The first season of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit's (DPC) Chinese regional league has concluded, with Invictus Gaming (IG), Team Aster, Vici Gaming (VG), and PSG.LGD representing the region in the upcoming ONE Esports Singapore Major.
Both IG and Aster were the biggest surprises of the Chinese regional league. They both finished the regular season with a league-best 6-1 record, with IG's only loss coming from Aster who were then only beaten by VG.
IG and Aster topping the Chinese regional league was definitely far from expected, as they were not directly invited to the league's upper division and had to get there through the qualifiers first. Both squads also had middling results prior to the resumption of the DPC, making their sudden surge in the league all the more surprising.
With IG and Aster ending the regular season tied for first place with 6-1 records apiece, they were forced to play tiebreakers on Sunday (14 March) to determine who will be the league's top dogs. IG bounced back from their loss to Aster in the regular season by soundly defeating them in the tiebreaker, 2-0, to secure first place in the league.
As the Chinese regional league's top team, IG earned a direct seed to the playoffs of the Singapore Major as well as the league's grand prize of US$30,000 and 500 DPC points to go towards securing a direct invite to The International 10 (TI10).
Meanwhile, Aster earned US$28,000 and 300 DPC points for finishing the league in second place. They will also be headed to the Major, where they will start from the group stage.
VG finished the league in third place with a solid 5-2 record to punch their ticket to Singapore, though they will have to start the tournament from the wildcard stage. The team will also be taking home US$27,000 and 200 DPC points.
The fourth and final Major spot for China was up for grabs between PSG.LGD and Elephant, who both ended the regular season with a 4-3 record. While many expected that these two teams would be the ones topping the regional league prior to the start of the season, they ended up having to scrap for the region's last Major spot in the tiebreakers on Sunday.
While PSG.LGD lost to Elephant during the regular season, the former dominated the latter in the tiebreakers to secure the last Major spot for China in the wildcard stage. On top of booking a ticket to Singapore, PSG.LGD also earned US$26,000 and 100 DPC points for finishing the league in fourth place.
Elephant will miss out on the Major despite being pegged as one of the preseason favorites to represent China. This result is undoubtedly a massive disappointment for the team, especially when considering that they are seen as the "Chinese superteam" whose roster is comprised of four of the region's best players.
With that said, Elephant still earn US$25,000 and 50 DPC points for their efforts. They, along with sixth-placed team EHOME, will remain in the league's upper division for next season, where they get another shot at making the second Major of this year's circuit.
Meanwhile, Team MagMa and LBZS will be relegated to the lower division next season after finishing the season in the bottom two of their division. They will be replaced by Sparking Arrow Gaming and Royal Never Give Up, the top two teams of the lower division.
Here's a full breakdown of the league's results:
(1.) Invictus Gaming
US$30,000, 500 DPC points
(2.) Team Aster
Major Group Stage
US$28,000, 300 DPC points
(3.) Vici Gaming
US$27,000, 200 DPC points
US$26,000, 100 DPC points
US$25,000, 50 DPC points
(7.) Team MagMa
China is the last of the DPC's six regional leagues to determine its representatives for the Singapore Major. This came as a result of the Chinese regional league going on hiatus for over two weeks in mid-February to accommodate Lunar New Year celebrations in the country.
While China remains one of the most competitive regions in the circuit, their teams will be facing stiff competition in the Major from the other regions. Europe will be represented by Team Secret, Alliance, Team Nigma, and Team Liquid. Southeast Asia will be represented by Fnatic, Neon Esports, and T1. The CIS will be represented by Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, and AS Monaco Gambit. North America will be represented by Evil Geniuses and Quincy Crew while South America will be represented by Beastcoast and Thunder Predator.
The Singapore Major, scheduled from 27 March to 4 April, is the first Major event of the 2021 DPC and features 18 of the best teams in the circuit's six regional leagues. They will be competing for the lion's share of a US$500,000 prize pool as well as a 2,700 DPC point pool.
While the Singapore Major will be a live in-person tournament, it will be played with no fans in attendance due to health and safety reasons necessitated by the continuing coronavirus pandemic.