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The International Dota 2 Championship: All You Need To Know

The International is an international-level championship held annually since 2011. It is organised by game developer Valve. It is played between two teams, five in five on the esports video game Dota 2. The International is the final round of Dota Pro Circuit, also known as DPC. It consists of a total of 20 teams, out of them 12 are selected from the final results of Dota Pro Circuit and six from regional leagues that are conducted in North America, China, South America, South East Asia and Eastern Europe and Western Europe and rest two are last chance qualifiers.

The International was first organised in 2011 at Gamescom for promotion of the game release. Later, seeing the positive response, it is organised annually in Seattle, the headquarters of Valve. Later, it was hosted internationally under the name “The International 2018”.

Tournament Prize has always been crowdfunded since the beginning through the Battle Pass system, where players buy the battle pass in exchange for additional items and benefits. Usually quarter of revenue earned through the battle pass system goes toward funding the tournament prize. The International is known for offering the largest single prize in any tournament of any esports event out there, the largest reaching up to $40 Million. The most recent ‘The International 2022’ event was won by Tundra Esports.

What is Dota 2?

Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game launched in 2013 by Valve. It is the sequel to the existing game Defense of Ancients, also known as DotA 1. It was played between two teams consisting of five players each. Each team occupies and defends its own base on the map. There is a special character named ‘Hero’, which is controlled by all these ten players. It has unique, distinct abilities and special powers and different styles of play. Throughout the match, players collect experience points and items for their heroes, which helps them in defeating the heroes of opposite teams in one of one combat. The team which destroys the opposite team’s so-called ‘Ancient’ located in their base, becomes the winner.

The International 2022

dota2 The International 2022
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Most Recently, The International 2022 was hosted in Singapore in the month of October. The International return to Asia for the second time. The playoffs were held in Suntec Singapore and Grand Finale was held in Singapore Indoor Stadium. The Invite format was similar to preceding The International tournaments, where a point system based on officially sponsored regional leagues and majors was used to select the teams that would be invited to The International 2022 Tournament.

This Year, the number of teams was expanded from 18 to 20, as it was announced that second and third-place teams from regional qualifiers will compete with the last chance qualifier prior to The International main event. It will determine the last two additional spots. It had two main events: Group Stage and Main Event. In the Group stage, two round-robin groups were formed of 10 teams each.

The top four teams from each group were put in the upper bracket, the next four in the lower bracket and other teams were eliminated. In Main Event, sixteen teams compete in the double elimination bracket, leading to Tundra Esports and Team Secret competing in Grand Finale.

However, this time prize pool was the smallest since The International 2015, estimated to total $19 Million. The Grand Finale was held between Tundra esports and Team Secret, where Tundra Esports won by 3-0. Tundra Esports receive prize money of $8.5 Million, followed by first runner-up Team secret and second runner-up Team Liquid who got $2.4 Million and $1.7 Million respectively.

The International 2021

dota2 The International 2021
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The International 2021 was held in Arena National, Bucharest, Romania in October 2021. It was originally planned to be a live event, however, a week prior Valve announced that only teams, production staff and other important personnel will only be allowed to attend, due to rising Covid cases. All tickets were refunded.

The tournament followed Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), from which the top 12 ranking teams were directly invited by Valve and the organisers. Regional Qualifiers were held in early 2021, to select the rest six teams. This time, total prize pool money reached $40 Million, breaking its record, and making it the largest prize pool in the history of esports.

The Grand finale was held between Teams Spirits and PSG.LGD, in which Team Spirits won by 3-2 in the best of all five series. They received a total of $18.2 Million as prize money. First Runner up was PSG.LGD and the second runner-up was Team Secret, they received $5.2 Million and $3.6 Million as prizes respectively.

The International 2020

The International 2020 was supposed to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, but was cancelled due to strict Covid-19 restrictions by Swedish Sports Federation. They denied recognising esports as a sporting event due to which players were not able to secure travel visas to travel there. It was later rescheduled to 2021.

The International 2019

dota2 The International 2019
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The International 2019 was held on Chinese soil at Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai. It followed the previous year’s format to choose the 12 invites to The International 2019 event. 12 Teams were qualified through Dota 2 pro circuit and rest 6 were qualified through regional qualifiers, with regions being China, South East Asia, North America, Europe, CIS, and South America.

This tournament has found rounds: Open Qualifiers, Regional Qualifiers, Group Stage and Main Event. The total prize pool for The International 2019 was $34 Million. OG was the winning team, who received $15.6 Million, followed by first runner-up Team Liquid and second runner-up PSG.LGD, who receive prize money of $4.4 Million and $3.0 Million respectively.

The International 2018

dota2 The International 2018
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The International 2018 was for the first time when a tournament was hosted outside Seattle. It was held in Rogers Arena, Vancouver, Canada in the month of August. However, this time point system based on officially sponsored Majors and Minors was used to select the invites for The International.

