The International (''Dota 2'')

The International
Genre Dota 2 eSports tournament
Frequency Annual
Location(s)
Years active 2011–present
Inaugurated August 17–21, 2011
Most recent August 20–25, 2018
Next event 2019
Participants
  • 16 teams (2011–2016)
  • 18 teams (2017–present)
Organized by Valve Corporation
Website www.dota2.com/international

The International (TI) is an annual Dota 2 eSports tournament hosted by Valve Corporation, the game's developer. The first tournament took place in Cologne, Germany at Gamescom in 2011 and was held shortly after the public reveal of Dota 2, with a total prize pot of $1.6 million. The second International took place in 2012 at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and retained the same $1.6 million prize structure. For the third International in 2013, again at Benaroya Hall, Valve introduced an interactive, digital "compendium" which fans could purchase to follow the event and contribute to the prize pool; which reached a $2.8 million prize pool with $1.2 million added from compendium purchases.

The fourth International, this time held at the larger Seattle venue KeyArena in 2014, continued the practice of compendium sales and ultimately broke records for having one of the largest prize pool in eSports history, with a total of nearly $11 million. The fifth International took place in 2015, with the prize pool totaling over $18 million,[1] making it the largest eSports prize pool for a single tournament until being consecutively surpassed by the sixth and seventh Internationals.[2][3] The eighth International was held at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada in August 2018.

Tournament history

2011

Valve Corporation announced the first edition of The International on August 1, 2011. 16 teams were invited to compete in the tournament, which would also serve as the first public viewing of Dota 2, and it was streamed online with commentary in four languages; English, Chinese, German, and Russian. The tournament was funded by Valve, including the $1 million USD grand prize, with Nvidia supplying the hardware.[4][5] It took place at Gamescom in Cologne from August 17 to 21 the same year.[6]

The tournament started with a group stage in which the winners of each of the four groups were entered into a winner's bracket, and the other teams entered the loser's bracket. The rest of the tournament was then played as a double-elimination tournament.[7] The final of this first tournament was between Ukrainian team Natus Vincere and Chinese team EHOME, with Natus Vincere winning the grand prize after beating EHOME in three out of the four matches.[8] Runner's up EHOME won a second place prize of $250,000 USD and the other top eight teams split the remaining prize pool of $350,000 USD.[9]

The International was the central focus of the 2014 documentary Free to Play, which explored the lives of three of the players.[10]

Place Team Prize money
1st Natus Vincere $1,000,000
2nd EHOME $250,000
3rd Scythe Gaming $150,000
4th MeetYourMakers $80,000
5/6th Invictus Gaming $35,000
Moscow Five $35,000
7/8th MiTH.Trust $25,000
Online Kingdom.Nirvana int $25,000

2012

The International 2012 was announced in May 2012 and held during PAX Prime.[11] The event was held at the 2,500 seat Benaroya Hall in Seattle from August 31 to September 2, with teams situated in glass booths on the main stage.[12] The total prize pool remained $1.6 million USD, with $1 million USD for the winning team, and it was again broadcast in multiple languages.[13][14]

The previous winners, Natus Vincere, were beaten 3-1 by Chinese team Invictus Gaming in the final.[15] In November 2012 Valve released a documentary following the event online for free featuring interviews with the teams and following them from the preliminary stages through to the finale.[16]

Place Team Prize money
1st Invictus Gaming $1,000,000
2nd Natus Vincere $250,000
3rd LGD Gaming $150,000
4th Team DK $80,000
5/6th EHOME $35,000
Team Zenith $35,000
7/8th TongFu Team $25,000
Orange eSports $25,000

2013

Valve announced The International 2013 on April 25, 2013. It was again hosted at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle from August 7 to 11. The first team to be invited were the defending champions, Invictus Gaming. Sixteen teams participated, thirteen of which received invitations, and the final three being decided in two qualifying tournaments and a match at the start of the tournament.[17] On May 6, it was announced that an interactive compendium would be available for purchase, detailing and cataloging the progression of The International, in addition to allowing for extensive interactivity to be made. A quarter of the revenue from the compendium was added to the original $1.6 million prize pool for the tournament, thereby extending the winnings of the participating teams.[18] Via the sales of interactive compendiums, The International reclaimed its previous title as the largest prize pool in electronic sports history, exceeding the two million dollar prize pool from the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship.[19] The total prizepool awarded to the winners was $2,874,381. KCPQ news anchor Kaci Aitchison acted as a host to The International 2013 and provided behind-the-scenes commentary and interviews with professional players and analysts.[20] The International 2013 was viewed by over one million concurrent online viewers with many utilizing live streaming websites such as Twitch.tv.[21]

