ESL One Hamburg 2018 Preview

Although it’s not a part of the Dota Pro Circuit for the 2018-2019 competitive season, ESL One Hamburg 2018 is an important tournament that brings together many of the world’s best teams. With $300.000 on the line and 6 days of top level competition, ESL One Hamburg 2018 promises to be a great event.

As the name suggests, ESL One Hamburg 2018 is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany between October 23rd – 28th.



Participants and format

ESL One Hamburg 2018 brings together 12 teams from 6 regions.

  • Europe: Team Secret, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Alliance.
  • CIS:
  • North America: Evil Geniuses, Forward Gaming, compLexity Gaming.
  • South America: paiN Gaming.
  • China: Vici Gaming, Team Aster.
  • Southeast Asia: Mineski, TNC Predator.

ESL One Hamburg 2018 will take place in 2 stages. For the Group Stage, the participants will be split into 2 groups of 6. In both of these groups, each team will play a Bo2 match against every other team. At the end, the bottom 2 teams are eliminated (so 4 teams in total), the 3rd and 4th placed teams start the Main Event in the Lower Bracket, while the 1st and 2nd placed teams begin in the Upper Bracket.

The Main Event or Playoffs Stage will be played in a double-elimination bracket format. Every match will be a Bo3 series, except for the Grand Final (Bo5).

Top contenders

All of the 12 teams at ESL One Hamburg 2018 are tier 1 competitors and will likely offer the audience a great show. However, some are inevitably much stronger than the others.

These are the teams that I expect to perform the best at this event and get a top 3 result: Evil Geniuses,, Team Secret. All of them have world-class rosters, an exceptional set of results to serve as a basis of confidence and experience and insanely knowledgeable captains.

At The International 2018, Evil Geniuses finished 3rd while Team Secret and finished 5th – 6th. And the 1st, 2nd and 4th placed teams are all missing from ESL One Hamburg 2018. So there won’t be that many real competitors to challenge them. The only teams that have a shot against these 3 Dota 2 machines are Ninjas in Pyjamas, Forward Gaming and Team Aster.


Ninjas in Pyjamas is ppd’s new team and has a lot of potential in the long run, but I think it’s too early for it to succeed at this level. We saw last season that ppd can perform miracles given enough time, after he took OpTic Gaming from provincial nobody to a 7th – 8th place at The International 2018. But the kind of team that can perform at such a high level takes time to build.
Forward Gaming is practically the former VGJ.Storm roster except for Sneyking, who’s been replaced with a much stronger player: UNiVeRsE. But, like NiP, it will need time to find its rhythm and get top results at important events.

Lastly, we have Team Aster. This is a newly formed Chinese team, but its roster is world-class. We’ve already seen this team compete with great success at the start of the new season, so you should definitely keep an eye on it.