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Dota 2 Betting Tips and Tournament Predictions for ESL One Genting 2018

By Bobby Fletcher in Sports
| January 22, 2018 12:00 am PDT
ESL Genting 2018 Arena

ESL One Genting 2018 will be the 10th LAN event of the Dota Pro Circuit. The tournament has a $400,000 prize pool, offers a total of 400 qualification points and is scheduled to take place in Genting, Malaysia at the Arena of Stars venue, between January 26-28.

ESL One Genting 2018 is organized by ESL in association with Mineski Event Team. It is sponsored by reputable companies like Mercedes-Benz and Intel and is the most important Minor of this competitive season. That’s because it has a higher prize pool ($400K instead of $300K), awards more qualification points (400 instead of 300), and has more participants (16 instead of the usual 8). All of these factors turn this competition into a great eSports event, both from the teams’ perspective as well as the fans’.

Points and Prize Distribution

ESL One Genting 2018 is part of the Dota Pro Circuit and as a result, it offers not only prize money, but qualification points as well. These points will be used at the end of the season to determine the teams that will receive a direct invite to The International 2018.

The competition’s prize pool distribution is yet to be announced, but the qualification points it rewards will be spread among participating teams in the following way:

  • 1st place: 200 points.
  • 2nd place: 120 points.
  • 3rd-4th place: 40 points.
  • 5th-16th place: 0 points.

Tournament Structure

ESL One Genting 2018 features 16 teams from 6 different regions:

  • China: Newbee, LGD.Forever Young, VGJ.Thunder, Vici Gaming.
  • North America: compLexity Gaming, Evil Geniuses.
  • CIS: Natus Vincere, Virtus.pro.
  • Europe: Team Liquid, Team Secret, Planet Dog, PENTA Sports.
  • Southeast Asia: Mineski, TNC Pro Team, Fnatic.
  • South America: SG e-sports.

Initially, the participants will be split into two groups of eight. Each of these groups will play in a double elimination bracket format in which everyone starts in the upper bracket. The opening matches will be best of ones (Bo1), while the rest of the matches, with the exception of the Playoffs Finals (Bo5), will be Bo3.

The top 3 teams from each group qualify for the Playoffs. The winner of each group advances directly to the Semifinals, while the next two teams advance to the Quarterfinals. Here, the second-placed team from each group plays against the third-placed team from the other.

Analysis of the Teams

Evil Geniuses

They are, for sure, a very interesting team to watch going into this LAN event, simply because of the massive transformation they recently went through. The team’s new coach is Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale and the roster is looking highly unusual compared to the old EG. Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora left the team and was signed by Fnatic, Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen joined as the new captain, Sumail “Sumail” Hassan moved from midlane to offlane, and Clinton “Fear” Loomis is now playing carry/mid, along with Artour “Arteezy” Babaev (they frequently swap roles, depending on the opponent and draft).

EG’s strength, compared to the best teams in the world, is still a bit uncertain at the moment. Not only because of the changes mentioned above, but also because of their inconsistent results throughout the season.

With this new roster, EG lost their first match of the Playoffs at Captains Draft 4.0 (score 1-2 against Team Secret) and were eliminated from the competition very quickly. However, they looked strong and displayed great teamwork throughout that tournament, both during the Group Stage as well as in the Playoffs match versus Team Secret.

At their latest LAN event (Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds), Evil Geniuses finished 2nd after they were defeated by VGJ.Thunder in the Finals (score 3-0).

TNC Pro Team

TNC went through a lot of difficulties at the start of this new competitive season, failing to qualify for Dota Pro Circuit tournaments and being constantly bested by their regional opponents from Mineski, HappyFeet and Fnatic.

More recently however, TNC started to show signs of coming back to their former strength, qualifying multiple Dota Pro Circuit LAN events, taking 2nd place at MDL Macau and winning China Top 2017. In their own region they’re a strong team, but at the international level, they don’t stand much of a chance against the competition.

