ESL One Birmingham 2018 is one of the last two Dota Pro Circuit LAN events of this competitive season. The tournament is attended by 12 of the world’s best teams and is a Major, having a prize pool of $1 million and offering 1500 qualification points for the next edition of The International.

ESL One Birmingham 2018 will take place in Birmingham, UK between May 23rd and May 27th.

Teams and Event Format

ESL One Birmingham 2018 brings together 12 teams from a total of 6 regions:

  • China: LGD.Forever Young, Newbee.
  • Southeast Asia: Fnatic, Mineski.
  • North America: OpTic Gaming, Evil Geniuses.
  • South America: paiN Gaming.
  • Europe: Team Liquid, OG.
  • CIS: Team Spirit,

For the Group Stage, the teams will be divided into three groups of four.

Group A:

  • Evil Geniuses
  • Fnatic
  • Team Spirit

Group B:

  • Team Liquid
  • OG
  • paiN Gaming
  • Vici Gaming

Group C:

  • Mineski
  • Newbee
  • OpTic Gaming
  • LGD.Forever Young

Each of these groups will be played in a double elimination bracket format (GSL). The 3rd and 4th placed teams from every group are eliminated. 2nd placed teams advance to the Quarterfinals. 1st placed teams play Bo1 matches against each other to decide who advances directly to the Semifinals and who joins the remaining three teams in the Quarterfinals. The 1st and 2nd placed teams of these 3 advance to the Semifinals. The 3rd one plays in the Quarterfinals.

Points and Prize Pool Distribution

Being a Major within the Dota Pro Circuit, ESL One Birmingham 2018 offers not only prize money but qualification points as well. These rewards will be divided among participating teams in the following way:

  • 1st place: 750 points; $500,000
  • 2nd place: 450 points; $200,000
  • 3rd place: 225 points; $100,000
  • 4th place: 75 points; $60,000
  • 5th – 6th place: 0 points; $34,000
  • 7th – 9th place: 0 points; $16,000
  • 10th – 12th place: 0 points; $8,000

Strong Contenders

Team Liquid

Team Liquid performs very well when there’s no pressure, so this tournament might just be the perfect opportunity for it to win another title. Liquid is already qualified for The International 2018, so this is just a rehearsal for the most awaited event of the year. The team is currently sitting at number 3 in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings with 6084 points but KuroKy and his squad will surely want to prove to everyone that they’re capable of becoming the first team in the history of Dota to win 2 TIs.

Given the group seedings and the level of opposition at ESL One Birmingham 2018, Team Liquid has a high chance of qualifying for the tournament’s Grand Final. is another team that’s famous for performing well at big events and has already won 2 ESL One Majors this year. Solo and his teammates will probably experiment with original drafts and strategies at this tournament, so from a betting perspective, it might be risky to take VP’s side in certain matches when the opponent is a world-class opponent. Still, is a top 3 contender for sure and should have a deep run at ESL One Birmingham 2018. Currently the number 1 team in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings, VP is expected to get a top 4 finish at this event.

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses has a lot to play for at ESL One Birmingham 2018 and needs a top 3 finish in order to climb back into the top 8 and secure a direct invite at The International. If it fails to do this, there’s a very high chance that we won’t see EG at The International 2018, simply because two of its regional opponents are incredibly strong right now. These opponents are VGJ.Storm and OpTic Gaming. EG’s best results this season were a title at GESC: Indonesia Dota2 Minor and a 3rd place finish at DreamLeague Season 8.

Going into ESL One Birmingham, it’s no very likely that EG will get a top 4 finish, but a top 6 should definitely be within their reach.


Fnatic is one of those teams with a great roster, enormous potential and consistent results, except there’s one problem: these results are always slightly below what’s required for them to gain more qualification points for The International 2018 and climb faster in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings. Fnatic got many top 4 and top 6 finishes this season, but it still has problems against most of the top teams.

Going into ESL One Birmingham 2018, I think Fnatic will get a top 6 finish once again but it’s unlikely that the team will climb higher than 5th – 6th.

Vici Gaming

Vici Gaming is an excellent Chinese team that finished 3rd at the recent MDL Changsha Major. Vici Gaming is currently sitting at number 6 in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings and has multiple top 4 finishes in Dota Pro Circuit events this year, including 4 Grand Final apparitions.


