The pandemic disrupts the Dota Pro Circuit once again. On January 12, Valve announced their heavy yet responsible decision to cancel the Winter Major due to health concerns. To quote Valve’s statement:
“As the Winter Tour of the Dota Pro Circuit 2021-2022 season draws to a close, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the first Major. While hopes were high that we could host an international LAN event, the discovery and spread of new strains of COVID-19 and the resulting increase of travel restrictions have made it unfeasible for all qualified teams to gather for a LAN tournament.”
The backlash to this decision was swift, somewhat justified, but completely unnecessary. Additionally, there are some upsides from all of this.
It’s been two years since the pandemic overwhelmed the globe, and people’s reactions to have shifted since then. The ‘better safe than sorry’ mentality that has been garnering little support these days. While most venues and companies adopting social distancing practices and mandatory vaccines once again, plenty are getting to get increasingly frustrated with the endless cycle of interruptions to normal life.
Valve strive to ensure all DPC participants, pro players and talents alike are safe. Nevertheless, the sudden decision to halt LAN events wasn’t well-received because Valve and its official major organizers have experience hosting LAN tournaments last year, and their decision did come abruptly only a week left into the winter season.
Regardless, the decision didn’t come as a surprise, considering there isn’t thorough research on Omicron’s threat level versus earlier variants. And Valve certainly does not want to take that risk.
What a bummer this is. We miss the first grand major of the new year, and it’s frankly been quite some time since we had this much anticipation for a LAN. It certainly isn’t all bad news, especially for Division 2 top performers, for example: CIS Rejects, Polaris Esports, Entity among others. As the Division 2 top two seeds get promoted to Division 1 for tour 2, they aren’t missing out on major participation, and may only increase their chances to earn insane point amounts for the next big event.
Meanwhile, the mediocre Division 1 teams (third-sixth place) can rejoice too. Their their poor performance to date won’t be detrimental to their tournament life. We are of course talking about all the under performing powerhouses, namely Team Secret, Evil Geniuses, Natus Vincere, ViCiGaming, TNCPredator etc.. With more time for practice, these powerhouses will take advantage of this opportunity to polish their skills or even make large-scale roster shuffles ahead of the next season. If they make it there.
For rosters that absolutely exceeded expectations. Well… That’s a bummer.
With the Tour 1 Winter Major cancelled, the major’s participation DPC points are distributed to the Tour 2 and 3’s DPC regional leagues. The DPC points specifically go to the first-fifth places of the Division 1 bracket. Below are the stacked DPC points distribution:
Fortunately, Tour 2 is back by mid-March 2022, which is approximately 1.5 months hiatus. Expect third-party tournament organizers to host their tournaments during this vacant period, which will surely be a treat for us Dota 2 fans.
WePlay Esports, Epic Esports Events and BeyondTheSummit all showcased how they can deliver online tournaments at phenomenal production value. With past successes including the EPICENTER, OMEGA League and all the BTS Series. Furthermore, most high-profile teams are surely eager to participate in these side tournaments as well, since there’s no pressure of playing in the Winter Major.
However, not to overlook the caveat of online tournaments, that is we won’t be expecting cross-region participation. Sure, Eastern and Western European teams will probably still play in a similar tournament, but China, the Americas, and Southeast Asia will most likely have their isolated tournaments.
Anyways, let’s hope that the new strain doesn’t become a worse threat to esports than what we experienced in previous years. Then, perhaps we can get back to enjoying LAN Majors, and the International 11 on time.
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