The ONE Esports Singapore Major is the first Major event of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), featuring 18 of the best teams from the circuit's six regional leagues competing for the lion's share of a US$500,000 prize pool and 2,700 DPC point pool.
With just days remaining until the tournament kicks off on 27 March, read on to find out everything you need to know about the Singapore Major:
The Major is split into three stages, with six teams starting the tournament in each stage. The three stages are the Wildcard Stage, the Group Stage, and the Playoffs.
The Major will open with the Wildcard Stage, scheduled from 27-28 March, where six teams will fight for the chance to advance to the Group Stage. The six Wildcard teams will compete in a single round-robin, with all the teams taking turns to face one another in a best-of-two match. Once all the Wildcard matches are done, the two teams with the best record will advance to the Group Stage while the four others will be eliminated early.
Up next will be the Group Stage, scheduled from 29-30 March, where eight teams will fight for the chance to advance to the Playoffs. The eight teams in the Group Stage are comprised of the second-placed teams of the DPC's six regional leagues as well as the two teams that advanced through the Wildcard Stage.
The Group Stage will follow a single round-robin format, just like the Wildcard, where all the teams will take turns facing one another in a best-of-two match. At the conclusion of the Group Stage, six teams will advance to the Playoffs.
The top two teams of the Group Stage will start the Playoffs in the upper bracket while the third to sixth-placed teams will have to start the Playoffs from the lower bracket. Meanwhile, the two bottom teams will be eliminated.
UPDATE (26 March): Due to Beastcoast's withdrawal from the Singapore Major, the number of teams advancing from the Group Stage to the Playoffs has been increased to seven. The top three teams of the Group Stage will now start the Playoffs in the upper bracket, the fourth to seventh-placed teams will advance to the lower bracket, while the eight-placed team will be eliminated.
The Major playoffs, scheduled from 31 March to 4 April, will follow a double-elimination format. Eight teams will start from the upper bracket while four others will start from the lower bracket. The upper bracket teams are comprised of the top seed of the DPC's six regional leagues as well as the top two teams from the Group Stage, with the lower bracket teams comprised of the third to sixth-placed teams of the Group Stage.
The first round of the Playoffs will start in the upper bracket, with the eight upper bracket teams being paired off across four matches. The winners of each upper bracket match will advance to the further rounds of the upper bracket, while the losers will drop down to the lower bracket.
The lower bracket will open with the four initial lower bracket teams taking on the losers of the first round of upper bracket matches. The winners of each lower bracket match will advance to the further rounds of the lower bracket, while the losers will be eliminated.
Each match in the Playoffs will be a best-of-three, except for the Grand Finals which will be a full best-of-five series.
While the Singapore Major features eighteen participating teams, only eight of them will be able to earn a cut of the US$500,000 prize pool and 2,700 DPC point pool, which will go towards securing a direct invite to The International 10 (TI10) in August.
The champions of the Singapore Major will receive the grand prize of US$200,000 and 500 DPC points, though each team that manages to get a Top 8 placement will earn at least US$12,500 and 200 DPC points.
Here's the full prize and DPC point pool breakdown for the Major:
The new prize and DPC point pool distribution differs largely from previous the DPC Major format, where all participating teams can receive prize money and DPC points regardless of placement. With that said, the new format for this year's DPC means that all of the teams participating in the Major have already earned prize money and DPC points from their respective regional leagues.
The 18 participating teams in the Singapore Major are comprised of the best teams from the DPC's six regional leagues in Europe, China, Southeast Asia, the CIS, North America, and South America. Europe and China each have four representatives, Southeast Asia and the CIS each have three, while North America and South America each have two.
The top teams of each regional league have been directly seeded to the Major Playoffs, the second-placed team of each league will start from the Group Stage, while two teams each from Europe and China as well as one team each from Southeast Asia and the CIS will start from the Wildcard Stage.
Europe is represented by Team Secret, Alliance, Team Nigma, and Team Liquid. China is represented by Invictus Gaming, Team Aster, Vici Gaming, and PSG.LGD. Southeast Asia is represented by Fnatic, Neon Esports, and T1. The CIS is represented by Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, and AS Monaco Gambit. North America is represented by Evil Geniuses and Quincy Crew while South America will be represented by Beastcoast and Thunder Predator.
Team Secret (Europe)
Team Secret is hands-down the best team in all of Dota right now. As one of only two teams to finish the regular season undefeated, the top dogs of Europe stand as the heavy favorites to win the first Major of this year's circuit. Clement "Puppey" Ivanov is once again on the hunt for his second TI championship at the head of the best iteration of Team Secret yet, and winning the organisation's fifth Major championship will be as good a start as any for their campaign to lift the Aegis of Champions this year.
