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The Bucharest Major was the fourth Major from this year’s Dota Pro Circuit cycle and as such, the expectations for it were really high. Especially since PGL were behind it. Let’s take a look at what the tournament was through my eyes.

The prize: $1,000,000 USD and 1,500 DPC points

The teams:

Team Liquid Newbee Evil Geniuses Natus Vincere
Mineski compLexity Gaming Vici Gaming
LGD.Forever Young
Virtus.pro Team Secret OG Vega Squadron
VGJ.Thunder TNC Pro Team OpTic Gaming paiN Gaming1

 

The format: What stood out for this Major in comparison to the others so far, is the format chosen for it. We (as viewers) were fortunate to have the pleasure of witnessing a group stage played in 4 days in best-of-1 series in swiss format. As I like to say about this format – it essentially is a big best-of-5 for each team that had to be played with a different opponent for each game. You win 3 games and you pass, you lose 3 games and you are out. What this format did was to create a spectacle for the viewers and spread chaos for the teams who didn’t really enjoy it. If you missed any of those matches… Well, I won’t lie, you missed a lot. Some of the highlights that are must watch are EG vs Liquid, OpTic vs OG, OpTic vs VP and OG vs Liquid. If you missed them, stop right here and go watch them!

Here are the standings after all of the matches have been played.

*Screenshot taken from Liquipedia

After the group stage was done, what remained was a direct elimination final bracket of 8 teams. Here is how the bracket looked like with all series over:

*Screenshot taken from Liquipedia

Again, if you missed any of the matches, please go ahead and watch a VoD of it, the highlight of The Bucharest Major was the quality of the games in general so everything apart from the grand final is worth watching. Mentioning the grand final it is safe to say that the actual one was the match between Team Liquid and Virtus.Pro on Saturday. The Chinese teams in Bucharest simply were not on the level of the other teams so it was clear that whoever made it to the grand final would have been short work for the Russian machine.

Hero meta

 

Most contested

Most picked

Most banned

Gyrocopter – 100%(!!!) Gyrocopter – 28 picks Razor – 33 bans
Omniknight – 86% Disruptor – 24 picks Omniknight – 32 bans
Razor – 84% Sand King – 21 picks Chen – 31 bans
Chen – 80% Death Prophet – 21 picks Terrorblade – 24 bans
Sand King – 78% Witch Doctor – 18 picks Naga Siren – 24 bans

 

It is absolutely no surprise that Gyrocopter is at the top of two list – most contested (with the whopping 100% ban/pick rate!) and most picked with 28 picks. The hero fits right into the current fighting oriented meta with his early game magic damage burst and his late-game physical damage. Omni and Razor are there as well with far lower percentages (if we can call 86 and 84 low) and interestingly enough Chen and Sand King complete the top 5 of most contested with their disables farming potential and team fight capabilities. As for the most picked list, the only one that stands out is the Witch Doctor who became the pillar of early game fights with his Maledict and Paralyzing Cask. Generally, no big surprises at all as the latest patch didn’t really impact the meta in a major way.

The production

Ok, this is the place where I want to talk a little more about the “behind the scene” as I was inside the venue and saw things that you can’t see on the stream or are hard to grasp. The first thing that I want to touch here is the venue itself. Sala Polivalenta is known to us, Eastern European gaming fans as PGL was hosting DreamHacks there before they started hosting their own tournaments. It is not the greatest of venues as it is slightly old now, but to be honest, it does accommodate us well. The ventilation is good, there are extra rooms that can be used as VIP zone, Media room, Player lounge and so on and there are two side halls/corridors that are used to accommodate the boots of all of the sponsors. More on the setup this year can be seen in my video here.

What I didn’t like this year:

  • The venue felt empty. There were just a few sponsor boots and there were many empty spaces. Especially on one of the sides of the arena, there was like one sponsor boot just at the end of the corridor which I am sure was the least visited spot during the event. I couldn’t be arsed to walk up to there even for the video.
  • The Media room was… I don’t even want to touch this topic I was so triggered when I found out that the Media room is just a plain empty room with about 10 desks + chairs inside it. No TVs to watch the games, no screens to shoot interviews with anybody, no nothing. On the positive note, we had cable internet connection that was great and we had some drinks, which was awesome too. Every day at some point the organizers ordered a few pizzas which were enough for everyone as we were like 10 media people in there.
  • In regards to the previous point, I want to express how disappointed I am with the lack of interview slots with the teams/talent. I am not sure if I simply got spoiled with the way ESL handled the media during ESL One Katowice but during The Bucharest Major it was just the opposite –  lack of communication, lack or real way to make content for the tournament and represent it in a good light even though that is the whole idea of having media over there. The decision to make the media day on Thursday, one day before the actual LAN finals seemed absurd to me and in my opinion did not benefit the tournament in any way. Sadly, I was unable to access it as I was not in the country on that day but I don’t really think that not having the teams during the final phase is a good move by PGL.
  • The stage setup didn’t make any sense. The Omniknight and the Shadow Fiend were not representing the side of the teams, they were just… there. Yes, they were really beautiful but they were pointless in a way. If there were representing which side the team is playing, then this setup would have easily been 9/10 just because there is always room for improvement.
  • There were just a few signing sessions with the teams participating, which left fans a little disappointed as they were unable to meet most of their idols.
  • No weekend tickets. PGL said that they divided the tickets for each day to have an idea how many people will be there but if you ask me this can be done just the same as having a weekend ticket. Not a big deal but wanted to point this out.
  • The VIP ticket was not giving you access to anything special apart from the goodie bag. Usually, you get better seating for your money but this time PGL decided to give only a goodie bag for your extra money.
  • The VIP goodie bag was the same for all days. Yes, the content inside it was worth it imo, even though the presentation of it was horrible in this plastic bag, but I am sure that some people wanted to get a VIP ticket for all 3 days (if there was a reason why).

Enough with the bad things as I am getting a little depressed here and the situation was not half as bad as it sounds for the regular viewers (I’d say that for the media it was worse than what I shared, but let’s leave it like that).

Let’s make a few good points about The Bucharest Major:

  • It’s a Major in Eastern Europe, a massive opportunity for fans to experience something as big as this!
  • The quality of the games was next level. Apart from the grand final every series was exciting, somewhat evenly matched and left all of the Dota 2 fans around the world happy.
  • This was the most watched Dota 2 event since The International 7 and for a reason.
  • More stats on that here and here.
  • The filler content was AWESOME. I mean c’mon, with videos like this, how can you not love the extra work that PGL put into this event?
  • Eastern Europeans are an awesome crowd, on the final day the venue was packed and the cheers for Virtus.Pro were shaking the ground.
  • The goodie bag content was worth the money you were paying for it.
  • The venue is located in the middle of an awesome park so if you wanted you could go for a relaxing walk.
  • The weather was good.

If by any chance you missed any of my videos, don’t way but fix the mistake! Bellow you can find my interview with SirActionSlacks and here it the whole playlist:

So by end of the day, I would like to thank the people that made this possible – BlinkPool.com and GNation. I hope that PGL will listen to the feedback that we provide to them and make their next even better than what this was, as I know for a fact that they can handle the production better. I really feel that the tournament was carried by the absolutely amazing series that were played during it, but as far as production goes things were not on the top level. Regardless of that, I hope that you enjoyed this article and as a final compliment from me, enjoy some pictures from the event:

The last few Newbee images are kindly provided by Stoyan “Staka” Stoyanov