The first tournament to feature Valve’s new payment system for enhanced spectator features, The Defense is going to start in just over four hours, where twenty four teams will hash it out over four groups, before heading into a knockout stage with an eye on the 6000 euro prize. Although they might want to spend it quickly with the Eurozone as it is.
The competition itself is a little convoluted, but it’s spread over two months so there’s more than enough time to figure out its esoteric system of qualifiers and brackets. The idea is that everyone in each group of six plays one another, which is five games, and then the two teams with the most wins go to the upper bracket, and the third and fourth place head to the lower.
From there, any loss in the lower bracket means you’re knocked out. However, if you lose an upper bracket game you head down into the lower bracket, playing the winners of the games down there. Finally, there is a final in the upper, and a final in the lower, the victors of whom end up in the grand final, competing for the prize.
That took many diagrams and drawings on real pen and paper for me to properly figure out, but it makes sense, when you eventually wrap your brain around it. Much more exciting is exactly who’s going to be navigating the tournament, working their way through knockouts and dropdowns.
Group 1 looks like it’s going to be one of the weaker groups, which is saying something when you’ve got Mousesports and Evil Geniuses, with even zNation thrown into the mix. Group 2 seems a little more even, with Hydra, Virtus Pro, Absolute Legends and Moscow 5 all duking it out.
Group 3 has the two Dreamhack finalists and arguable best teams in the world of Dota 2, mTw and Natus Vincere, although how the other four teams are going to stack up remains to be seen. Finally, Group 4 has Counter Logic Gaming and Quantic, along with Keita-Gaming.
The only two matches today are M5 against coL, and CLG against Wolves, both of which should be well worth watching, if only to see how M5 and CLG are looking headed into the tournament. Who knows, maybe there’ll be an upset.
We’ll be checking back in on the tournament in a few days to see how things are shaping up. With a good portion of the most impressive teams in the Dota 2 scene clashing heads, you can be sure it’ll be exciting, if nothing else.