Place Team Prize money
1st Alliance $1,437,190
2nd Natus Vincere $632,364
3rd Orange Esports $287,438
4th TongFu Team $201,207
5/6th Team DK $114,975
Invictus Gaming $114,975
7/8th Fnatic $43,116
Team Liquid $43,116

2014

On March 31, 2014, Valve announced The International 2014, which would take place from July 18 to 21 at the KeyArena, which is a venue with a significantly larger capacity than Benaroya Hall from the previous two years. Unlike the previous three events, there would be three tiers for admissions, including general admission, floor seating and VIP passes.[22] For The International 2014, eleven teams would receive direct invites, with an additional four spots determined by regional qualifiers taking place between May 12 and 25. The sixteenth spot would be determined by a wild card qualifier between the runners-up from the regional competitions.[23] The tickets for the event were sold out within an hour of going on sale on April 4, 2014.[24]

The prize pool for the tournament broke records for being the largest in eSports by reaching the $10,000,000 (USD) mark on June 27, almost three weeks prior to the start of the tournament.[25] At the end of the tournament, with a final total prize pool of $10,931,103 and over $5 million split amongst the five players of the 1st place team, eight Dota 2 players became the highest ranking players in terms of prize money won, surpassing the highest ranking player at the time, StarCraft player Lee "Jaedong" Jae-dong.[26] The prize pool is as follows:[27]

Place Team Prize money
1st Newbee $5,028,308
2nd Vici Gaming $1,475,699
3rd Evil Geniuses $1,038,455
4th Team DK $819,833
5/6th Cloud9 $655,866
LGD Gaming $655,866
7/8th Natus Vincere $519,227
Invictus Gaming $519,227
9/10th Team Liquid $49,190
Titan eSports $49,190
11/12th Mousesports $38,259
Alliance $38,259
13/14th Team Empire $21,862
Fnatic $21,862

2015

The first details pertaining to The International 2015 were revealed on January 5, 2015, with the preliminary announcement of the tournament. Sixteen teams attended the event, which took place from August 3 to 8 at the KeyArena in Seattle.[28] The prize pool totalled more than US$18 million, of which US$16.4 million was contributed by players.[29]

The invited teams were:[30]

The winners and runners-up of the regional qualifiers were:[30]

Region Winner Wildcard spot
Americas Complexity Gaming Team Archon[note 2]
Europe Natus Vincere Vega Squadron
China EHOME CDEC Gaming
Southeast Asia MVP.Hot6ix MVP Phoenix

The prize pool is as follows:

Place Team Prize money
1st Evil Geniuses $6,616,014
2nd CDEC Gaming $2,848,562
3rd LGD Gaming $2,205,338
4th Vici Gaming $1,562,114
5/6th Virtus Pro $1,182,011
EHOME $1,182,011
7/8th Team Secret $818,316
MVP Phoenix $818,316
9-12th compLexity Gaming $218,217
Cloud9 $218,217
Team Empire $218,217
Invictus Gaming $218,217
13-16th NewBee $54,554
Fnatic $54,554
Natus Vincere $54,554
MVP.HOT6ix $54,554

2016

The first details pertaining to The International 2016 were revealed on March 31, 2016, with the announcement of ticket sales for the tournament.[31] Open qualifiers for The International 2016 began on June 21, with regional qualifiers following on June 25. Following the qualifiers, the tournament main event took place from August 3–11, with the finals being held on August 13.

The initial prize pool was seeded with $1,600,000 from the developers, with more to be added from players through in-game purchases of the Battle Pass. The final prize pool reached $20,770,460, making the tournament have the largest prize pool in eSports history.[32]

On June 19, 2016, Valve released the names of the invited teams, as well as details for qualification through each regional qualifier. The number of invited teams was reduced to six (down from ten from 2015), resulting in both the winner and runner-up of each region (China, Europe, Americas, and Southeast Asia) obtaining qualification. The final two spots were made up of Wild Card teams, which were found through their own qualifier.[33]

The qualifiers for each region consisted of eight invited teams (five for the Americas) and two from open qualifiers (organized by FaceIt and Perfect World in China). These qualifiers placed all 10 teams (seven for Americas) into a single table where each team played the others in a round robin competition with the top team in each region advancing to The International as the regional qualifier. Of the remaining teams, the next highest four teams were placed into a double elimination tournament with each round played as a best of three, while the remaining five teams (two for the Americas) were eliminated. The Grand Finals winner of each regional playoff also automatically qualified for The International as their region's playoff qualifier. The playoff runners-up received a spot in the Wild Card qualifier; a single bracket, double elimination tournament held in Seattle a day before the main event, with the semi-final victors receiving the final two spots.

