EPIC League Division 1 is a massive Dota 2 tournament that’s scheduled to take place between November 12th - December 13th. It features the best 10 teams in Europe and CIS and offers a prize pool of $500,000.
In other words, this is practically a regional Major in everything but name. Just the Group Stage alone will consist of 45 matches. All of them Bo3, of course.
Whether you’re a casual viewer or a bettor, this event is a must-see. It is going to be phenomenal.
EPIC League Division 1 Details
EPIC League Division 1 will take place in two stages: Group Stage (round-robin) followed by Playoffs. We don’t know the competitive format of the Playoffs yet, but the round-robin is not group-based, which means that every team will have to play against every other team. This couldn’t be more exciting to watch.
The prize pool, as I mentioned before, is $500,000. Majors usually offer $1 million, but they’re also global events. Being a regional tournament that only involves 2 of the 6 Dota 2 regions, EPIC League Division 1 should not be expected to offer the same prize pool as a Major. But it’s still a Major.
EPIC League Division 1 features 10 teams.
- Team Secret
- Natus Vincere
- Team Liquid
- Team Nigma
- Just Error
With one exception, which is Just Error, you should be familiar with all of these names because they’ve been around for long enough and have played at a high enough level to be known to you.
But who, you might ask, is Just Error? Well, they’re a newly formed lineup but their roster is one of the strongest in the tournament: RAMZES, SumaiL, No[o]ne, Zayac, and Solo.
The only person on this team who isn’t already a Major winner is Zayac. Everyone else has numerous achievements at the highest level and is well-versed in the subtleties of tier 1 Dota.
Here's a brief analysis of the 10 teams that will compete in EPIC League Division 1.
Until they fail to reach another Grand Final, I think we have to assume that Secret is still the best team in the world. Their results in 2020 speak for themselves: 8 titles plus other top placements in high-level tournaments.
The only thing that makes me hesitate a bit when I say that Secret is the world’s number 1 team is what happened at the recent ESL One Germany 2020. Puppey and his crew finished that competition in 4th place and suffered two defeats that could have been avoided. One of them came against Team Liquid, which ultimately went on to win the trophy. But the other came against mudgolems, a team that’s much weaker than Secret in my opinion. Nevertheless, they lost both of these matches and are now required to reaffirm their dominance.
If everything goes well, Team Secret should finish EPIC League Division 1 in 2nd or 1st place.
OG is finally playing with its standard roster again. The team did poorly over the last two months. After finishing 2nd at OMEGA League: Europe Immortal Division, all they were able to get was a 5th – 6th place at OGA Dota PIT S3: Europe/CIS and a 7th – 8th place at ESL One Germany 2020. Given that these are all regional events, the situation doesn’t look good.
But OG is known to be a team that struggles during the regular season and then explodes when it matters most. However, I think they have a good chance of getting a good result at EPIC League Division 1. If Ceb is in great shape and motivated to win, he should prove capable of carrying his team to the Semifinals or even the Grand Final.
Alliance is still evolving as a team and will probably need more time before it finally finds its success formula. Not that they aren’t successful already, but I think that they can do better. The entire roster is extremely strong and its captain s4 is an absolute legend. So I expect to see a lot more from them, even though I am aware that I need to be a bit patient.
Going into EPIC League Division 1, Alliance is likely to finish somewhere around 5th – 6th.
Team Liquid is the team of the moment. Or at least, they were for a week after winning the trophy at ESL One Germany 2020 and beating most of the best teams in the world in the process. Following that tournament, Liquid competed in DOTA Summit 13 Online: Europe & CIS. Once again, they reached the Grand Final, but this time they didn’t manage to win.
Liquid’s status in Europe is not entirely clear at this point, but I think it’s safe to assume that they too are a likely candidate for finishing in the top 4.
Believe it or not, Virtus.pro turned their academy team into their main lineup. VP.Prodigy did so well in regional tournaments while Virtus.pro did so poorly, that the management decided to take radical action. The only problem is that the competitive level of EPIC League Division 1 is extremely high. There’s not a single team here that can be beaten with ease. Everyone is highly skilled and highly experienced. So it’s hard to give VP much of a chance. But we’ll have to see what they can do.
After a very long time, Natus Vincere is relevant again at the tier 1 level. And that’s because they now have a great roster whose dedication is quite clear. At the recent ESL One Germany 2020, Natus Vincere obtained the best result of their last 3 competitive years: 2nd place. This result may not sound like much, but when you put it in context, it is. Because this tournament brought together the best teams in Europe and CIS. To finish 2nd under these conditions is quite impressive.
There’s no reason to assume that Na’Vi lost its momentum over the last few weeks, so I do expect them to do well at EPIC League Division 1.
Unless KuroKy rejoins the roster, I don’t see Team Nigma doing well either. The competition is too fierce to allow teams to have successful runs while playing with substitutes. And in addition to that, we’ve already seen this movie twice. First at OGA Dota PIT S3: Europe/CIS, where Nigma finished 7th – 8th. And then at ESL One Germany 2020, where Miracle- and his squad had the same result.
If KuroKy rejoins the main lineup, I believe that Nigma has a real chance of getting at least a 5th – 6th place in this tournament. Otherwise, they will likely finish 9th – 10th.
Vikin.gg is clearly in great shape. This team has one of the least impressive rosters of all the competitors present at EPIC League Division 1. But in spite of that, they won the trophy at BTS Pro Series Season 3: Europe/CIS back in September and then defeated Team Liquid in the Grand Final of DOTA Summit 13 Online: Europe & CIS, just several days ago. And keep in mind, Liquid won the title at ESL One Germany 2020. So to win a Bo5 against them means a great deal.
Based on what we’ve seen from Vikin.gg in recent months, this team should be expected to finish in the top half.
FATA and his recently created team participated in 3 tournaments so far: BTS Pro Series Season 3 (2nd place), ESL One Germany 2020 (3rd place), and DOTA Summit 13 Online (5th – 8th place). The first two results clearly suggest that mudgolems is a very strong team. Also, don’t forget that this was one of the two competitors that managed to defeat Team Secret in recent months.
But the consistency is certainly lacking for now. Or perhaps, the motivation to be consistent. It’s not yet clear to me whether mudgolems’ defeat against NiP in the Quarterfinals of DOTA Summit 13 Online was a fluke or proof that they’re not as amazing as the community had assessed. But I guess we’ll find out over the next 5 weeks.
Just Error is the big unknown at this point. EPIC League Division 1 has many favorites and they might just be among them. It’s difficult to say for certain because we’ve never seen them play. But based on the lineup, I think it’s more than likely that they’ll finish in the top 6.
The only issue I have with this team, apart from Zayac being a relatively inexperienced player at this point, is the fact that both Sumail and No[o]ne are midlaners. And that means one of them will have to compete in the offlane. And from what it seems, No[o]ne decided to give the midlane to Sumail, even though he’s not necessarily weaker in this role.