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The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners

The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners

The multi-user online game Dota 2 is getting more and more fans worldwide. Since the very beginning of its appearance, since the time of the first version, the game has been attracting players thanks to its advanced graphics, ability to wake up team spirits of players, and also various bonuses provided by the developers of the game.

Not the last place of Dota 2 popularity reason is given to huge prize pool in esports. Nowadays a prize pool of three hundred thousand dollars is considered to be less than average in Dota 2 while CS:GO players (the second popular esports game) can participate in tournaments with similar prizes only rarely.

Certainly, each Dota 2 player dreams of creating their own team to win big tournaments as Epicenter, DreamLeague, The International or other significant tournaments together. Consider this, a million dollars of a prize at the initial tournament of the season! Where else could you find such opportunities?

Besides, unlike other disciplines, it is not so unreal to win a Dota 2 tournament as it seems to be. You create a team, play, and if you win, your rating in the overall standing increases on the producer site. And a team with a huge rating can easily get to a tournament with well-paid prize positions. Of course, to achieve it, you need to play well, but there is no telling what could happen.

Among all the tournaments, one is decisive, a dream of all Dota 2 esportsmen, World championship of the game held once a year – The International. The sum of the prize money there reaches several dozens of thousands dollars and it is growing from year to year.  Apart from the money prize, the winner gets «Aegis of Champions» - a cup of bronze and silver made as a shield. Eighteen teams participate in each tournament. Twelve rosters get invited directly, while the other six get defined with open qualifiers which let even new players make it to the tournament! So give it a shot!

The International – where did everything start?

The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners. Photo 1

The first tournament was held in 2011. Sixteen teams were invited to the competition without holding a knockout stage. Then the tournament could hardly be called an esports holiday which we are used to see now.

The tournament was held in Cologne, at the arena Gamescom, and had a prize pool consisted of 1,6 million dollars. It was huge money as the record with prize money was broken at that moment. We should mark that the game Dota 2 was represented for the first time at that very tournament. There were live streams of the games. That tournament was won by the legendary Ukrainian team Natus Vincere by the score of 3-1 winning over EHOME at the final.

Also the tournament broke a view record. The games were watched by more that a million and a half viewers, the biggest part of the audience was represented by Chinese esports fans. The Chinese team was considered to be a real favorite, but   orchestrated actions of the Ukrainians put an end to Chinese dreams of the championship. The Russian team M5 lost only against two teams, both of them were finalists, and didn't make it out of the group.

The International 2012

The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners. Photo 2

This and the next five tournaments were held in the American city Seattle  This is the first separate Dota 2 tournament (the previous one was held as a part of an esports exhibition). The event was held at the Benaroya Hall tournament. Sixteen teams participated in the tournament. Fourteen made it directly, the two others won qualifiers to pass further. The prize pool again was 1,6 million dollars.

At the final we could see again representatives of Ukraine and China, but the place of EHOME was taken by their countrymen IG. NaVi lost by the score of 1-3, however, they showed enviable consistency making it to two best teams for the second time. Dota 2 had been upgraded by that tournament, even though it was far from the modern version.

The International 2013

The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners. Photo 3

This tournament was the last rise for the legendary NaVi, and the start of the way for another CIS esports legend – Virtus Pro (Russia). NaVi played at the final for the second year in a row (the achievement has never been repeated!), but lost against the Swedish team Alliance by the score of 2-3 at the final. The final prize pool consisted of a bit less than three million dollars. The Russian team couldn't make it out of the group.

The International 2014

 The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners. Photo 4

Eleven teams got to the tournament directly, while 4 teams got invited due to their first place at the qualifiers, and the other slots were played for by the teams who got the second place at the qualifiers.

Three teams from the CIS participated, two Russian ones (Team Empire and Virtus Pro), and also the Ukrainian team NaVi having unsuccessful results at the tournament. Having performed rather properly at the Round Robin stage, NaVi lost the next round against the future champion Newbee. The team changed three players and it could be the reason of their failure.

