Despite four teams being absent, no replacement spots are being offered at the ESL One Stockholm Major

ESL has officially released details of the ESL One Stockholm Major groups, confirming once and for all there will be no replacements for the absent Chinese teams. For reasons related to Covid and travel restrictions, teams from the DPC China region are unable to travel to Stockholm. 

This takes the Major, which would usually have 18 teams, a 14-team tournament with uneven numbered groups. With the absence of PSG.LGD, Xtreme Gaming, Team Aster, and Royal Never Give Up, the format has changed. However, the points allocation and prize pool has not altered.

The Groups

Group A

  • beastcoast – SA
  • BetBoom Team – EEU
  • Boom Esports – SEA
  • Evil Geniuses – NA
  • OG – WEU
  • T1 – SA
  • Tundra Esports – WEU

Group B

  • Fnatic – SEA
  • Gaimin Gladiators -WEU
  • Mind Games – EEU
  • Team Liquid – WEU
  • Team Spirit – EEU
  • Thunder Awaken – SA
  • Team SoloMid – NA

Overall the groups seem fairly balanced, but perhaps Group A seems more heavily weighted in favor of the likes of OG and Evil Geniuses. On the other hand Group B very much feels like a group of death, with almost every team having underperformed recently. It would be basically impossible to pick a winner from a team of surprising Major attendees like Mind Games, and the struggling Gaimin Gladiators.

Stockholm Major Format Details

(Image via ESL)

For the amended format, each team will now play each other team in their group once in a single round-robin. These are best-of-two matches. The top four teams will head to the Upper Bracket, with the fifth and sixth place headed to the lower bracket. Only the 7th place team will be eliminated at this point.

Playoffs are double elimination and are all best-of-three, apart from the Grand Finals, which is a best-of-five. This means we’re in for a goodly amount of Dota over the 10-day period.

Expectations

The Hovet Arena in Stockholm will host the Major (Image via Hovet Arena)

This is the first international event we’ve had in Dota 2 since Gamers Galaxy, and we’ll be missing Chinese teams. What’s more, recent performances in the BTS Pro Series and Gamers Without Borders events have shown that some of the teams we expect to be on-top just aren’t performing in the way you’d expect.

It feels like there hasn’t been a more free-for-all Major in a long time, as it’s very hard to gauge the power of some of these teams. EG and OG feel like the strongest teams headed into the event, and they won’t have teams like LGD or Aster to play spoiler for them.

But at the same time, a strong performance from someone like Thunder Awaken or Fnatic could easily sweep aside all the “big” regions, and upset the balance of power in the DPC. And it’s being played on a Patch released just a few days ago. It’s going to be a strange Major, and that’s an exciting prospect.

Michael Hassall -

Michael Hassall

| Twitter: @hoffasaurusx

Michael is a UK-based content creator who caught the esports bug in 2010, but took eight years to figure out he should write about it. Throwing away a promising career in marketing and PR, he now specialises in MOBAs, covering League of Legends, Dota 2, and esports in general since 2019. When not glued to tournaments taking place on the other side of the globe, he spends time nurturing an unhealthy addiction to MMOs and gacha games.