DPC promoted teams: Climbing to glory or lambs to the slaughter?

By ElevatedApril 19, 2021
The Dota Pro Circuit's divisional promotion and relegation system has caught a lot of criticism in season one of the league. In theory it is supposed to be an opportunity for teams to claw their way up from the depths of obscurity. As season two gets underway it will be interesting to see how it works out in practice.
In season two, there are 12 new teams getting their shot to tangle with the titans in the Upper Divisions of the regional leagues. It’s obvious that there is a gap in the competition between Upper and Lower divisions but how big is this skill divide? Do any of the promoted teams show the potential to challenge for a slot at the next Major or are they destined to be relegated once again to the lower tier?
Let’s take a look at the promoted teams and their records from the first season of the Lower Division.

Europe*

  1. Hellbear Smashers: 6-1 series; 8-4 games
  2. Brame: 6-1 series; 9-3 games
*Europe had two teams withdraw or get disqualified which lowered the number of games played.

CIS

  1. PuckChamp: 6-1 series; 13-5 games
  2. Winstrike Team: 6-1 series; 13-6 games

South America*

  1. Infinity Esports: 6-1 series; 13-4 games
  2. Hokori: 6-1 series; 13-4 games
*SA had one team disqualified which lowered the number of games played.

North America*

  1. Simply TOOBASED: 7-0 series; 12-2 games
  2. The Cut: 6-1 series; 10-3 games
*NA had one team withdraw which lowered the number of games played.

China*

  1. Sparking Arrow Gaming: 6-1 series; 13-3 games
  2. Royal Never Give Up: 6-1 series; 12-3 games
*China had one team withdraw which lowered the number of games played.

Southeast Asia

  1. Lilgun: 5-2 series; 11-5 games
  2. Omega Esports: 5-2 series; 10-6 games
Season one of the DPC taught us that every region has a deeper-than-expected pool of talent. We also learned that each region has plenty of volatility even in the Upper Division. Though it is unlikely that any of the promoted teams will crack the top two of their league, places 3-8 are much harder to predict. Europe and China present the most difficult challenge for the promoted squads and seem like the most likely to push the new teams back into the Lower league. The good news is that the opportunity to play versus more established competition almost always teaches less experienced teams a lot. It seems very likely at this point that every region will have a huge number of competitive teams if the current trends continue.
There is probably something to be said about the added pressure that playing for the last chance at DPC points and a shot at The International will add to the competition in season two. It should be a wild six weeks and when the dust settles, there will probably be more than a few surprises in the standings.
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