The VS Gaming qualifiers drew to a conclusion yesterday, and we now know who the starting Premier Division and Masters Dota2 teams are. There are some big surprises here, along with some notable omissions from the list. The format of the qualifiers were divided into two stages, the group stage and the single elimination stage. Teams who placed in the top two of their group in the first stage progressed to the elimination bracket. Seeding for this group stage appears to have been randomized, which then led into the elimination stage. Teams who progressed to a certain point in the elimination stage would subsequently be placed into divisions for the start of the 2018 VS Gaming Leg 1. For instance teams who lost in round 2 of the elimination stage were placed in 1st Division, while teams who lost in round 3 of the elimination stage were placed into Premier Division. Teams who won in round 3 advanced to Masters. You can get all the details here.
- White Rabbit Gaming
- Band of Brothers
- eXdee Gaming
- New Text Document
- Senior Squad
- Aperture Gaming
A major point here is that some Dota2 teams who should be in VS Gaming Masters have been knocked out early, and thus are in lower divisions. LeetPro, for instance, are a Masters level team that drew up against Epoch in round 3. Epoch managed a huge upset by beating LeetPro in an intense series (game 3 was particularly spectacular to watch). Both teams have some quality players and both teams arguably deserve to be in Masters. In another example, Sinister5 knocked GG out in round 2. This means GG is going to be in 1st Division. GG are another really talented Dota2 side that 100% deserve to be in Masters, but have to start this year in a much lower division. Aperture Gaming were also knocked out by eXdee Gaming, and probably should have been in Masters as well.
This problem appears to be happening for two major reasons. One, VS Gaming implemented a single-elimination system where a double-elimination bracket would have given teams a second lifeline if such high stakes games came along so early in the elimination bracket (as they did in these qualifiers). This would have allowed teams like GG and LeetPro to almost certainly have earned a Masters spot (or at least one of them would have if they came up against each other in the lower bracket). The second issue is seeding, which was always going to present a challenge. A major reason VS Gaming reseeded teams this year is because they weren’t going to repeat their 2016/17 strategy of having direct invites. Seeds were used for the group stage of the qualifiers, based on team performances in 2017. Teams like Goliath Gaming, who didn’t take part in any Leg in 2017, didn’t have any performances to earn a high seed. This then put highly skilled teams into the pool to potentially match up against each other too early (and get knocked out).
Ultimately teams are responsible for their own performance, and in six months I’m sure both GG and LeetPro will be at the top of Premier Division and will earn the move into Masters. These teams would have expected to be in Masters and it’s disappointing they won’t be – but at the same time reseeding teams after all the player shuffles at the end of last year (and criticisms at invites in 2016/17) made sense. Perhaps the addition of a lower bracket might have been the way to go – but perhaps time limited the use of this feature? Even with the addition of a lower bracket, it’s still possible the likes of LeetPro and GG would have met and one team would still not have made Masters. If nothing else these are some hugely interesting results and many teams in Masters are new/faces name to the top level of competitive Dota2 in South Africa. GGWP to all the teams who participated.
*Edited/updated with seeding information provided by VS Gaming.