Nowadays, every popular eSport title has its professional league or a series of tournaments. Those things allow the best players and teams in the world to show what they’re capable of. These events usually have an impressive prize pool that can reach jaw-dropping numbers, especially for games such as Dota 2.
Every Dota 2 fan knows that Valve organizes a series of competitions. The so-called “Dota Pro Circuit” was first introduced in 2017. The professional tournament format system went through many changes over the years. However, it always ended with The International. Let's talk about the Dota 2 International 2022 changes.
This Dota 2 tournament is popular even among people who don’t play Dota 2. There are many reasons why experts consider this the most popular competition in eSports, and this article will try to show you some of them.
Dota 2 International History
The International is a tournament in Dota 2 that people often refer to as TI. It is an annual event organized by Valve, and it has been around for more than ten years. The first-ever TI was held in 2011 in Cologne, Germany, during a popular show known as Gamescom. The idea of this tournament is to introduce Dota 2 to the public.
Besides Valve’s new game and the fact that the best players in DotA would have to go up against each other, the event became famous for its jaw-dropping prize pool. The first TI had a $1.6M prize pool, which was unheard of back in the day. Every top-rated team at that time wanted to win because the prize for the champions was $1,000,000.
Following the original TI, the event was held in Seattle, Washington, from 2012 to 2017. The TI 2 prize pool was the same as last year’s, but instead of sixteen teams, Valve decided to invite 14. However, once TI 3 arrived, Valve allowed the community to contribute to the tournaments’ prize pool by purchasing in-game cosmetic items. The so-called “Compendium” features assets, couriers, animations, emotes, quests, and much more.
Due to the COVID-19 Dota pandemic, Valve decided to postpone the event for 2021. Originally, TI 10 was supposed to take place in Stockholm, Sweden. However, the pandemic and restrictions forced the company to relocate to Bucharest, Romania.
Dota 2 International prize pool
Apart from the fact that TI is an annual event that includes the best teams in the world, the tournament is famous for its life-changing prize pools. The reward for TI 1 and TI 2 was impressive on its own, but once Valve allowed the community to contribute, things changed drastically.
Since a portion of every Compendium went for the prize pool, TI 3 had double the prize. Dota 2 fans expected the same to happen in 2014, but the prize pool reached almost $11M, which was (and still is) insane. The prize pool grew every year, and once TI 10 arrived, the best team in the world had to compete for more than $40M. Although Valve postponed TI 10 due to the global pandemic, the company did not allow the community to contribute more money than it already did. If that were the case, TI 10’s prize pool would probably be double the size.
Of course, The International has a prize pool of million dollars doesn’t mean the winner gets everything. In most cases, the winner receives almost half of the prize, which is impressive. For example, Team Spirit (the winners of TI 10) took home $18,208,300 out of $40,018,195.
The tournament itself
Even though the number of teams was different, the International had a similar format. The participants are divided into two groups to play in a round-robin format. All places are in Bo2 format.
Each region has its respective representatives. Besides Western Europe, every TI has teams from China, SEA, Eastern Europe (CIS), and North America. There are also South American representatives in the last couple of years, even though there weren’t any teams from this region before.
Once the Group Stage is over, the best four teams have the chance to compete in the Upper Bracket of the Main Event. The teams that finish last in their respective groups are eliminated. Everyone else advanced to the Lower Bracket (LB). Usually, Round 1 of the LB is in best-of-one format (BO1), whereas every other match until the Grand Final is Bo3. Once the two best teams have to go up against each other, they have to play in a best-of-five format.
Of course, there have been changes, especially regarding the format. For example, the original TI had four groups, and every match until the Upper Bracket Final and the LB R5 was in Bo1. There have been many changes to how the teams get to the event. Instead of receiving direct invitations, nowadays, teams need to compete in their respective DPC and earn their tournament spot.
Fun facts related to The Dota 2 International
Since this is Dota 2’s premiere tournament, don’t be surprised that there are many interesting facts about it. The first one is related to players' trophies when they win. Besides the mind-blowing amount of money, every TI winner receives the Aegis of Champions. The latter is a trophy whose reverse side is engraved with the names of each player who was a part of the winning team. Besides the Aegis for the champions, usually, people who reach a specific Compendium level can also receive miniature replicas.
Another impressive fact about The International is the event’s coverage. Like any other big eSports tournament, this one is live-streamed on Twitch. However, instead of providing only one stream in English, people can watch Dota 2’s most prestigious tournament in Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Each live stream has its hosts, usually ex-pro players or experts in Dota 2.
Thanks to hype around The International, this tournament has become something more than just another Dota 2 event. That’s why Valve decided to release a special documentary called “Free to Play.” This documentary showed three of the best players in the world and what they did when they played at the first TI in 2011. Following this “movie,” Valve created several episodes of True Sight, a mini-documentary that followed some of the best players.
The future of The Dota 2 International
Although the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the event in 2020, we had the chance to watch it in 2021. A couple of months after the tournament ended, Valve changed the DPC format. The company constantly changes some of the core rules so that the DPC can be more interesting to watch. With that being said, there should be another TI soon. Although there were exceptions, most TIs took place in August.