 2022 Stockholm Major preview

    For the first time in more than two years, a Dota 2 Major will welcome a live audience to watch some of the best teams in the world clash for positioning on the Dota Pro Circuit as ESL hosts the Stockholm Major from May 12 to 22. 

    Unfortunately, the Major won’t be without its missing pieces; various global situations have led to Chinese teams missing the event and multiple teams in attendance needing to play using stand-in players instead of their main rosters. 

    Prior to this, the 2022’s Winter Tour was forced to pivot to Regional Finals—playoffs featuring the top four teams from each individual region—due to a rise in concerns surrounding COVID at the start of the year. That is the same format China utilized due to being unable to attend the Stockholm Major, while the remaining five regions sent their qualified teams to Sweden to compete on LAN. 

    Related: PSG.LGD strike again, win second straight DPC Regional Final

    Format and Prizing

    With those stipulations, the first Major of the 2022 DPC season will feature a reduced 14 teams, with those teams being split into two groups of seven to open the event with a round-robin Group Stage. 

    Every team in both groups will face each other in best-of-two series, with the top four teams from each moving on to make up the eight teams in the upper bracket of playoffs. The fifth and sixth place teams will also advance to the playoffs via the lower bracket, while the last place roster in each group will be eliminated at the end of the Group Stage. 

    The playoffs will be a standard double-elimination bracket with best-of-three series, up until the grand finals will swap to a best-of-five. 

    In total, teams are competing for their share of $500,000 and 3,530 Pro Circuit points, with the top finishers likely clinching an invite to The International 11 later this year without even factoring in the next DPC Tour and its third Major. And, just like with most larger DPC events, only the top eight teams will receive any prizing. 

    Team Preview 

    Because teams have been evenly split into groups, most fans will instantly jump to looking at the pairings within each bracket to see which teams have an advantage. However, this is going to be harder than usual because a majority of these teams have not faced each other at all. 

    Some teams, such as Team Spirit and beastcoast, have maintained their rosters from TI10 last October, but outside of those two teams, many of the teams have swapped at least one player or are fielding entirely new lineups. This means we will likely see some matchups for the first time and predicting who will stand above the rest is slightly harder. 

    Here is how the groups are currently formatted, listed based on their region: 

    Group A Group B
    OG Gaimin Gladiators
    Tundra Esports Team Liquid
    BOOM Esports Fnatic
    T1 Team Spirit
    BetBoom Team Mind Games
    Evil Geniuses TSM
    beastcoast Thunder Awaken

    Group A

    At the one sizable LAN event that has been played this year, GAMERS GALAXY: Invitational Series Dubai back in March, the two top finishers are featured in Group A—BOOM Esports and Tundra Esports. 

    BOOM is an explosive team many predict will make a deep run at this Major, while Tundra is a solid team out of Europe, though they have struggled against other top teams from their region. That would likely have fans picking OG over Tundra, though the team will be playing with Ceb as a stand-in due to Misha being unable to attend, which could potentially throw off their flow. 

    T1 and beastcoast have strong rosters with a history of playing well on big stages, but the latter is known for occasionally having a tough time early on in their runs. However, the two biggest wildcards for Group A are BetBoom Team and Evil Geniuses. 

    EG is fielding a trio of new players that have slowly meshed and turned the squad into a true force coming out of NA, though we have never seen this group helmed by JerAx on a Major stage. Meanwhile, BetBoom is a veteran squad that rose out of Division II in the Winter Tour and qualified for the Major via an expedited qualifier for Eastern Europe. They are the biggest unknown when it comes to facing other top teams. 

    Group B

    Even with a shaky showing in the Eastern Europe playoff qualifier, it is unlikely anyone will bet against Team Spirit bringing their A-game as the defending International Champions attend their first DPC Major since winning it all last October. And, once you get past Spirit, Gaimin Gladiators and Team Liquid are both threatening rosters that have performed well in Europe and could easily make a deep run. 

    TSM and Fnatic also have veteran rosters with experience playing together, but neither has a recent record of beating top international talent outside of their regions. This duo of rosters were among the bottom three finishers at GAMERS GALAXY and have a lot to prove even while fighting for a spot in the playoffs. 

    Just like with Group A, Group B also has two wildcards that don’t have a lot of experience playing on big stages together or are facing some problems. 

    Thunder Awaken has a new roster that hasn’t appeared at many international LAN events, with captain Farith “Matthew” Puente having the only real experience outside of regional competitions. The team dominated South America’s regional league during the Spring Tour, but we will have to see how that translates to a Major stage. 

    Mind Games would have been a sleeper hit to contend for an upper bracket playoff spot coming into the event, but now the team will be playing without two of its core players—Danil “Bignum” Shekhovtsov and Semion “CemaTheSlayer” Krivulya. Both were unable to leave Ukraine and are being replaced by PuckChamp support players Genadiy “Astral” Motuz and Andrey “Dukalis” Kuropatkin for the duration of the Major, leaving some questions to how the roster will mesh in such a short amount of time. 

    You can watch all of the Stockholm Major action on ESL’s official Dota 2 Twitch channels starting on May 12, or catch the VODs later on YouTube.

    As seen on Dot Esports

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