The dust has settled after an exhilarating and surprising TI8. The top teams are ready to kick back into gear for a new competitive season and ESL One Hamburg will mark the beginning of the road for another exciting year of Dota 2. These are just a few of the reasons why you should make the trip for the now traditional German date:
5. Hamburg will set the tone for the coming season
Although Hamburg won’t be a part of the DPC this year, the stakes are still pretty high, especially when you compare the team roster for this event with that of the The Kuala Lumpur Major, which will take place the two weeks after and feature nine of the twelve teams in attendance at ESL One. This makes the German date the perfect opportunity to get a taste for what the top teams have in store for us on the year-long road to TI9.
Evil Geniuses will be on the spotlight in this regard as their much-hyped signings Fly and s4 tackle their first full season with Suma1l and co. After their promising third-place finish at TI and topping the NA qualifier for the KL Major, we can expect EG to come out guns blazing to let everyone know that this will be their year. Team Secret are also looking strong, qualifying as the top dog in EU for the Major and later beating Fnatic for the PVP Esports Championship crown in Singapore. Hamburg will be a true litmus test for where they all stand heading into the 2018-19 season.
4. The rise of new challengers
Hamburg will also mark the baptism by fire of two new(ish) teams. First up we have Alliance, who will make their first premier LAN appearance in quite a long time. Although the Swedish organization is a household name in Dota, their current roster represents a completely new beginning. The confidence put in this team, which has only seen one change in personnel since 2017 (after Loda retired to become their coach), is finally paying off and Hamburg could prove to be the first step towards recapturing glory.
The other new face in Hamburg will be Ninjas in Pyjamas, a traditional esports org which spent over a year in Dota hiatus. NiP are back in the MOBA game with ppd leading the charge and their brand-new roster is working quite well so far, having qualified for the Major in second place for the EU region. Hamburg is an opportunity to show the more established teams that there’s a new jammy-jam-wearing threat in the scene.
Have you ever heard of the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s red light district? After an epic day of Dota, there’s nothing quite like taking to the town with your crew and just wander the streets of a city famous for its beer and party quarter that never sleeps. The Hanseatic port has something to offer for everyone. From the most hectic night life you can image to one of Europe’s most extravagant philharmonic concert halls and everything in between, you can certainly choose your own adventure to go along ESL One.
If you’d rather keep the proceedings “on brand” with the whole Dota thing, we have you covered! For those in town before the Stadium Days, we’ve prepared a Group Stage viewing party on Thursday, October 25 with free entry and snacks. At the event itself, you’ll be able to enjoy free brush-on tattoos to support your favorite teams and, of course, we’ll have some of the best cosplayers in Europe for our traditional contest.
2. Surprises, surprises…
We know who the favorites are. On paper at least. But if we’ve learned anything about this game in the last few months is that anyone can beat anyone. Considering the season is just getting started, we may be in for a shocker or two in Hamburg. Forward Gaming may be a new organization, but their roster has been playing together for a while now and is hungry to leave its mark after qualifying for the Major in second place for NA.
What about South American powerhouse Pain Gaming? They saved face for the entire human race by beating OpenAI Five at TI, so they surely deserve some love from the crowd as they carry an entire, passionate region on their backs. And contrary to superstition, 2018 wasn’t China’s year, which may just be bad news for the rest of the world. Teams from the entire region should be playing with fire in their bellies as they go out to regain their fan’s trust and Team Aster are looking feisty, earning a spot for Hamburg and the Major from open qualifiers.
1. Virtus.pro - The final boss
Three-time ESL One champions. Pro Circuit and TI favorites year after year. Must be Virtus.pro! If you had to pick out any time of the year where they are most dangerous, it might just be when a new car is on the line. The VP garage is already decked out with three MVP trophies in the form of brand-new cars for each tournament’s stand-out player and there are still two empty parking spots to fill. Both RAMZES666 and 9pasha must be itching to impress at ESL One Hamburg as they both hope to not be the last Virtus.pro player left without an MVP trophy to their name.
No matter the past tournaments, current form or recent roster changes in the scene - when it’s ESL One time, it’s time to beware the bear!