Dota 2: TI11 to reportedly feature 20 teams, online events to replace canceled Major

Potential changes to the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit have been leaked, including online regional tournaments to replace the canceled Winter Major and a new 'Wildcard' tournament preceding The International 11. (Photo: Valve Software)
Potential changes to the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit have been leaked, including online regional tournaments to replace the canceled Winter Major and a new 'Wildcard' tournament preceding The International 11. (Photo: Valve Software)

The Dota 2 esports ecosystem is apparently getting some much-needed improvements this year.

Caster Shannon "SUNSfan" Scotten revealed in the latest episode of his 'We Say Things' podcast with analyst Troels "syndereN" Nielsen on Friday (21 January) that the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit's (DPC) recently-canceled Winter Major will be replaced by a series of online regional tournaments in February.

In addition, The International 11 (TI11) will reportedly be preceded by a 'Wildcard' LAN tournament that will serve as the last chance for two more teams to qualify for T11, thus bringing the number of participating teams in the event from its previous total of 18 to 20.

In the podcast, SUNSfan says that the above information was already emailed by Dota 2 developer Valve Software to teams competing in the DPC and that he himself was informed by "several organisations from several continents".

Canceled Winter Major to be replaced by online regional tournaments

Valve canceled this DPC season's first Major on 12 January over growing concerns that new coronavirus strains would make hosting an international LAN tournament unfeasible.

The sudden cancellation of the Major was notably met by backlash from professional players, teams, and other members of the Dota 2 community, with some dismayed over the apparent lack of a backup plan from Valve.

The developer later quietly informed teams of plans for a replacement event for the Major, which SUNSfan has now leaked before an official announcement could be made.

According to SUNSfan, the online regional tournaments replacing the Major will be held across two weekends in February, with three regions playing in one weekend, and will feature the Top 4 teams from each regional league.

Each regional tournament will have a US$100,000 prize pool, with the Top 2 teams earning DPC points to go towards securing a direct invite to TI11. As a result, Valve's previous decision to redistribute the DPC points for the now-canceled Major to next two Majors of the season has been reverted.

It is also worth noting that the six online regional tournaments will have a total prize pool of US$600,000, which is 20 per cent more than the US$500,000 prize pool of the canceled Major.

SUNSfan did not reveal any more details about the replacement for the canceled Major, adding that the "format has not been 100 per cent finalized".

TI11 to be preceded by 'Wildcard' tournament, will feature 20 total teams

The other big reveal by SUNSfan was the new 'Wildcard' tournament for TI11 and the bigger number of teams that will be attending the tournament as a result. Should the leak turn out to be true, it will mark the third time that a TI will have a Wildcard phase and the first time that a TI will feature a total of 20 teams.

TI5 and TI6 both had Wildcard phases that featured four teams competing in a double-elimination bracket for the last two spots in the tournament. It should be noted that these past Wildcards were not separate events from TI, unlike the new one that SUNSfan revealed to be coming.

TI11's apparent 20-team field will also be the most since TI4, which featured a total of 19 teams. All other iterations of TI either had 16 (like TI1, TI2, TI3, TI5, TI6) or 18 (TI7, TI8, TI9, TI10) teams.

SUNSfan also added that, since TI11 will have 20 teams, the Group Stage will feature two groups of 10 teams each and will see two teams eliminated from each group. The caster did not reveal any more information about this year's TI, including its planned venue and schedule.

Valve confirms SUNSfan's leak

Valve confirmed the information leaked by SUNSfan in a post on the official Dota 2 blog on Saturday (22 January), officially calling the replacement tournaments for the canceled the Major as Regional Finals.

The Regional Finals will take place on the weekends of 11 to 13 February and 18 to 20 February. The first weekend will be for Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America while the second will be for China, Eastern Europe, and North America.

Each Regional Finals placement will be awarded the following:

  • 1st place: US$50,000, 250 DPC points

  • 2nd place US$25,000, 130 DPC points

  • 3rd place: US$15,000

  • 4th place: US$10,000

The 2021-2022 DPC season has been split into three Tours for the Fall, Winter, and Spring, with the regional leagues taking place from 29 November 2021 to 17 July 2022. For everything you need to know about the new DPC season, check here.

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