Roster: (1) Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen, (2) Michal "Nisha" Jankowski, (3) Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg, (4) Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat, (5) Clement "Puppey" Ivanov
Invictus Gaming (China)
Invictus Gaming has been the biggest surprise of the Chinese regional league, bagging the region's top seed despite not receiving a direct invite to the upper division and having to fight through qualifiers to get there first. With its mixed roster of Chinese and Malaysian players, the organisation that won TI2 is looking to reassert themselves as the top team in China as they lead the charge for the region in the Singapore Major.
Roster: (1) Jin "flyfly" Zhiyi, (2) Zhou "Emo" Yi, (3) Thiay "JT-" Jiun Wen, (4) Hu "kaka" Liangzhi, (5) Chan "Oli" Chon Kien
Fnatic (Southeast Asia)
Despite the departure of star offlaner Daryl "iceiceice" Koh to Evil Geniuses in November last year, Fnatic didn't seem to lose a step with Natthaphon "Masaros" Ouanphakdee coming in to replace him. While the team remains the best team in Southeast Asia, it remains to be seen whether this new lineup is as strong as the one it fielded last year. The Singapore Major will test whether or not Fnatic can truly count themselves among the best teams in the world.
Roster: (1) Marc Polo "Raven" Fausto, (2) Kam "Moon" Boon Seng, (3) Natthaphon "Masaros" Ouanphakdee, (4) Anucha "Jabz" Jirawong, (5) Djardel "DJ" Mampusti
As the only other team to finish the regular season undefeated, Virtus.pro stand as arguably the second-best team in the DPC behind only Team Secret. The organisation has reasserted itself as the top dogs of the CIS with a roster comprised of the region's most promising prodigies and will be looking to rise to even greater heights. With that said, the Singapore Major is the squad's first LAN tournament and will determine whether or not they can rise to their potential as TI championship contenders.
Roster: (1) Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko, (2) Danil "gpk" Skutin, (3) Dmitry "DM" Dorokhin, (4) Vitalie "Save-" Melnic, (5) Illias "Kingslayer" Ganeev
Evil Geniuses (North America)
Evil Geniuses now has two of the best players from Southeast Asia in Abed Azel "Abed" Yusop and Daryl "iceiceice" Koh, making its roster that already included some of the best players in the West in Artour "Arteezy" Babaev, Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen, and Tal "Fly" Aizik that much more stacked. Such a lineup brimming with talent has already allowed Evil Geniuses to top the North American regional league, now they will be looking to fight for the Major championship and the organisation's second Aegis of Champions.
Roster: (1) Artour "Arteezy" Babev, (2) Abed Azel "Abed" Yusop, (3) Daryl "iceiceice" Koh, (4) Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen, (5) Tal "Fly" Aizik
Beastcoast (South America)
Despite mixed performances throughout the last year, Beastcoast got their groove going and dominated the South American regional league. The roster may now be almost two years removed from their Cinderella run to the Top 8 at TI9 under the Infamous banner, but they remain dangerous for any opponent who underestimates them. While Beastcoast may be the weakest of the six playoff teams in the Major, teams who let their guard down against them will do so at their own peril.
Roster: (1) Héctor Antonio "K1" Rodríguez, (2) Jean Pierre "Chris Luck" Gonzales, (3) Adrián "Wisper" Céspedes Dobles, (4) Elvis "Scofield" De la Cruz Peña, (5) Steven "StingeR" Vargas
Group Stage teams
Alliance has steadily improved since TI3 champion Gustav "s4" Magnusson returned to the team in April last year, with Artsiom "fng" Barshak rounding out the lineup in September. With those two providing some much-needed veteran leadership, the team's star carry player, Nikolay "Nikobaby" Nikolov, has shined and helped the team finish second in the European regional league. While Alliance is definitely a top tier team right now, they still have some ways to go before they can be considered a true contender. A deep run in the Singapore Major can change that.
Roster: (1) Nikolay "Nikobaby" Nikolov, (2) Linus "Limmp" Blomdin, (3) Gustav "s4" Magnusson, (4) Simon "Handsken" Haag, (5) Artsiom "fng" Barshak
Team Aster (China)
Team Aster has been the other big surprise of the Chinese regional league, finishing in second place despite having to earn a spot in the region's upper division through the preseason qualifiers. The key to their ascent has undoubtedly been Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng, one of the most decorated veterans in China, who joined the team's roster as a player last August after initially being their coach. Alongside Invictus Gaming, LaNm and Team Aster will be leading the charge for China in the Singapore Major.
