EPICENTER Major 2019 is the last Dota Pro Circuit Major as well as the last event of the regular season. After this stop, we will have around seven weeks of non-stop preparations prior to The International 2019. And as you might expect, a lot can change in those seven weeks. So, even though Team Secret has dominated the regular season and should be the most likely winner of the tournament, other competitors will have plenty of time to prepare and possibly outsmart them.
EPICENTER Major is scheduled to take place between June 22nd – 30th in Moscow, Russia. With one million dollars in prizes, 15.000 qualification points on the table and 16 of the world’s best teams in the race, EPICENTER Major is guaranteed to provide exceptional esports betting opportunities for those who like to bet on Dota 2.
EPICENTER Major brings together 16 participants from all of the six main regions. Following the end of the recent StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2, we now know all the competitors that will be attending EPICENTER Major, as Ninjas In Pyjamas and Alliance qualified for the last two spots.
|Europe||Team Secret, Team Liquid, OG, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Alliance|
|CIS||Virtus.pro, Gambit Esports|
|North America||Evil Geniuses, Forward Gaming|
|South America||paiN Gaming, Infamous|
|China||PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, Royal Never Give Up|
|Southeast Asia||TNC Predator, Fnatic|
It’s worth mentioning here the fact that European teams have performed really well at the Minor that preceded EPICENTER Major, earning both of the remaining tickets. Ninjas in Pyjamas and Alliance were in the Grand Final of that event, thus leading to a situation we haven’t seen all season: five European teams at a Major. And chances are very good for Europe to send five participants at The International 2019 as well.
EPICENTER Major will take place in two stages. And for the first of these stages, the groups have already been revealed.
|Royal Never Give Up|
In this group, Team Secret will have a field day and Fnatic shouldn’t have too many difficulties either. Even though, based on what we’ve seen from them lately combined with the fact that RNG is on the rise, might lead to an upset and a reversal of the 2nd and 3rd positions in this group. So instead of Fnatic, we might see RNG advance to the Upper Bracket of the Playoffs instead. On paper, RNG might be looking like the underdogs, but we believe they might upset the EPICENTER Major betting odds.
This will be a very rough group. Apart from Evil Geniuses, whose first place is almost guaranteed, Liquid, Infamous and Gambit will be engaged in a fierce battle for the second place. Normally, Liquid would easily place 2nd or perhaps even 1st. But given their recent roster change, we have reason to think that KuroKy’s team will have serious problems at EPICENTER Major.
Historically, it’s been their most successful event, with two titles and another Grand Final at the first three editions. But they’re not likely to match those performances at this fourth edition. MATUMBAMAN’s departure just two weeks before the start of the competition is almost guaranteed to result in disaster for Liquid. Regardless of who will replace him (and rumors say that it is going to be w33), Liquid’s in big trouble even though the betting odds do not show it. At least in the short run.
Even though they haven’t had a good time lately, we’re still inclined to pick Virtus.pro and Vici Gaming for the winners of this group. Sure, Alliance and Forward Gaming have been playing very well recently. But there’s still a huge skill gap between themselves and the other two competitors. Both VP and VG won a Major this season, which pretty much sums up their situation here in group C of EPICENTER Major.
This is another group that’s tricky to predict. In principle, PSG.LGD and NiP should be the two winners, but OG and TNC Predator have everything they need to generate an upset. In particular, TNC Predator have reinvented themselves after the arrival of Liquid’s former coach, Heen. Their roster is now playing superb dota and we might see them beat NiP and OG in the race for the second place. The 1st place is not likely to go to anyone other than PSG.LGD, simply because the skill difference between the Chinese squad and the other three competitors is quite high. Placing your money on PSG.LGD would be the wise bet.
Keep in mind that in this group, PSG.LGD and NiP are already qualified for The International 2019 while OG and TNC have everything to play for.
Here’s a brief analysis of the most important teams at EPICENTER Major.
Secret is currently the number one team in the world and their performance throughout the season has been impressive. They’ve won six titles in total out of seven Grand Finals and three of those Grand Finals were at Majors.
Right now, Secret is expected to either win or at least get a top three result at EPICENTER Major. At least on paper, it’s hard to think of anyone who could realistically beat them in a Bo3. Apart from Evil Geniuses and Virtus.pro, it’s hard to name anyone else capable of outsmarting Puppey in the current meta. His drafting decisions and playstyle choices are simply on point. And tournament after tournament, they have proved to be very effective against every other playstyle that’s currently in use.
Going into EPICENTER Major, we believe that Secret will win the title. But who knows? With a little bit of luck, perhaps VP or EG can stop them in their path to a 3rd Major title this season, out of just five such events.
After Team Secret, EG seems to be the team of the moment. They finished 3rd at three different Majors this season and 2nd at the recent ESL One Birmingham 2019. Surely, at some point, Arteezy will manage to get rid of his bad luck and finally play in the Grand Final of a Major.
With Liquid in disarray and Virtus.pro in poor shape, EG’s time to win a Major seems to have come, if they can beat Secret in an eventual Grand Final. And while it may not be that easy for them to find a winning formula against Secret, Sumail’s skills and hero pool go very well with the current meta. So the opportunity is definitely real for EG and their chances of winning the title at EPICENTER Major are fairly high.
Virtus.pro will be the fan’s favorite team at EPICENTER Major, as the event takes place on their home soil. However, VP tends to play poorly in front of their home crowd. For whatever reason, they always seem to mess up when you’d be inclined to think that they have the high ground. Perhaps this is caused by the fact that Solo is a fairly shy captain but it may also have to do with the pressure. Some teams thrive under it while others collapse.
If VP can manage the pressure and use it to their advantage, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t qualify for the Grand Final of EPICENTER Major. They’re one of the best teams in the world and the title patiently awaits them.