Natus Vincere

They have been on the rise lately, defeating top teams such as Virtus.pro and Newbee and qualifying for important Dota Pro Circuit events. At the latest Dota 2 Major, DreamLeague Season 8, Na’Vi finished 4th, surprising everyone with their performance. They also finished 3rd-4th at MDL Macau, but an event like ESL One Genting 2018 has too many strong teams that can crush them.

Team Liquid

They are one of the best teams in the world at the moment and display an enormous amount of skill in almost all of their games. Team Liquid’s recent results have been consistently good: 1st place at StarLadder i-League Invitational #3, 3rd-4th place at ESL One Hamburg, 1st place at AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League, 1st place at Midas Mode and 2nd place at DreamLeague Season 8. We haven’t seen them in a while (7 weeks) but I think it’s safe to assume they’re still the same team that won The International 2017.


After their disappointing season start, Newbee has been on the rise, getting closer and closer to their TI 7 level. At the moment they’re sitting at number 4 in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings, having 1035 points.

SG e-sports

With a newly formed roster and no impressive results, they are a heavy underdog going into this tournament. At their last 4 Dota Pro Circuit LAN events they performed quite poorly, so I doubt they can qualify for the Playoffs at ESL One Genting 2018.

Vici Gaming

They are an almost entirely different team from the one that failed to qualify for The International last season. Only one player (Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang) and the team’s coach (Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng, who has transitioned to the role of support) have remained. The other three roles have been filled by well known top Chinese players from other teams.

Locally, Vici Gaming is performing well, defeating strong teams and qualifying for big events. In terms of their results at Dota Pro Circuit LAN events, they have obtained three second-place finishes so far (at AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT League, Perfect World Masters and Captains Draft 4.0) and are currently sitting at number 5 in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings.


They are the ESL One Hamburg and DOTA Summit 8 champions and the second-best team in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings at the moment. At least on paper, they are a top contender for winning this tournament.

Team Secret

They are the best team in the world at the moment, sitting at the number 1 spot in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings with 4140 points. Their current roster seems to be synergizing very well, with every member of the team playing his role to perfection.

Team Secret made it to the Finals of the ESL One Hamburg 2017 Major and then went on to win the second Major of the season (ROG DreamLeague Season 8) by defeating Team Liquid in the Finals without dropping a single game.

At their latest Dota Pro Circuit LAN event (Captains Draft 4.0), Team Secret was crowned champions but looked very shaky against Vici Gaming and only barely won the Finals (score 3-2) after 2 fabulous comebacks.

compLexity Gaming

After bringing back the Swedish Blomdin brothers (Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin and Linus “Limmp” Blomdin), who were with the squad back in the 2015 (when compLexity placed 9th-12th at The International 5) the North American team has been on the rise, qualifying for Dota Pro Circuit tournaments and actually earning points in them. They finished 3rd-4th at StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3 and 4th at Perfect World Masters. At the moment they’re sitting at number 13 in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings.

Going into ESL One Genting 2018, compLexity Gaming will likely fall victim to one of the many world-class opponents attending the event.


After a very bad 2016-2017 season, Mineski resurfaced with a new roster and had a formidable start in the Dota Pro Circuit, finishing in second place at StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3 and winning the PGL Open Bucharest Minor. But immediately after these consecutive successes, they vanished. Their latest two Dota Pro Circuit LAN events were Perfect World Masters and Captains Draft 4.0, where finished 7th-8th and 3rd-4th respectively.

Arguably, they’ve not been at the top of their game recently and given the competition they will face at ESL One Genting 2018, their chances of making it to the Playoffs are slim.


They went through some rough times at the start of this new competitive season, taking part in Dota Pro Circuit tournaments only when other Southeast Asian teams had to concede their spot due to visa problems or some other misfortune.

But then a roster change turned things around for them, as their midlaner (Steve “Xcalibur” Ye) became a substitute for the team and the organization brought in one of the best Dota 2 players in the world: Abed “Abed” Yusop.

Following his transfer, Fnatic greatly improved their playstyle and started to qualify for important events. They also finished 2nd at DOTA Summit 8, losing the Finals to Virtus.pro (score 1-3).