Roster: (1) Du "Monet" Peng, (2) Liu "White Album" Yuhao, (3) Lin "Xxs" Jing, (4) Ye "Borax" Zhibiao, (5) Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng
Neon Esports (Southeast Asia)
Neon Esports has been the biggest surprise of the Southeast Asian regional league, boasting a perfect record through the first five weeks of the league before ultimately conceding the top spot in the standings to Fnatic. They dominated their region with unorthodox drafts and a hyper-aggressive playstyle, making them a difficult matchup for unprepared opponents. With TNC Predator notably missing out on a trip to Singapore, Neon Esports will be the ones waving the flag for the Philippines in the Major.
Roster: (1) Andrei "Skem" Ong, (2) Erin Jasper "Yopaj" Ferrer, (3) Rafael "Rappy" Palo (Sub), (4) Prieme Ejay "PlayHard" Maque, (5) Jaunuel "Jaunuel" Arcilla
John Anthony "Natsumi-" Vargas is out due to illness. Rafael "Rappy" Palo is listed as his substitute and will take the offlane role, Andrei "Skem" Ong will move to carry while Prieme Ejay "PlayHard" Maque shifts to position 4 support. Rappy was ruled out for the remainder of the Major on 30 March after he was found to have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. Yang "Deth" Wu Heng will be his replacement.
Natus Vincere (CIS)
Na'Vi is back! While it took a long time before fans of one of the most iconic organisations in Dota can earnestly say that, Natus Vincere has now returned to competing in the big stage. Alik "V-Tune" Vorobey and Bogdan "Iceberg" Vasilenko are notably leading the organisation's big comeback, as they have emerged as two of the CIS' rising stars since Natus Vincere signed the roster of FlyToMoon in September last year. While there unfortunately won't be any fans present in the Singapore Major to chant the iconic Na'Vi cheer, they will be one of the teams to be feared there.
Roster: (1) Alik "V-Tune" Vorobey, (2) Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev (Sub), (3) Viktor "GeneRaL" Nigrini, (4) Vladimir "RodjER" Nikogosyan, (5) Andrey "Mag" Chipenko (Sub)
Quincy Crew (North America)
North America is no longer just Evil Geniuses and then 'everyone else.' Quincy Crew came very close to snatching a Major playoff spot away from their regional rivals during the regular season, proving that there is enough room for two top tier teams in North America. This team will be looking to make a statement in the Singapore Major, making them one of the more dangerous teams in the group stage.
Roster: (1) Yawar "YawaR" Hassan, (2) Quinn "Quinn" Callahan, (3) Rodrigo "Lelis" Santos, (4) Wilson "Poloson" Koh Chin Wei (Sub), (5) Avery "LoA" Silverman
Quincy Crew initially enlisted Milan "MiLAN" Kozomara as MSS' substitute, but his flight to Singapore was unfortunately canceled. Wilson "Poloson" Koh Chin Wei is now MSS' substitute.
Thunder Predator (South America)
With Beastcoast struggling throughout the last year, Thunder Predator emerged to take their place as the best team in South America. While Beastcoast reclaimed their throne in the regular season, Thunder Predator has proven they are good enough to qualify for the Major. Now they will be looking to prove they are good enough to stay there, other teams would do well not to underestimate them.
Roster: (1) Alonso "Mnz" León, (2) Leonardo "Leostyle-" Sifuentes, (3) Frank "Frank" Arias, (4) Joel Mori "MoOz" Ozambela, (5) Romel "Mjz" Quinteros
Team Nigma (Europe)
While Team Nigma may be starting the Singapore Major from the Wildcard, they are much better than this placement implies. After all, this is the roster that won TI7 and went to the finals of TI9. With the European regional league being the bloodbath that it is, it isn't surprising that Nigma found themselves here. But make no mistake, they are more than capable of winning a Major, even if they have to do it as a Wildcard team. If you don't have a team to follow yet, picking the one with Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi and Kuro "Kuroky" Salehi Takhasomi is a very good choice.
Roster: (1) Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi, (2) Aliwi "w33" Omar, (3) Roman "rmN-" Paley (Sub), (4) Maroun "GH" Merhej, (5) Kuro "Kuroky" Salehi Takhasomi
Team Liquid (Europe)
Team Liquid is the other team to claim a Major wildcard spot after they survived the meat grinder that is the European regional league, notably besting two-time TI champions OG to punch their ticket to Singapore. They will be one of the most dangerous teams in the Wildcard as they are not afraid to pull out a last pick Huskar, which they did to deny OG a spot in the Major. Expect more off-the-wall picks from them as they look to survive another meat grinder in the Singapore Major's Wildcard Stage.
