DreamLeague S21 preview

DreamLeague Season 21 is starting today and represents the last Dota 2 tournament ahead of The International 12. Some... Radu M. | 17. September 2023

DreamLeague Season 21 is starting today and represents the last Dota 2 tournament ahead of The International 12.

Some of the participants, such as Gaimin Gladiators and 9Pandas, are probably still tired after competing in BetBoom Dacha. But considering the fact that this event offers $1 million in prize money, they’ll surely be very motivated to do well and give it their best.

DreamLeague S21 is scheduled to take place between September 18-24. For an entire week, we’ll get to see the complete evolution of the 7.34c meta. There’s very little time left until the start of TI12, so if IceFrog wants to release one more balancing patch ahead of the big event, either now or after DreamLeague would be the right time to do it.

Competitive format

DreamLeague S21 uses a very simple format. The 12 participants are divided into two groups of six. In each group, the single round-robin format is used and every match is a best-of-two series. The top two teams advance to the upper bracket. The next two teams advance to the lower bracket. The bottom two teams are eliminated.

The playoffs stage consists of a double-elimination competition with Bo3 matches. The Grand Final is Bo5.


DreamLeague S21 offers $1 million in prize money. The amount will be distributed among the 12 teams in the following way:

  • 1st place: $300.000
  • 2nd place: $175.000
  • 3rd place: $120.000
  • 4th place: $85.000
  • 5th – 6th place: $57.500
  • 7th – 8th place: $47.500
  • 9th – 10th place: $30.000
  • 11th – 12th place: $25.000

This prize distribution is one of the most generous that we’ve ever seen in this esport. Usually, the winning team gets around 50% of the prize pool, while the bottom half of the teams barely get anything. But ESL decided to try something different here, and at least the bottom two thirds of competitors will surely appreciate their decision.


Here are the 12 teams that will compete in the tournament:

  • 9Pandas
  • Entity
  • Shopify Rebellion
  • Talon Esports
  • Team Liquid
  • Tundra Esports
  • BetBoom Team
  • Evil Geniuses
  • Gaimin Gladiators
  • OG
  • Quest Esports
  • Team Spirit

As you can see, the strongest teams in Western Europe and Eastern Europe are all here, along with some very strong teams from North America, South America, and Southeast Asia. China is the only region that won’t be represented at this tournament, but will send two teams to compete in The International 12.

Header: ESL