The TI 7 finalists have had a pretty rough season, but the team’s results were still good enough for a top 8 placement within the Dota Pro Circuit rankings. Newbee is currently sitting at number 7 in this hierarchy with 2445 points. At the recent MDL Changsha Major Newbee finished 4th, proving that it’s still one of the world’s best teams.


Mineski is not that far from its peak form but is still slightly weaker than the other top candidates. Currently sitting at number 5 within the Dota Pro Circuit rankings, Mineski finished 5th – 6th at MDL Changsha Major being defeated by Newbee.

Going into ESL One Birmingham 2018, Mineski is very likely to get a similar result.

OpTic Gaming

OpTic Gaming is the strongest underdog of this tournament and we’ve yet to see how much ppd and his teammates have improved since their 1st place finish at StarLadder ImbaTV Invitational Season 5. Given the group seedings and the level of competition at ESL One Birmingham 2018, it will be difficult for OpTic Gaming to get out of the Group Stage. Still, the team is led by a former TI champion and should be regarded as a strong contender that could produce incredible upsets.

Betting Predictions

Fnatic vs. Evil Geniuses

This is a match between two teams of similar strength, but Fnatic is still slightly favored to win it. At the latest tournament it participated in, EG showed many signs of weakness and lost against multiple teams, including Fnatic. Both EG and Fnatic have everything to play for at ESL One Birmingham 2018, so this battle will no doubt be fierce.

Our Pick

Betway puts the odds at 1.85 – 1.85, anticipating a close match in which anyone could win.
Betting prediction: Fnatic to win.

Place Your Bet Here vs. Team Spirit

The skill difference between these two sides is absolutely huge. Unless VP decides to go for a weird draft and just yolo it, Solo and his squad should get a quick victory over Team Spirit in this match.

Our Pick

Betway puts the odds at 1.12 – 5.25 in favor of, which is surprisingly high considering the likelihood of a victory in its favor Betting prediction: to win.

Place Your Bet Here

Team Liquid vs. paiN Gaming

This is another match in which one of the teams is much stronger than the other. No doubt, paiN Gaming has improved a lot after w33’s transfer, but the squad is still light years away from Liquid in terms of overall strategy and teamplay. Not to mention the fact that Liquid has one of the strongest players in the world for each role.

Our Pick

Betway puts the odds for this match at 1.15 – 4.75 in favor of Team Liquid, giving you a 15% profit for an almost certain result. Betting prediction: Team Liquid to win.

Place Your Bet Here

OG vs. Vici Gaming

OG had a short period of glory at MDL Changsha Major, defeating iG Vitality and even Mineski. However, the rest of the teams quickly realized what their strategy was and simply banned their favorite heroes. After that, it was back to struggle town for the Europeans, who have had a rough season so far and clearly lack a set of coherent strategies that have been properly tested and implemented. Given Vici Gaming’s strength and versatility, I think that OG has no chance whatsoever to win this match.

Our Pick

Betway puts the odds at 2.75 – 1.40 in favor of Vici Gaming and these odds are absolutely huge on Vici’s side. At these odds, this match is easily the best betting opportunity for the first day of ESL One Birmingham 2018.

Place Your Bet Here

Mineski vs. LGD.Forever Young

It’s been a while since we’ve seen LGD.Forever Young on the big stage so it’s a complete mistery what this team is capable of at this point. LFY qualified for this event by defeating Keen Gaming, VGJ.Thunder and Invictus Gaming in the Chinese qualifier. That alone suggests that it might be a fairly strong contender. And given Mineski’s rather mediocre form in recent weeks, this match is the perfect opportunity to bet a smaller amount on the underdog.

Our Pick

Betway puts the odds at 1.45 – 2.55 in favor of Mineski and at these odds, you might want to consider betting on an upset. Betting prediction: LGD. Forever Young to win.

Place Your Bet Here

OpTic Gaming vs. Newbee

This is perhaps the most balanced match on day 1, taking place between two fairly strong opponents that have an excellent roster and great team strategies. Both of them have formidable captains but Newbee has a slight experience and individual skill advantage. It has also been performing quite well recently, so based on that I have to regard the Chinese side as the favorite here.

Our Pick

Betway puts the odds at 2.05 – 1.70 in Newbee’s favor, anticipating a very close match.
Betting prediction: Newbee to win.

Place Your Bet Here

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