Dota 2: EPL Winter Holidays ‘23 teases DPC 2023 Division 2
Dota 2 fans are now turning their attention to the European Pro League (EPL) Winter Holidays 2023. The EPL Winter this season can give an early preview of the Division 2 teams from Europe participating in the Dota Pro Circuit 2023 (DPC 2023).
The EPL invited IVY, Water Rune Enjoyers, YNT, HYDRA, Level UP and Creep Gaming for Winter Holidays. The first four teams listed are in Division 2 for the DPC 2023, which is considered a benchmark for Dota 2 teams in third-party tournaments.
IVY is a prominent team in Western Europe. The team’s roster remained consistent in the past, but it recently replaced its hard-carry player to prepare for the DPC 2023. IVY’s new addition is Alexandr “pio65” Zalivako, who used to play for B8. pio65 did not show significant accomplishments in his previous team, but he had won numerous amateur tournaments as a young carry esports player.
Water Rune Enjoyers — previously known as 11Monkeyz — is an emerging team in Europe. Its roster includes Nikita “Palantimos” Grinkevich, Gleb “y0nd” Vazhnov and Igor “Stojkov” Stojkov. The team joined DPC for Tour 3 in 2022. It defeated Brame and Into The Breach to become a fixture in this year’s DPC.
YNT is also a formidable team within the Eastern Europe region for having household names in competitive Dota 2. The roster includes Semen “CemaTheSlayer” Krivulya, Nikolay “bb3px” Evdokimychev and Danil “Bignum” Shekhovtsov. YNT players formerly played Mind Games and even led the team to major tournaments.
Meanwhile, Level UP was considered a rising star in Division 2, gaining popularity for finishing second at DPC 2021. Many of its former roster members, like Glib “Funn1k” Lipatnikov and Nikola “LeBronDota” Popović, had left for Spider Pigzs, leading to Level UP’s hiatus until December last year.
The team then participated in the DPC 2023 Open Qualifiers with “underwhelming” results. Currently, its roster includes Dmitry “Nefrit” Tarasich, Elliott “adzantick” Hammond and Dino “dnz” Šavuk — who is the founding member of the org.
EPL Winter Holidays 2023
The six teams participating in EPL Winter Holidays 2023 will face against each other in a group stage before entering the playoffs. Group A consists of Level UP, Creep Gaming and YNT. Meanwhile, Group B encompasses HYDRA, IVY and Water Rune Enjoyers. Games in the group stage are single round-robin best-of-three matches. The top two seeds will head to playoffs while the lower ranks will be eliminated.
The best-of-three format applied in the group stage turns each series into a full-fledged game. Unlike in most group stages, the EPL Winter Holidays event this year showcases each team’s full potential.
Meanwhile, the playoffs adopt a single-elimination bracket format and share a similar number of rounds for each series. The grand final, which will happen on January 5, is in a best-of-five format. The top three winners will share a $5,000 prize pool.
There were three matches on January 2. Level UP defeated Creep Gaming 2-1. Meanwhile, Water Rune Enjoyers suffered two losses from IVY 2-0 and HYDRA 2-1. The results of matches on January 3 will determine whether Water Rune Enjoyers will proceed to the next stage since it currently has the lowest standing.
Shortened DPC 2023
The Division 1 bracket of DPC 2023 will start on January 9. It features renowned teams like Team Spirit, Liquid and the International 11 winner Tundra Esports. This year’s DPC 2023 will be different than its predecessor because the organizer has decided to shorten the tournament period.
Despite the shorter period, fans will see more games played every week. Each region will have nine series per week and most teams will play up to three series. In the past, the Tours required twice as long to complete the same number of series.
The shortened DPC Tours provide opportunities for third-party tournaments to hold their events more effectively. In the past top major league qualifiers usually reject invites to third-party tournaments to focus more on DPC. Fans also said these tournaments used to feel rushed.