Going to a Dota 2 event is something you never get used to: what place will I end up in? Who will I meet? Which game will be remembered until the end of time?
From 22 until 24 March, DreamLeague Season 11 landed in Stockholm as one of the Major tournaments in the 2018-2019 DPC season. BeNeDota was present with a group of 8 people, evenly divided in 4 Belgians and 4 Dutch guys!
The first and maybe biggest surprise was the hotel: walking into the lobby, you see a guy that looks a lot like Bulba, and then a guy who looks like Ramzes and then... it became clear: we must be sharing the hotel with the teams and the staff!
We arrived on Thursday evening, so the first night was the ideal moment to meet the other people with whom we would be spending the weekend in Stockholm. As always, the visitors of the event came from all over the world. Of course plenty of Europeans, but also lots of people from China and even some from NA and SEA. Spending the evening in the bar with fellow Dota 2 fans is always something special: you don't know them, but still they feel like friends real quickly because you share a common passion.
On Friday, the arena was finally open to the public! We had 4 people with press access, and 4 people with a normal ticket. The lines for the entrance were not so long when we went to get our bracelet. The arena always opened well before the first game, so people could go there whenever they saw fit.
Before and during the first game, we scouted the arena for the bar(s) and a good place to sit. The arena was not too big, but because of its size, the atmosphere was really great. On the stage you had the hosts sitting at a desk and a couch, pretty much like we are used to see on the DreamLeague Twitch streams.
The first game on Friday was between Chinese powerhouses PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming. After an exciting bo3, Vici Gaming was the first team to reach the Upper bracket final. The second (and final) game on Friday was Keen Gaming vs Fnatic. Ever since ESL One Hamburg 2017, part of our group has the strange habit of rooting for Keen Gaming. They gave it their all (KEEEEEEEEN GAAAAAMING!) but alas, Fnatic was way too strong! Somewhat unexpected, Fnatic also reached the upper bracket final and ensured a top3 finish at the major!
After the games on Friday, we went back to the hotel to catch up with friends over some local beers. You could get the beers from a System Bolaget shop in Sweden, but they are very strict in their minimum age when selling: even people not buying alcohol, but part of the group, can get you a "we cannot sell you any alcohol" in Sweden, so beware! :)
Saturday proved to be a very long day: 4 best-of-three games... After our daily visit to the merch shop ("We need Keen Gaming merch" --> "Don't look at me, I'm just selling this sh--!" was the daily conversation) we went back to the arena. First game was PSG.LGD vs Virtus.Pro. VP always looked a bit shaky during the past games, but still they managed to win the game 2-1. Right after, Keen Gaming tried to take the win over Team Secret, but they failed... We had to comfort our Keen Gaming fans on our way out of the arena to grab a bite. But after the short night, and with the knowledge that we had to sit through another 2 bo3 games, we chilled in the hotel a little bit (it was next to the arena anyway) and watched the games on the stream while having a beer. We went back to the arena to see VP win the third game vs Secret and the crowd went wild! Wearing the BeNeDota flag as a cape also paid off since we found some more people from the Netherlands. Always nice to add some more people to our community :)
Before the final game of the day, a big part of the crowd left the arena in search of food, drinks or some rest. But it was so late already that the entrances of the arena were closed so the people couldn't enter again. This caused the final game of the day to be played in front of a dwindling crowd. In the end, only a few 100 people remained in the arena. Luckily for us, we found the Monster bar where you could get FREE Monster cans! ENERGGGGGIZZZZEDDDD and ready for the last bo3. It lasted until 1h30 AM but it was worth it! After a quick photo together with Sheever, we went to our hotel. On the way to our room, we shared the elevator with VG.Fade who missed the elevator ride with the rest of his team. We told him "gg wp" but he didn't agree and said he was not satisfied with their games since they made too many mistakes... We wished him all the best for the Grand Final when he walked out of the elevator! :)
On Sunday, we had the lower bracket final between Fnatic (some fans) taking on VP (lots of fans... VIRTUS PRO! VIRTUS PRO!) VP seemed to find their stride and reached the Grand Final where they faced Vici Gaming. Vici Gaming stunned the crowd by beating VP 3-2 but it was a well deserved victory. Vici had some fine games and our pep talk with VG.Fade seemed to have worked!
Looking at the DPC 2018-2019 ranking, with this Major win, VG is also sure of a spot at TI9. Currently 4 teams are sure of their spot: VP and Secret (well ahead of the pack), EG and now VG. The other teams still have 2 majors and 2 minors to gather the points they need to go to China.
And that concluded our Dota 2 weekend in Sweden...
A special thanks to:
- DreamLeague for hosting a very pleasant event!
- CORSAIR for the "GG WP" signs that made people really creative & the nice BeNeLux rep at the booth
- SAP for all the nice stats during the tournament
- Monster for the free energy drinks! (We needed that)
- Quality Hotel Globe for the help with finding food after midnight on a Sunday night :)
- Freshii for giving us light, quality food during the weekend
- Annexet security for recovering the camera we lost Saturday night
- SN Brussels Airlines for recovering the camera we lost when flying home (NotLikeThis)
- all the teams and fans present at the hotel, to be "normal" and nice in public. It made everything a little bit more special
We are now prepping ourselves for ESL One Birmingham and the MDL Major at Disney in Paris. Hope to see you there?
Dota 2 is always more fun when watching it live with your friends! So join us on our next trips on our Discord Server