ESL One Mumbai hasn’t even begun yet, and it’s already off to a bad start. Despite a generous $300,000 prize pool and the prestige of being the first - and largest - Dota 2 tournament in India, five teams have dropped out to focus on other events.
ESL One Mumbai was originally scheduled to host a total of 12 competitors, but that number has been knocked to a lowly seven. It’s all due to Dota’s tournament schedule which sees an unfortunate overlap between competitions, where attending one event may be considered of greater importance than the other.
Alliance, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Gambit Esports kickstarted the first wave of withdrawals, all opting to compete at the OGA Dota PIT Minor, which begins just a day after ESL One Mumbai. It wasn’t long before Chaos Esports Club and J.Storm also announced their departure, opting to focus their efforts on the MDL Disneyland Paris Major and WSOE 6, respectively.
Practically all of these withdrawals stem from the fact that ESL One Mumbai doesn’t offer Dota Pro Circuit points, unlike the PIT Minor event. Accruing these points is crucial to earning a spot in The International 9 Major. The Disneyland Major also offers the same benefits, while J.Storm likely wanted to stay in North America.
In an official statement regarding the situation, ESL’s Tournament Director Alexander Nehr expressed understanding of each team's decision.
Despite willingness and multiple attempts from all parties to allow the teams to play in both events, we were ultimately not able to reach a solution which would have worked for everyone. The Dota Pro Circuit is the ultimate priority of all organizations in the scene and we understand their decision.
With the withdrawal of five teams, the roster has been evened out with Team Team filling up a slot and the bracket re-jigged to work around eight teams.