Lack of Dota 2 competition in EEU may harm the entire ecosystem
It’s a tragic time to be in the Eastern European Esports scene right now. Like other industries, the rest of the world is cutting ties with Russia, due to the conflict with Ukraine. The situation is getting blurry in the Dota 2 Esports industry too.
Valve postpones EEU DPC Spring Tour indefinitely
Valve announced that the Dota Pro Circuit 2021-22 EEU Spring Tour goes on a hiatus due to the situation in Eastern Europe. EPICENTER, the region’s DPC organizer, confirmed Valve finalized the decision ahead of the open qualifiers. The open qualifiers would have been held later this and next week.
The decision came due to safety reasons and the sanctions executed by the various countries and institutional partners. The SWIFT likely being unavailable in Russia, makes paying some players and teams impossible.
WePlay Esports terminates partnerships with Russian and Belarusian companies
The Spring Major without any EEU teams is the least of our concerns, now that high-profile European tournament organizer, WePlay Esports, terminated all partnership agreements with Russian and Belarusian companies. The movement is supported by representatives of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Esports Federation (UESF).
What this means is that there will likely not be any tournaments in EEU for a long time, at least until the conflict ends.
Both EPICENTER and WePlay Esports, the two main Dota 2 event organizers in the region, will likely not be organizing any events in the foreseeable future. It’s currently unsustainable for players to make a profit now that there are no tournaments. Unless the players represent an esports organization outside the region, chances are they are going to have to put their careers on hold.
The conflict has a ripple effect on the EEU scene, whereby we can expect talent shortage potentially spilling into 2023. Without any events going on, the talent pipeline is currently shut down from amateur all the way to the pro level.
Crippling the EEU Esports scene
EEU talents have come a long way since winning the International 10 (TI10) last year. We saw a surge in young talents and demand for fresh rosters, consisting of young blood. The DPC2021-22 regional league system contributed to the emergence of new players in the DPC EEU Regional Finals, such as PuckChamp and HellRaisers.
Yet, the Russian-Ukraine conflict likely has a direct impact on many CIS players. Tournament organizer WePlay, BLAST and BTS recently announcing they will cease operation and partnerships with Russian partners. Of the forty players representing eight teams in DPC EEU Division 1 Spring Tour, twenty-three are Russians, ten players are Ukrainians and other neighboring countries. The number gets only higher if we add up the Division 2 teams.
Recently, Team Spirit’s support player, Miroslaw “Mira” Kolpakov, who resides in Ukraine, couldn’t participate in the GAMERS GALAXY Invitational Series Dubai 2022, due to Ukraine’s travel ban on Ukrainian males aged 18-60. Meanwhile, Natus Vincere player, Ilya “ALOHADANCE” Korobkin has stopped streaming from his home in Kharkiv, the city recently attacked by Russian bombardment. Hundreds of other players are in a competitive limbo with their careers on the line.
Spring Major without EEU
Now, it begs the question of how the Spring Major would be like without EEU teams. Considering EEU is home to multiple powerhouses, notably the TI10 Champions, Team Spirit, and scene veterans Natus Vincere, Virtus.pro and Gambit.
The competition for major champions title was impacted, as most fans anticipated a PSG.LGD vs Team Spirit rematch. Putting Team Spirit aside, the rest of EEU’s representatives, Virtus.pro, PuckChamp, and HellRaisers would have been mediocre at best. If we must pick an interesting candidate, it would be PuckChamp, which has the potential to be a formidable opponent.
Not having CIS Dota 2 teams with a path to competition will severely hinder the scene’s growth this season. Team Spirit’s miracle run already left its mark since TI10, causing the bloom in powerhouses picking up young rosters.
An entire region that was coming into dominating form in competitive Dota 2, may simply wither out this season.