Dota 2 tournament Epicenter has been going for the better part of a week, and it's been a hell of a show so far. With a $500k prize pool, the Moscow LAN has drawn almost every major team ahead of next month's Manila Major. This in and of itself is unusual. Non-Valve sanctioned tournaments are often seen as a waste of time for more successful teams in an era where Valve's own Majors carry minimum prize pools of $3,000,000.
But everyone seems to be at Epicenter. This is in part because of its prize pool, and also because of the major reshuffling happening in the professional Dota 2 scene over the last eight weeks, in advance of roster cutoff dates for The 2016 International Dota 2 Championship. Teams with lineup changes are desperate to get their acts together, and figure out a brand new patch that continues to rapidly evolve Dota 2's metagame strategies.
Everyone seems to be at Epicenter
And more importantly, everyone is playing their asses off. Two of the big narratives of the tournament so far are the teams OG and Newbee. OG, spearheaded by carry player Amir "Miracle" Al-Barkawi, are running roughshod over teams widely assumed to be better. Al-Barkawi made a bit of Dota 2 history this week as he achieved an MMR rating of 9,000, placing him at the top of Valve's somewhat opaque public ranking system for the game.
Meanwhile, 2013 International champions Newbee has clawed its way back from the obscurity and also-ran status that has plagued it since winning TI4, securing the longest winning streak by a professional team in the history of Dota 2, breaking a record held by fan favorite Na'vi. This morning, the two teams collided, resulting in one of the best series so far; the series is ongoing. If you've ever been curious about professional Dota 2, this would be a great time to start watching, at least while you can. For North American viewers, Epicenter's time difference of seven hours for Eastern and 10 hours for Pacific means either late nights or early mornings.
You can watch Epicenter's English coverage here, along with more than 150,000 other viewers on Twitch.