Esports at ESL One: Hamburg

by Mark Perry
on September 22, 2017

Powered by Intel, the ESL One event series has swept the esports community by storm. With three events already under their belt this year, they are gearing up to send 2017 home in style with ESL One Hamburg.

The trailer for the event looks like the opening scene to an Iron Man movie. However, ESL One has traded in their suits and war machines for gaming jerseys and cosplay. Perhaps no other event can boast the same grandeur as the ESL One series. Pro level gamers and casual fans alike have been gathering in stadiums across the world.

Earlier this year, ESL One ran events in Genting and Cologne. Just a month ago, they returned to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn for ESL One New York. After putting on an amazing show in 2016, they didn’t disappoint this year either. Having hosted everything from SummerSlam to Summer Jam, the Barclay’s Center is a big arena to fill, but ESL One New York had no issue.

The main event at ESL One New York was a huge Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, which paid out $250,000 to the winner. On the side, they also ran the Brooklyn Beatdown Street Fighter V tournament, which paid out just over $40,000 to the top 16 of 256 players in the tournament.

While ESL One Hamburg is veering slightly in terms of what esports are being played, there is little change to what may be the most important part of ESL One: the culture. While a handful of people will sit on the main stage going head to head in DotA 2, there will be many more people competing in cosplay contests on the side. If that sort of thing excites you, you can follow the hashtag #eslonecosplay to see the brilliant costumes that are always on display at ESL One events.

If you’re a huge fan of DotA 2, ESL One Hamburg will provide more than just an exciting tournament.

ESL One management hosts many events designed to let you meet and mingle with your favorite DotA 2 players throughout the beautiful Barclaycard Arena. Many teams, players, and companies will be setting up merch booths across the center, providing even more opportunities to get close to your favorite esports celebrities and walk away with a little swag.

This is also the first year that the ESL One DotA Major is in Hamburg. In 2016 and prior, the DotA Major ESL One event was held in Frankfurt. This is sure to have at least a small effect on the event and the buzz surrounding it, as the local culture is just different enough to be noticeable.

Now, it’s time for the crunchier stuff. While ESL One Hamburg will surely be fun for the hundreds who will be in attendance, we can’t all be there live and we certainly can’t all be playing in the DotA Major. Unfortunately, many of us will have to watch via Twitch stream – but there’s always a way to get in on the fun. For those of us looking to place a few bets from home instead of walking into the Barclaycard Arena, let’s go through a quick rundown of the DotA 2 Major, and the few teams we know will be playing.

DotA 2 Major

Eight teams are set to do battle between October 26th and 29th at the Barclaycard Arena. Some are arriving via special invite, while many will be forced to qualify. Still early in the game, only one team has qualified so far, and two have been invited.

This event is sure to be big, as there is seven-figures worth of prizes on the line. All teams will win a base of $20,000 – for some a huge payday, for others just enough to cover travel costs. Teams in 5th and 6th place will double their money, taking home a respectable $40,000. 3rd and 4th will earn points as semi-finalists, and more than double their winnings to put $90,000 in the bank. 2nd place will have a hefty consolation prize of 450 DPC points and $200,000. 1st, on the other hand, will walk away with 50% of the total prize pool, or $500,000. These are high stakes esports.

Whether you’re betting on 1st place or match to match, you’ll want to be familiar with the teams that are playing. Unfortunately, there are five spots left to fill before the doors open on the 26th. China is the only region to have already had their qualifier, leaving North America, South America, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

China’s team, Keen Gaming, has been on fire. Officially assembling on September 10th, 2017, they’ve put three major wins under their belt in the past twelve days. Obviously, they took first in the Chinese Qualifiers for the ESL One series, earning them their spot at Hamburg. Just 10 days prior, on the day they officially came together, Keen Gaming took down the World Electronic Sports Games 2017 China Qualifier. On September 22nd, they also top 8’d in the Perfect World Masters, which they shared with another team that will be in competition at ESL One Hamburg, or a version of it at least.

While Newbee Young won’t be headed to ESL One Hamburg in October, their brother team will be. A stalwart of the DotA scene, Newbee will be arriving via special invite. While the team has put up consistent results in the past, they’ve had some recent roster change-ups but they haven’t made an appearance in any major tournaments since.

Also on special invite, from the Netherlands, is Team Liquid. Having been formed in 2000, the team is still strong as ever. Having put up results across several different esports, Team Liquid’s current roster took down The International in 2017, giving them lots of momentum going into ESL One Hamburg.

If I were a betting man (and I am), I’d put a lot of faith in Team Liquid as it stands.

If you’re more of a risk taker than I am, Keen Gaming might be a more fun bet as the young team butts heads with some of the oldest in history. If you were a smarter man than me (and you are), then you’d probably wait for all the teams to be announced. However, as it were, ESL One Hamburg is shaping up to be a great time and a great event, all bets aside.

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