Controversial Valve Decision Regarding The International 2018

The Dota Pro Circuit for the 2017-2018 competitive season is finally over. Nine months and 22 tournaments later, we finally have 8 teams that are qualified for The International 2018 and many others which will be competing in the Open and Regional Qualifiers.

Directly qualified teams

These are the teams that received a direct invite to The International 2018 as a result of their Dota Pro Circuit ranking.

  1. – 12372 points
  2. Team Liquid – 9459 points
  3. PSG.LGD – 7332 points
  4. Team Secret – 5136 points
  5. Mineski – 3150 points
  6. Vici Gaming – 2835 points
  7. Newbee – 2445 points
  8. VGJ.Thunder – 1935 points


Reserved slots per region

Apart from the 8 teams mentioned above, 10 others will be taking part in this year’s TI. Their selection will be made based on Regional Qualifiers, which in turn will receive top participants from the Open Qualifiers. The distribution of TI 8 qualification slots was made by Valve in the following way:

  • North America: 3 slots
  • China: 2 slots
  • Southeast Asia: 2 slots
  • South America: 1 slot
  • Europe: 1 slot
  • CIS: 1 slot

Well, that looks slightly uneven, doesn’t it? The motivation is understandable and the result will likely be the best possible one for the audience, in the sense that this distribution will probably ensure that the most famous 18 teams in the world will be present at The International 2018. But it also communicates a cynical message, which is this: Valve cares a lot more about its audience and providing it with its desired type of show than it cares about its professional scene.

The players are just gladiators thrown in a huge arena for the entertainment of the crowd. The most famous teams will motivate more people to come and see the show, so who cares about being fair to the teams themselves and their respective regions?

Normally, given the fact that:

  1. The previous edition of The International was won by a European team and had a Chinese team in the Grand Final.
  2. The current Dota Pro Circuit was won by a CIS team, followed by a European and a Chinese team.
  3. The current Dota Pro Circuit does not have a single North American team in the top 8.

Dota 2 Battle Pass 2018

You would expect Valve to think “well, it appears that North America isn’t really that strong at the moment. Furthermore, CIS and Europe obviously have a higher level of Dota and should receive more slots based on their 2017-2018 performance.” But instead of that, the rationale was this: “North America doesn’t have a single participant at this point. And there are 3 teams in this region that people want to see. Let’s make sure they all qualify, at the expense of CIS and European teams.

Furthermore, Southeast Asia only has one participant at this point. And there are 2 other teams in this region that people want to see. Let’s make sure they both qualify, at the expense of CIS and European teams.”

That kind of logic is good for the show and the audience, but bad and unjust for the professional scene. Going forward, I certainly hope that the rules will be specified more transparently so that merit is given where merit is due. Because this current way of doing things has self-interest written all over it.