ESL Pro Tour Announced With $15 Million USD Riyadh Masters 2023
Competitive Dota 2 shall experience as a gigantic boost as ESL Gaming and the Saudi Esports Federation have announced a series of Dota 2 events - the ESL Pro Tour (EPT) - with a total prize pool of $17 Million USD for the first season. The series will begin in the summer of 2023 with three events in the first season. The first two events will be held under the DreamLeague banner as the 19th and 20th editions, with prize pools of $1 Million each. The EPT Season 1 will culminate in the Riyadh Masters 2023, which will feature a whopping prize pool of $15 Million.
ESL and Saudi Esports Federation announce $17 Million ESL Pro Tour and Riyadh Masters
The ESL Pro Tour, which will be held in April, June, and July, has been conceived to complement Valve's DPC ecosystem while supporting and growing the Dota 2 scene, as stated by ESL which is a part of the ESL Faceit Group.
The EPT will be divided into three phases, as follows:
DreamLeague Season 19: 9th - 23rd April
DreamLeague Season 20: 11th - 25th June
Riyadh Masters 2023: 17th - 30th July
DreamLeague S19 and S20
Season 19 begins after the second Tour of Valve's official Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) concludes, while Season 20 begins after Tour 3. The break in May is to accommodate Dota 2's second Major of the year, which will be held in Berlin, Germany.
A total of 16 teams will be participating in each DreamLeague event. All 16 teams will be flown to Europe for both events, however, there will be no LAN play.
The format has been revised to include two group stage rounds instead of the usual one. At the end of the first group stage, eight teams, four from each group, will advance to the next stage from where a total of four teams proceed to the playoffs.
The champion of the DreamLeague S19 receives direct entrance into the Riyadh Masters 2023 group stage, while the top two teams in the DreamLeague Season 20 earn the same privilege.
Riyadh Masters 2023
The Riyadh Masters 2023 will then take place, which has been branded the EPT Championship event and will include 16 teams. Twelve teams will compete in the Play-In Stage, with eight advancing to the group stage.
In the group stage, they will face the winner of the DreamLeague S19 and the finalists of Season 2022 as well as five of the best five average-placed teams from these competitions.
The 2023 edition of the Riyadh Masters has raised the bar significantly from the previous event, which featured a prize pool of $4,000,000, and is likely to be a LAN event again. In addition to the EPT, the tournament will also be a part of the eight-week Gamers8 event, which will have a total prize pool of $30 million split across multiple esports titles.
Invitees and ESL’s new ranking system
There will be no qualifier for season one of the EPT and ESL will be using "the new and improved EPT Ranking System" to invite teams directly. There will be at least one team from each of the top six regions and additional teams will be invited from regions with greater strength, as determined by an Elo-based ranking system.
The 'How It Works' page on the organization's website has a complete explanation of the new ESL ranking system for Dota 2 as well as the current standings.
The EPT is likely to be a game changer for Dota 2’s competitive environment, bringing top-tier Dota 2 action from around the world to the audience and injecting a massive amount of money into the scene. It's certainly an exciting time to be a part of Dota 2's esports circuit for all stakeholders with tons of Dota 2 action expected for the rest of the year.