The International 2019 Preview
The International 2019 or TI9 is the final event of the Dota Pro Circuit 2018-2019 season. This year’s iteration of the event will be the first ever on Chinese soil as The Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai is the venue of choice where the Dota 2 international 2019 champion is crowned. It is a year of firsts, as the new point system of the Dota Pro Circuit’s Minors and Majors is be used to determine the twelve invites to The International. Additionally, six teams instead of eight will qualify for the event through regional qualifiers.
The completion of the Dota Pro Circuit 2018/2019 Minor/Major season gave us the twelve Dota 2 International 2019 teams that earned a spot at the final event:
- Team Secret
- Vici Gaming
- Evil Geniuses
- Team Liquid
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- TNC Predator
- Keen Gaming
An additional 6 teams will qualify for the event through the Regional qualifiers discussed below.
The TI9 prize pool is mostly crowdfunded by purchasing exclusive features and legendary rewards available through the Battle Pass. With each Battle Pass sale, 25% of the sale price is added to The International 2019 prize pool. This year a certain “glitch” in Valve’s system at the release of the Weekend Battle Pass Bundle made it possible for people to buy a bundle twice instead of once, making the prize pool skyrocket to unprecedented values.
The prize pool of TI8 was $25.5M and the recent Fortnite World Cup was offering $30.0M. The International 2019 is set to surpass the 30M value and set a new record as the biggest prize pool at a single event in eSports history.
The initial prize pool of the tournament is a measly $1,6M.
The current Dota 2 International 2019 prize pool is $26,350,367. (July 8th 2019)
The Dota 2 International 2019 qualifiers are in full swing across all six qualifying regions (North America, South America, Europe, CIS, Southeast Asia, China). Two Open Qualifiers per region were held between June 3rd – June 6th 2019. A total of 5,450 registered teams fought for the dream of representing their team and region at the big stage in Shanghai. The final qualifying stage brought this massive number down to just 48 teams (8 in each region) who will battle between July 7th – 14th for the final 6 slots at the event.
Closed qualifier teams: CompLexity Gaming, Forward Gaming, J.Storm, BeastCoast, Team Xolotl, Kookaburra, Swaaag, Black Sheep
Closed qualifier teams: Team Ham, Thunder Predator, Pain Gaming, Infamous, Furia, SG e-sports, EgoBoys, Gorillaz-Pride
Closed qualifier teams: The Final Tribe, Chaos Esports, Anti-MagE-, Epic Name, Hippomaniacs, Bald, six eight two, Team Singularity
Closed qualifier teams: Natus Vincere, Gambit, Winstrike, Team Empire, Team Spirit, FlyToMoon, Vega Squadron, Nemiga Gaming
Closed qualifier teams: EHOME, Aster, Royal Never Give up, Invictus Gaming, Team Sirius, CDEC Gaming, Serenity, Newbee
South East Asia
Closed qualifier teams: Mineski, BOOM ID, Resurgence, Team Jinesbrus, Team Adroit, EVOS Esports, 496 Gaming, Team Amplfy
Group Stage – August 15th – August 18th, 2019
Main Event – August 20th – August 25th, 2019
TI History & The International Dota 2
The International (or TI) is a Dota 2 world championship organized each year in Seattle by the company that owns the game, namely Valve Corporation. The event takes place at the end of summer (in August), lasts around 10 days, and brings together the best Dota 2 teams in the world.
The International has a great history behind it, being at its 8th edition this year. The first TI took place in 2011, after a shocking announcement from Valve: 16 of the world’s best teams were going to be invited at a massive Dota 2 event with a prize pool that exceeded everyone’s imagination: 1.6 million dollars.
At the time, League of Legends was becoming more and more popular and had the first-mover advantage. To level the playing field (at least to some degree), Valve needed to do something spectacular. And being a highly successful company with a billionaire founder, what better publicity stunt could they pull off other than a tournament with a massive prize pool? Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) went home with 1 million dollars after that event, tripling Ukraine’s GDP for 2011 (just kidding).
The very first edition of The International was held in Cologne, Germany, but all the others took place in the United States. And, with the exception of the second TI (which had the same prize pool as the first), every edition of The International had a prize pool considerably higher than its predecessor.