The team Virtus Pro performed even worse being unable to pass even to 16 Round Robin teams.

The prize pool of the competition was close to 11 million dollars.

The International 2015

The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners. Photo 5

Direct invitations were gained by ten teams, the other six teams got qualified at knockout tournaments from each continent. A specific feature of the season was an announcement made by the company Valve about holding three more big tournaments called Major at the next season. It increased popularity of the game even more.

Two Russian teams and a Ukrainian one participated in the tournament. However, only Virtus Pro managed to pass at the lower bracket where the Russians kicked such strong teams as Fnatic, complexity, Team Secret out. 

The battle with the former became Dota 2 classics. At that moment «Secrets» had the strongest roster and it was really difficult for VP to win over them. But at the next round VP didn't have enough power so they lost again the Chinese team  LGD.

At the final «Aegis of Champions» was played for by the American team Evil Genius and the Chinese team CDEC Gaming, where the North Americans won by the score of 3-1. The prize of the tournament grew again and it reached 18,5 million dollars.

The International 2016

The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners. Photo 6

The prize pool of the sixth tournament consisted of almost 21 million dollars. Direct invitations were given to six teams, the other ten got qualified through different knockouts. At the final of the tournament there was a meeting between  the European team Digital Chaos and the Chinese team Wings Gaming who got the win.

The only representative of the CIS was NaVi, with their only achievement of keeping in sixteen best.

The International 2017

The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners. Photo 7

The last tournament held in Seattle, the USA. The prize pool consisted of approximately 25 million dollars.

This tournament was remembered for three upgrades.

  • Firstly, the organizers refused to invite teams to the tournament directly. Instead of that there appeared the Dota Pro Circuit rating system. The first eight teams by DPC Points got direct slots at the tournament. Therefore, any team that has performed well during the season can get to the championship without participating in the qualifiers. The other teams get selected at regional knockouts. 
  • Secondly, the tournament was represented by 18 teams (at the group stage), but not sixteen as before;
  • Thirdly, there was the first match held between an alive professional player and a bot where the bot got victorious.

The win at the final was gained by Team Liquid, defeating the Chinese team Newbee by the score of 3-0. The mood of esports fans from the CIS was spoiled by the fact that this was the first The International where the legends from Ukraine – NaVi – didn't take part in.

The International 2018

The International Dota 2 tournaments: history, facts, winners. Photo 8

As well as in 2017, direct trips to the Canadian Vancouver were gained by eight teams by the DPC rating while ten trips were played for at the qualifiers. The prize pool of the tournament The International 2018 consisted of 25,5 million dollars which was a record. It was rather unexpected that the final was won by OG who had passed to the tournament through the qualifiers. OG got a difficult win over PSG.LGD from China, by the score of 4-3 at the final. 

This way, the tradition of winning even championships by Chinese teams and odd championships by West ones was broken. ОG became the second team which managed to win the tournament having got there not by a direct invitation, but through a qualifier. Besides, the tournament held a match of all stars where «Light Forces» won over «Dark Forces»

The International 2019

It will be held in Shanghai and of course it must get the max prize pool – as the experts say, it has already exceeded 30 million dollars and maybe more as the historical maximum of The International 2018 was outdone only in a half of the time taken for getting a prize pool.  

Taking the fact that neither of the teams won The International twice, we should expect a new champion.

Today we know nine teams who deserve slots at the tournament:

Three more teams will get defined after the last Major tournament – EPICENTER Major 2019 – when the final DPC Points bracket is formed.

The last 6 teams will make it to the tournament through the regional qualifiers.

Conclusion

The prize pool of The International is increasing every year. As we can conclude from the experience, anyone can win the tournament regardless of the results of a regular season. It stimulated interest in Dota 2, as if there is a wish, anyone can try themselves at serious tournaments. This year The International is to be especially interesting as it is held in Asia for the first time – the continent where esports is especially popular. Watch this competition even if you don't like the game as the tournament is going to be one of a kind.