The invited teams were:

Region Regional qualifier Playoff qualifier Wild card qualifier
Americas Evil Geniuses Digital Chaos compLexity Gaming
Europe Team Secret Alliance Escape Gaming
China Wings Gaming Vici Gaming Reborn EHOME.cn
Southeast Asia TnC Gaming Fnatic Execration

The final prize table was as follows:

Place Team Prize money
1st Wings Gaming $9,139,002
2nd Digital Chaos $3,427,126
3rd Evil Geniuses $2,180,898
4th Fnatic $1,453,932
5th/6th EHOME $934,671
MVP Phoenix
7th/8th Team Liquid $519,262
TnC Gaming
9th–12th Alliance $311,557
OG
LGD Gaming
Newbee
13th–16th Escape Gaming $103,852
Natus Vincere
Team Secret
Vici Gaming Reborn

2017

As with previous years of the tournament, a corresponding battle pass for Dota 2 was released before the event, allowing the prize pool to be crowdfunded.[34][35][36] Known as the "Compendium", 25% of revenue made by it was sent directly towards the tournament's prize pool.[36]

The tournament initially began with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), China, Europe, North America, South America, and Southeast Asia regional qualifiers in June 2017.[37] Prior to the main event on August 2–5, two separate best-of-two round robin groups consisting of nine teams each were played, with the bottom placed team of each group being eliminated.[38][39][40] The remaining 16 teams moved on to the double elimination main event at the KeyArena in Seattle from August 7–12, with the top four finishing teams from both groups advancing to the upper bracket, and the bottom four advancing to the lower bracket.[39][38][37] The first round of the lower bracket was treated as single-elimination, with the loser of each match being immediately eliminated from the tournament.[38][40] Every other round of both brackets was played in a best-of-three series, with the exception being the grand finals, which was played between the winners of the upper and lower brackets in a best-of-five series.[38][40] This also marked the first time in an International where the winning team of the tournament won 3-0 in the grand finals.

Direct invitation
Regional qualifier winners
  • iG Vitality (China)
  • LGD.Forever Young (China runner-up)
  • LGD Gaming (China third place)
  • Team Empire (CIS)
  • Team Secret (Europe)
  • HellRaisers (Europe runner-up)
  • Cloud9 (North America)
  • Digital Chaos (North America runner-up)
  • Infamous (South America)
  • TNC Pro Team (Southeast Asia)
  • Fnatic (Southeast Asia runner-up)
  • Execration (Southeast Asia third place)
Place Team Prize money
1st Team Liquid $10,862,683
2nd Newbee $3,950,067
3rd LGD.Forever Young $2,592,231
4th LGD Gaming $1,728,154
5th/6th Invictus Gaming $1,110,956
Virtus.pro
7th/8th OG $617,198
Team Empire
9th–12th Digital Chaos $370,319
Evil Geniuses
Team Secret
TNC Pro Team
13th–16th Cloud9 $123,440
Execration
iG Vitality
Infamous
17th–18th Fnatic $61,720
HellRaisers

2018

The International 2018 was held at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada from August 20–25, 2018.[41] The location change was due to the KeyArena undergoing renovation construction at the time.[42] As another change from previous Internationals, it featured a series of tournaments, running from October 2017 until June 2018 and known as the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), that awarded qualifying points with the top eight ranking teams receiving direct invitations.[43][44][45][46][47][48] The grand finals took place between OG and PSG.LGD, with OG winning the series 3–2. Their victory was considered a Cinderella and underdog success story, as they had came from the open qualifiers and were not favored in matches throughout the competition.

Place Team Prize money
1st OG $11,190,158
2nd PSG.LGD $4,069,148
3rd Evil Geniuses $2,670,379
4th Team Liquid $1,780,252
5th/6th Team Secret $1,144,448
Virtus.pro
7th/8th OpTic Gaming $635,804
VGJ.Storm
9th–12th Mineski $381,483
Team Serenity
Vici Gaming
Winstrike Team
13th–16th Fnatic $127,161
Newbee
TNC Predator
VGJ.Thunder
17th–18th Invictus Gaming $63,580
paiN Gaming

2019

The International 2019 will be held in Shanghai at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.[49]

Media coverage

The primary medium for The International coverage is through the live streaming platform Twitch.tv. Throughout each year, tournament coverage is done by a selection of online gaming and electronic sports organizations who provide live streaming, commentary, and articles surrounding games in the progress, similar to sports commentators and analysts.[21] Multiple streams are provided in a variety of languages. The International also sometimes provides a "newbie stream" that is dedicated to casting each game for viewers who are unfamiliar with the game and its rules.

For The International 2014, Valve announced that coverage would also be presented in collaboration with ESPN on its live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3. In addition, an exclusive show previewing the final match was presented on ESPN2.[50]

Notes

  1. formerly Team Malaysia
  2. Played the qualifiers as North American Rejects v2

References

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