Every year in August, world’s most lucrative e sports tournament is played – The International. Every year 18 teams take their shot at achieving the ultimate goal of professional DotA 2 – becoming a legend and a millionaire, in one fell swoop.
To realize the importance of this event, we need to go back to 2011. Valve hired IceFrog, the developer of original DotA, a Warcraft 3 mod, to make it a full-fledged game in source 2 engine. DotA 2 didn’t even exit its open beta stage, when Valve announced the first International – a tournament with prize pool of 1 million dollars. Since then, The International became a permanent fixture in DotA 2 calendar, with prize pool growing each year through selling of compendiums, which regular players bought to donate to the prize pool.
Every year Valve would invite 8 best teams of the season directly to the event, while other teams would have to play Open Qualifiers, and later Closed Qualifiers, competing against hundreds of teams to get to the group stage of the International. This year was different because top 8 teams had to earn their invitation by playing in DotA pro circuit, a series of Valve hosted tournaments. Placing top 4 in these tournaments earned points for each team (similar to tennis). After the last tournament, points were added up and top 8 teams were invited to The International. Competitive atmosphere made the best teams shine throughout the season, as they had to fight hard for their place in the top 8.
This year top three DPC teams were Virtus Pro, Team Liquid and PSG-LGD. After group stage of the tournament concluded, all three ended up in the upper bracket. But the weren’t invincible, as few teams managed to beat them, showing that it will be a tough competition even for the best of the best.
PSG-LGD ended up being second, while Liquid took the 4th place. American team Evil Geniuses surprisingly managed to knock out Liquid in the lower bracket, and grabbed the third place by doing so.
Biggest surprise was this year’s winner, team OG from Europe. Assembling the players for OG was helter-skelter, structure of the team changed several times before the final lineup because two key players went to play for the other team., and everything was done just a few months before the International. The players didn’t have time to test their synergy as others, but in their case it didn’t matter. They fought through Open Qualifiers and reached Closed Qualifiers. They won again and earned the only slot for European contenders (because the other was already taken).
After the group stage, they got into the Upper Bracket by a hair, winning additional games against two teams they were tied with. After that, they just let the magic flow, skillfully beating other opponents.
Finals between OG and PSG-LGD were intense; it was the underdogs vs. the favorite. Final match decided the victory, as the two teams were equal after four encounters. After a challenging battle the underdogs have won.
This year International really took it to the next level. The competitive atmosphere brought the best out of all teams, and not too shabby price pool talks about how much this tournament is supported by fans, whose numbers grow each year.