RIYADH: Gamers8 is set to enter the next phase of its calendar when the inaugural Dota 2 Riyadh Masters gets underway later today.
Some of the world’s most successful teams will contest the multi-player action, real-time strategy game over five days, with a $4 million prize pool and $1.5 million winners’ share at stake at Boulevard Riyadh City.
Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, chairperson of the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “Be it prestige, popularity, suspense, or gaming camaraderie, Dota 2 measures up with the games’ all-time greats in every possible way. These same factors were central behind us feeling … compelled to stage a brand-new Dota 2 tournament at Gamers8 — the Dota 2 Riyadh Masters.
“The global appeal of this esports giant was enough in itself for the gaming community to be thrilled ahead of the event, yet the resounding success of Rocket League has fueled the build-up even further both on-site and online,” he said. “On behalf of the Saudi Esports Federation, I implore everyone to fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride. Dota 2 Riyadh Masters is a tournament not to be missed and destined for great things, with further editions already planned beyond Gamers8.”
The competition begins with 10 teams placed in two groups of five as they play each other twice in a best-of-two round robin format. The teams with the best overall record in their respective groups will advance straight to the semifinal stage, while those who finish second and third will secure quarterfinal spots. Both the quarters and semis will be best-of-five matches, with the grand finale a best-of-seven matchup.
While many Dota 2 competitions are held online over several weeks, Dota 2 Riyadh Masters is a standout tournament due to its live land-play, elimination structure, and total prize fund — which is the largest outside of The International, the biggest and most prestigious event on the Dota Pro Circuit.
China’s hopes for Dota 2 Riyadh Masters victory are pinned on PSG.LGD, who are among the pre-tournament favorites with a roster boasting some of the world’s best players. Despite falling short in last year’s TI final against Team Spirit, the Chinese outfit is still widely considered to be the world’s finest, and they are relishing the upcoming test in the Saudi capital.
“Dota 2 Riyadh Masters is an excellent opportunity for us to play against pro players from different regions on the international stage,” said Yiping “Y” Zhang of PSG.LGD. “While we went through long, tedious yet must-play regional DPC circuits for the past three seasons in China, this new tournament will enable us to compete in a shorter but more pressurized esports environment.
“Of course, we have huge admiration and respect for our Gamers8 opponents, and we are excited to test ourselves against them. After more than half a year, we finally have the chance to meet new opponents outside China and compete with them.”
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