- The International 1: $1.6 million
- The International 2: $1.6 million
- The International 3: $2.8 million
- The International 4: $10.9 million
- The International 5: $18.4 million
- The International 6: $20.7 million
- The International 7: $24.7 million
Winners of The International
A fascinating aspect regarding The International is that it has never been won twice by the same team. We’ve had 7 different winners in 7 editions so far, which is a testament to the game’s complexity. With somewhere around 750 notions and mechanics that need to be grasped in order to understand the game even at its most basic level, Dota 2 is without a doubt one of the most challenging journeys that you can embark on as an esports enthusiast.
In chronological order, these are the teams that managed to win The International”:
- 2011: Natus Vincere
- 2012: Invictus Gaming
- 2013: Alliance
- 2014: Newbee
- 2015: Evil Geniuses
- 2016: Wings Gaming
- 2017: Team Liquid
Tournament invite system
Past editions of The International brought together either 16 or 18 teams. Some of these teams were directly invited based on their performance throughout the season, while the others were required to qualify.
Starting with the 2017-2018 competitive season, things have become a lot more transparent, as a professional circuit (called the Dota Pro Circuit) with tournaments and qualification points was created. At the end of the season, the top 8 teams from the Dota Pro Circuit rankings will receive a direct invite to The International 2018. The other 8 teams will have to qualify.
The International is usually played in 2 stages. The first of these stages is called the Group Stage and it divides participants into 2 groups. Based the Group Stage results, the teams are paired up for the second stage, called the Playoffs. This second stage is played in a GLS format (double elimination bracket). This is particularly advantageous for teams that don’t manage to get the best start but are very good at adapting as they go along, because one loss doesn’t imply immediate elimination.
In 2017 for instance, Team Liquid got sent to the lower bracket rather quickly, after losing their first upper bracket match against Invictus Gaming (score 1 – 2). However, thanks to their capacity to adapt to the tournament’s meta, they ended up winning the whole event with 6 wins in a row.
Being the most important Dota 2 event of each competitive season, The International is viewed by millions of fans around the world. And since people love winners and players who display tremendous skill on the digital battlefield, it’s easy to understand why some of the people involved in this esport have attained star-like status.
Here are just a few of the names that are easily recognized by Dota 2 fans across the globe:
- Danil “Dendi” Ishutin
- Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
- Sun “Aggresif” Zheng
- Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg
- Zhang “xiao8” Ning
- Peter “ppd” Dager
- Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
- Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi
- Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi
Most memorable moments
The 7 editions of The International we’ve had so far created some very memorable moments. Among them, I would list the following:
- Na’Vi winning the very first TI in 2011
- BuLba’s Clockwerk helping Team Liquid defeat LGD Gaming at TI 3
- Na’Vi abusing Pudge’s Fountain Hooks at TI 3
- Alliance winning the Finals against Na’Vi at TI 3
- EG winning TI 5 thanks to UNiVeRsE’s “6 million dollars Echo Slam”
- Digital Chaos making it all the way to the Finals at TI 6
- Team Liquid winning TI 7
Besides these great in-game moments, The International also offered people some excellent cosplays and other cool events. In 2017, several people from OpenAI, one of Elon Musk’s companies, featured their unbeatable (at the time) AI Bot in a 1v1 match against Dendi. The Bot destroyed Dendi in that Shadow Fiend vs. Shadow Fiend series, leaving the audience in a state of shock.
Dota 2 betting during The International
As you can imagine, The International is thoroughly covered by dedicated esports betting operators such as Esportsbetting.com. A wide variety of odds is usually offered for this event, so if you have good knowledge of Dota 2 and its professional scene, The International 2018 will be a great opportunity to put this knowledge to use.
The International 2018
This year, The International will be held in Vancouver, Canada instead of Seattle, US between August 20th – 25th. Valve made this change as a result of past US visa problems for some of the participants.
Tickets sales for the event begin on March 23rd – 24th (depending on where you live in the world) and will be available on Ticketmaster.ca. The tickets will be of two types: the Midweek ticket (125 Canadian dollars – first 4 days of the event) and the Finals ticket (250 Canadian dollars – last 2 days of the event).