The tournament format had four main stages: Open Qualifier, Regional Qualifier, Group stage and Main Event. Group Stage was played in round robin format, where all 18 teams were divided into two, and the top four teams advanced to the upper bracket of The International final event.

The International 2018 was won by Europe Based OG, who bagged the prize money of $11. 2 Million, followed by PSG.LGD and Evil Geniuses won $4.0 Million and $2.6 Million respectively.

The International 2017

dota2 The International 2017
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The Tournament was expanded to 18 teams from 16 teams before The International 2017. It was also the last time, the tournament occur in Seattle. After The International 2017, it was hosted in new countries every time. It still had five main rounds however, one more round was added before the open qualifiers round, known as the Champion qualifiers. There was no more wild card entry.

The tournament had the following rounds in respective order: Champion Qualifier, Open Qualifier, Main Qualifier, Group Stage and the Main Event, where the final sixteen teams play in double elimination format over the next six days. The total Prize pool for The International 2017, was increased to $24.7 Million as 25% of Battle Pass sales was added to prize money.

The First Prize was won by Netherlands-based Team Liquid, who bagged prize money of $10.9 Million, followed by Newbee and LGD Forever young, who got $3.9 Million and $2.5 Million respectively.

The International 2016

dota2 The International 2016
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The International 2016 was the sixth annual edition of The International gaming tournament. Six teams were directly invited by the organisers, and 8 teams were qualified through regional tournaments with eight regional single-elimination open qualifiers, with two brackets for each region.

It has five stages: Open qualifiers, Main Qualifiers, Wild Card, Group Stage and Main Event, where all finalised sixteen teams competed in a double elimination format for the next six days. 1st Prize was won by Chinese-based Wings Gaming, who took $9.1 Million home, followed by Digital Chaos and Evil Geniuses, who won the prize money for $3.4 Million and $2.1 Million respectively.

The International 2015

dota2 The International 2015
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The International 2015 was won by US-based Evil Geniuses, beating Chinese-based CDEC Gaming by 3-1. The total prize pool of the tournament was $18.9 Million, and Evil Genius won $6.6 Million as prize money. It was held in KeyArena, Seattle.

The International 2014

dota2 The International 2014
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In 2014, The International took place in Seattle in the month of July. 11 Teams receive a direct invitation and rest 4 teams were selected from the round of the regional qualifier that was held on May 2014. The last Team was determined by Wild Card Qualifiers from runner-ups of regional competitions. The tournament was crowdfunded again taking prize money to $10.9 Million, breaking records in the history of esports. It was broadcast on ESPN for the first time and made Dota 2 players the highest-earning players of esports at that time. It was won by China-based Newbee, which alone took home the prize money of $5 Million.

The International 2013

dota2 The International 2013
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The International was held again in 2013 during the month of August. Sixteen teams participated in this event, out of which thirteen of them received direct invitations from the organisers. The remaining three teams were decided by the qualifying round at the start of the tournament. As the BattlePass system was announced recently, it allowed the prize money to be crowdfunded.

One-quarter of the revenue from the BattlePass system was added to the base of $1.6 Million, taking the value of the prize to more than $2.8 Million. It made it the largest prize pool money in the history of esports of that time. Sweden Based Alliance won The International 2013, by defeating former winner Natus Vincere by 3-2 in the grand finale.

The International 2012

dota2 The International 2012
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In May 2012, Valve announced “The International ” as the recurring event that will be held in Seattle in August with the same prize amount of $1.6 Million, $1 million for the winning team and the rest for other teams. In this tournament, Last year’s winner Natus Vincere lost the title to Chinese Invictus Gaming by 3-1 in Grand Finale. They won the grand prize of $ 1 Million, followed by Natus Vincere, who came second and got $250,000. LGD Gaming won 3rd prize and got $150,000. It was played in a similar manner as “The International 2011”.

The International 2011

Dota 2 The International 2011
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‘The International 2011’ was announced by Valve in August 2011. It was organised to launch the game Dota 2, where 16 teams were invited to compete and win the grand prize of $1 million. It was funded by Valve and Nvidia and supported all hardware requirements. It started with a group stage with the winner of the four groups getting into the winner bracket and following to a double elimination round.

The final round was played between Ukrainian-based Natus Vincere and Chinese-based EHOME. Natus Vincere won the tournament by 3-1, bagging a grand prize of $1 Million. EHOME took home $250, 000 and the rest 14 teams got the remaining $350,000.

How Championship is Conducted?

The tournament format is changed almost every year, depending on Valve and other sponsors to keep the competition interesting and fun.

Which is most successful The International Team and Player?

The most successful DOTA 2 eSports team is OG, having amassed total winnings of over 36 million U.S. dollars through eSports tournaments. OG is also home to the most successful DOTA 2 player of all time, N0tail.

What are the Future Plans of The International?

As for now, Valve didn’t announce any plans about The International 2023. It is too early for that, as it is usually announced in the month of May or June. Till now, Eleven Tournaments have been conducted since 2011. Tundra Esports is the most recent champion of The International 2022 (Dota 2).

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