The 2019 - 2020 DPC season has a format pre-determined by Valve for every single event. Teams know exactly what to prepare for, but the format is also fairly punishing. Minors may start with eight teams, but only four of them make it out of the group stage.
Two of those teams are eliminated on DAY ONE of the event, after only playing two other teams. The newly reunited Greek stack of Ad Finem lost 0 - 2 to Geek Fam (Raven, Ryoya, Kuku, Xepher, Dubu) in their first round. Their second (and last chance) was against CIS team Hellraisers. They had a strong start to the series, winning the first game. They couldn't hold their momentum, losing to Void in game 2 (who could blame them) and a Drow strat in game three. Just like that - Ad Finem were eliminated.
Pain has an even worse time with the Brazilian squad losing to IG 0 - 2 in complete stomps. Game two didn't even last seventeen minutes! They continued to struggle as they also lost 0 - 2 to NiP. At least they managed to turn those into real games with both going past fifty minutes.
Pointless group stages have been a point of contention for a long time - but now that the groups actually mean something, is this actually what players and fans wanted? On one hand, a team should be able to beat any other team if they're good enough to win the event, but we know this isn't the actual reality. Team match ups and play styles have unique metas that can give a lower ranked team an edge over the team that 'should' be better. Some teams are scrim partners, some used to play with the opposing captain. There are endless factors that make team ELO/ranking not as strong of a predictor as you would want for a format that see two teams eliminated after they face just two other teams.
With Valve deciding who ends up in each group - we also have no idea if inter-region match ups can be possible in the groups and if they consider historical match up data. As usual, we are in the dark on the exact process for format and group decisions.
Is this format going to give us the best team to compete at the Major? Or will we see player and community pressure for Valve to adjust the group stages?