Down 1-2 in a best of 5 series, Team Secret came back and rolled off two straight games against Vici Gaming to claim the ESL Hamburg championship. Team Secret will cash in $125,000 from the largest prize pool since TI8.
Team Secret came out leading the group stages, but were quickly knocked down to the lower bracket in the first round against Virtus.Pro. They rampaged through the lower bracket with consecutive sweeps over EG, Pain, and again, Virtus.Pro. We'll dedicate a full post soon on the meta of the tournament, but the tournament did showcase a few unconventional picks, in spite of a hero pool that was dominated by Terrorblade, Phoenix, and Ogre. Puppey occasionally drafted Brewmaster in the 5 position for himself. Vici Gaming prioritized a support Weaver, where a timely Aghanim Scepter wrecked havoc on any initiation. Monkey King made a brief return, slightly expanding an already narrow carry pool in this meta.
The MVP award, and a new Mercedes E400 along with it, went to MidOne, who created so much space for his team, regardless of whether he won or lost his lane. As the largest prize pool tournament since TI8, ESL felt like the kickstart to Dota's next season, especially with the Dreamleague Minor around the corner.
The Dreamleague Minor starts Monday, and last week Dendi announced he would standin for Team Lithium due to visa issues with their midlaner, Mage. Then, just recently, Vega Squadron's CEO, Alexey Kondakov, announced that they would be signing Team Lithium with their organization. The organization had been seeking a foothold in Europe for sometime, and that negotiations had initially "fell through" with Team Lithium in August.
The opening matches start October 29 in a group, best of 3 format, followed by a double elimination bracket. The winner will take $125,000, 120 DPC points, and a spot at the Kuala Lumpur Major.
PGL announced the second Minor of the Dota Pro Circuit in Bucharest. The event is set for January 9-13, where teams will compete entirely behind closed doors, with no live audience. At stake is a $300,000 prize pool and a ticket to the second Major, which has yet to be announced. The open qualifiers will take place Dec 1-5 across six regions. NA, SA, SEA, and CIS all have one qualifying slot each, with China and EU get two slots each.