Roster: (1) Michael "miCKe" Vu, (2) Maximilian "qojqva" Bröcker, (3) Samuel "Boxi" Svahn, (4) Tommy "Taiga" Le, (5) Aydin "iNSaNiA" Sarkohi
Vici Gaming (China)
Many expected Vici Gaming to be one of the top two teams of the Chinese regional league, but they were barely edged out of a direct seed to the Playoffs and Group Stage by Invictus Gaming and Team Aster. Much like Team Nigma, Vici Gaming is way too good to just be a Wildcard team. The team has a good shot at making a deep run, if not even make the finals, in the Singapore Major. However, they first have to get through the Wildcard, a task that is still easier said than done for them when considering how stacked this stage of the tournament is.
Roster: (1) Yang "poyoyo" Shaohan, (2) Zeng "Ori" Jiaoyang, (3) Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwen, (4) Xiong "Pyw" Jiahan, (5) Ding "Dy" Cong
PSG.LGD went through a big upheaval last year. The team lost superstars Lu "Somnus丶M" Yao and Xu "fy" Linsen last September, who both left to help form the Chinese superteam Elephant, before it reformed around Wang "Ame" Chunyu and TI6 champions Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida and Zhang "y`" Yiping. Much like Team Nigma and Vici Gaming, PSG.LGD are too good to just be a Wildcard team, as evidenced by them being the ones to deny Elephant a trip to Singapore. They have the chops to make a deep run, they just have to survive the meat grinder first.
Roster: (1) Wang "Ame" Chunyu, (2) Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang, (3) Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida, (4) Zhao "XinQ" Zixing, (5) Zhang "y`" Yiping
T1 (Southeast Asia)
T1 took the last Major spot for Southeast Asia, notably denying TNC Predator a trip to Singapore in the process. However, they qualified with Souliya "JaCkky" Khoomphetsavong, whom they released earlier this month to make way for the signing of Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon. While T1 got a better carry player and improved as a team after that exchange, it doesn't bode well for their chances in the Major's stacked Wildcard Stage. While they can still make a splash, they will have to fight an uphill battle to advance further into the tournament.
Roster: (1) Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon, (2) Karl "Karl" Jayme, (3) Lee "Forev" Sang-don (Sub), (4) Kenny "Xepher" Deo, (5) Matthew "Whitemon" Filemon
AS Monaco Gambit (CIS)
The roster of AS Monaco Gambit, led by former Natus Vincere captain Akbar "SoNNeikO" Butaev, started the DPC as the Live To Win stack before being signed by their current organisation in February. With Virtus.pro's former star midlaner, Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko, standing-in as the team's midlaner, AS Monaco Gambit was able to take the last Major spot for the CIS over some serious competition. However, they will have to overcome much more stronger teams if they don't want their trip to Singapore to end early.
Roster: (1) Kiyalbek "dream" Tayirov, (2) Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko, (3) Vasilii "AfterLife" Shishkin, (4) Aleksandr "Immersion" Khmelevskoi, (5) Akbar "SoNNeikO" Butaev
Health and safety protocols
While the Singapore Major will be a played live as an in-person tournament, the event will have no fans in attendance due to health and safety reasons as necessitated by the lingering coronavirus pandemic.
The participating teams will not be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in order to play in the tournament. However, players would need to "follow a strictly-controlled itinerary that has been pre-approved" and staff were "assigned to the teams to assist and ensure that the itinerary is followed" organiser ONE Esports told Yahoo Southeast Asia.
"In line with ONE’s protocol and the Singapore Government’s regulations, all foreign players will be required to undergo COVID-19 tests, including before departure and upon arrival in Singapore. They must then be isolated until they receive a negative test result, which can take up to 48 hours," said ONE Esports.
"If a player were to get tested positive for COVID-19, we have plans put in place and this will be adjusted on a case by case basis," ONE added in response to further queries.
In addition, ONE Esports said that the Teams that are eliminated from the Singapore Major will also be required to return to their home countries immediately to minimise interactions, ONE Esports said.
“The health and safety of the players, talent and all who are involved in this closed-door tournament, including the wider community, is of utmost importance to us," ONE said.
How to watch
Members of the Dota 2 community are also allowed to host their own broadcasts for the Singapore Major provided they follow ONE Esports' community broadcast rules.