The Eastern European qualifier for the ESL One Dota 2 Stockholm Major concluded on Tuesday (3 May), with BetBoom, Team Spirit, and Mind Games to represent the region in Sweden.
With the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) in Eastern Europe forced into a two-month hiatus by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, competition in the region finally resumed in the form of a six-day qualifier from 27 April to 2 May to allow Eastern European teams to compete in the Stockholm Major.
BetBoom, Team Spirit, and Mind Games emerged victorious in the double-elimination qualifier to become the Top 3 teams in Eastern Europe for the 2021-2022 DPC Spring Tour and represent the region in the Stockholm Major.
BetBoom go on unprecedented Major run
BetBoom have emerged as the biggest surprise of the Eastern European qualifier, practically coming out of nowhere and finishing atop the league.
The roster, led by veteran Uzbek captain Akbar "SoNNeikO" Butaev, previously played for WinStrike Team and started the season in Division II.
They qualified for Division I for the Spring Tour before the Eastern European regional league was shut down by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the roster later getting dropped by WinStrike during the league's hiatus.
The roster was acquired by Russian organisation BetBoom on 18 April.
BetBoom started their campaign for a spot in the Stockholm Major by scoring a massive upset over Team Spirit, the reigning champions of The International 10 (TI10) and the Eastern European regional league.
WHAT just happened? Absolutely NUTS performance by Daxak and the rest of BB - they take the series 2-1 against the TI champs! 🤯
That's all for the first day of #EEUDPCPlayoffs, we'll see you again tomorrow 👏👏
🗣️@SeekNStrikeDotA & @MrAvoPlus pic.twitter.com/aAtVzWVEw8
— BTS Dota (@BTSdota) April 27, 2022
Riding the momentum from their victory over the TI10 champions, BetBoom defeated another regional powerhouse in Natus Vincere (Na'Vi), 2-1, then swept Mind Games 2-0 to become the first Eastern European team to qualify for the Stockholm Major.
In addition to a spot in the Major, BetBoom have also earned the Spring Tour championship for Eastern Europe as well as US$15,000 and 400 DPC points.
Team Spirit sweep lower bracket to claim Major spot
Team Spirit quickly shook off their loss to BetBoom by sweeping through the qualifier's lower bracket to claim the second Major spot.
The TI10 champions started their lower bracket run by cruising through HellRaisers before benefiting from the disqualification of Outsiders (more on this below) and advancing further.
Spirit then scored back-to-back sweeps over Na'Vi and Mind Games to punch their ticket to Stockholm.
And it is a 2-0 already! @Team__Spirit are the winner and are headed to the Stockholm Major!! 🏆🎉
Last day of the #EEUDPCPlayoffs tomorrow, see you then for the 3rd place decider 👋
🗣️@MLPDotA & @johnxfire pic.twitter.com/BDlR3i1i3x
— BTS Dota (@BTSdota) May 1, 2022
Spirit finish the Spring Tour in second place, taking home US$14,000 and 240 DPC points.
While it is far from an ideal outcome for the TI10 champions, they will still be entering the Stockholm Major as one of the heavy favorites to claim the first Major of the season.
Mind Games claim final Major spot amid Outsiders controversy
Mind Games are a Ukrainian organisation that acquired the roster of Team Unique in December last year.
The team finished the Winter Tour in sixth place in Division I and were not expected to be in the running for a spot in the Stockholm Major.
Mind Games started the qualifier with a 2-1 win over PuckChamp before falling to Outsiders, the roster of Virtus.pro (VP) that was competing under a different team name due to circumstances related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Outsiders were later disqualified from the qualifier after carry player Ivan "Pure" Moskalenko was caught drawing the letter 'Z', a symbol seen as support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, during their match against Mind Games.
Outsiders' disqualification retroactively granted Mind Games the forfeit victory for their match, which pit the latter against BetBoom for the first Major spot.
BetBoom swept the series to claim the first ticket to Stockholm and send Mind Games to the lower bracket.
Mind Games were once again swept in a match where a spot in the Major was at stake, this time by Spirit. The former were given once last chance to make it to Sweden in the decider bracket.
Mind Games once again benefited from Outsiders' disqualification, as they were matched up against the VP roster in the decider bracket and thus handed another forfeit victory.
Mind Games then outlasted CIS Rejects 2-1 to become Eastern Europe's third representative at the Stockholm Major.
Third time is the charm! Mind Games take the series 2-1 over CIS Rejects and are going to the Stockholm Major 🏆🔥🏆
And that does it for the #EEUDPCPlayoffs! See you next time 👋👋
🗣️@LyricalDota & @TrentPax pic.twitter.com/ZnR48wWVT1
— BTS Dota (@BTSdota) May 2, 2022
Mind Games finish the Spring Tour in third place with US$13,500 and 160 DPC points in winnings.
The Stockholm Major
BetBoom, Team Spirit, and Mind Games will face 11 other teams from Western Europe, Southeast Asia, North America, and South America in the Stockholm Major.
The four Chinese teams that qualified for the Major will notably be unable to participate amid lockdowns and travel restrictions in China caused by a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The Stockholm Major will take place from 12 to 22 May in the Hovet Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.
The 14 participating teams will be battling for their share of the US$500,000 prize pool and 3,530 DPC point pool.