That's right - ESL are bringing top-tier Dota 2 to the UK for ESL One Birmingham 2018. The city is close to ESL's UK office, located in the neighbouring city of Leicester. In case you're unfamiliar with the geography of the drizzly isle, Birmingham is roughly in the middle of England, in an inventively named region called 'the Midlands'. The ESL venue is to be Arena Birmingham, which varies in capacity depending on the setup - the maximum is 15,800 (close to Key Arena's 17k). These photos of the venue give a good idea of the different layouts:
The event itself will be a 12-team Major with six direct invites and six qualified squads. That's a little fewer than the sixteen teams at ESL One Genting 2018 and ESL One Katowice 2018, but still more than ESL One Hamburg 2017's eight-team event, which ESL said was planned before they knew about the DPC.
Thanks to the Dota community for making Hamburg a great event. Looking forward to more Majors with more teams in 2018.— Ulrich Schulze (@theflyingdj) November 1, 2017
ESL One Dota next year will have more teams and bo5 finals. Hamburg format and amount of teams were set way before Major/Minors system.— Ulrich Schulze (@theflyingdj) October 24, 2017
None of the invited teams have been revealed yet but we do know several important dates. Open qualifiers will run April 14-15 and closed qualifiers soon afterwards from April 19-22. The group stage will be May 23-24, followed by the main event at Arena Birmingham May 25-27.
The format of the final stage has been revealed via the ticket sales website. There will be two best-of-three quarterfinals on Friday, two best-of-three semifinals on Saturday and a best-of-three third place match followed by a best-of-five Grand Final on Sunday.
ESL One Birmingham will be ESL's last event on the Dota Pro Circuit before TI8, and the second-to-last Major before TI8 invites are decided, meaning this event could play a pivotal role in which teams put together enough DPC points to earn a direct TI invite. The event will feature the usual $1,000,000 prize pool as well as the same 1500 DPC points as the other Majors so far.
Header Photo Copyright: ESL | Helena Kristiansson