Very recently, Fnatic made an additional roster change, bringing in a world class offlaner and former Evil Geniuses player: Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora. With this new roster, Fnatic can definitely go head to head with any Dota team in the world. So keep an eye on them and assume they are capable of causing serious upsets.

LGD.Forever Young

They haven’t adapted very well to the Dota Pro Circuit and the new tournament formats. Their only notable results this season were a 3rd place finish at Perfect World Masters and a 1st place finish at Dota Professional League Top Season 4. Furthermore, they recently made a roster change (Xie “Super” Junhao was replaced by Ou “Op” Peng) and at ESL One Genting 2018 they will compete with a stand-in (Tue “ah fu” Soon Chuan will be replaced by Wang “Banana” Jiao).

Overall, LGD.Forever Young is a shadow of the team that took 3rd place at The International 2017, so I don’t expect them to do well at this event.


They’re a Chinese team with some big names in it, including Liu “Sylar” Jiajun, a player who’s been 3 times on the podium at The International (in 2012, 2014 and 2015).

VGJ.Thunder recently won the Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds tournament, defeating Evil Geniuses in the Finals (score 3-0). So they might just surprise everyone at this event. They’ll still have a hard time making it to the Playoffs, but the potential for upsets is definitely there.

PENTA Sports

They’re an ambitious team from Europe, but unfortunately, they don’t stand a change against the other competitors at ESL One Genting 2018.

Planet Dog

This is another team without any achievements from Europe. If you follow the Dota 2 professional scene regularly, you probably know they’re the former HellRaisers that got eliminated in the Group Stage at The International 2017, finishing last in their group.

Going into this tournament, I expect them to get crushed by the other teams.

Opening Matches

compLexity Gaming vs Fnatic

Fnatic is significantly better at this point and will most likely win this match, even though the battle will probably be quite close.

VGJ.Thunder vs Vici Gaming

Both of these teams are from the Chinese region so they know each other very well. In their last two direct encounters, Vici Gaming defeated VGJ.Thunder with the score of 2-1 and 2-0 respectively. Keep in mind however that VGJ.Thunder are at the top of their game right now, as the recent Galaxy Battles II tournament proved. The odds still favor Vici Gaming, but the potential for an upset is great.

SG e-sports vs Virtus.pro

Unless something completely unusual happens, Virtus.pro will simply crush SG e-sports like they’re a pub team.

Planet Dog vs Team Secret

Team Secret should be able to win this one with ease. They’re the number one team in the world right now and their opponents are nowhere near their skill level.

Evil Geniuses vs Natus Vincere

Both of these teams are very strong at the moment, so the result is completely unpredictable. On paper, Evil Geniuses should win if they don’t get outdrafted, but that’s exactly what might happen. So if you want to bet on this match, make sure you watch the drafting phase before placing your bet.

Team Liquid vs PENTA Sports

This is a total mismatch, in the sense that Team Liquid are too many levels above PENTA Sports.

LGD.Forever Young vs Newbee

They’re both Chinese teams, but Newbee is in a much better form. LGD.Forever Young accomplished very little after their 3rd place finish at The International 2017, while Newbee is sitting at number 4 in the current Dota Pro Circuit rankings.

TNC Pro Team vs Mineski

Both of these teams are from Southeast Asia and have encountered each other 8 times so far during this season. Mineksi won 6 of those matches while TNC won only 2. What makes things complicated however is the fact that TNC won 2 out of the last 3 engagements. Furthermore, this match will be a Bo1, so you might want to be careful and only place a bet if one of these teams gets outdrafted.

Group Stage and Tournament Predictions

Group stage predictions

For Group A, the teams that are most likely to qualify for the Playoffs are Team Secret, Vici Gaming and Virtus.pro.

For group B, Team Liquid and Newbee will likely finish 1st and 2nd, but the 3rd place could go to almost anyone else.

Tournament predictions

Given the brackets and the participants, the teams most likely to get a top 4 finish and share the 400 Dota Pro Circuit qualification points are Team Secret, Virtus.pro, Team Liquid and Newbee. In other words, the usual suspects.



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