The International 2017 is the biggest event in eSports, with the concluding stages taking place from 2-12 August. It is the seventh edition of The International, with some similarities and some differences to previous years.
Here are the things you need to know ahead of the most important tournament in the Dota 2 calendar.
Where? When? How much?
The International will take place at its traditional home – The KeyArena in Seattle, USA. The Group Stage will open on 2 August, ending three days later. Following a two-day break, the competition will resume with the Main Event on 7 August, with the Grand Finals to decide the winner taking place on 12 August.
With a prize pool of $21,871,759 at the time of writing, this is already the biggest in eSports history, surpassing last year’s total of $20,770,460.
The tournament will be streamed on Twitch.tv and YouTube, and will also be free to watch in the game client of Dota 2.
There are 18 teams in total that will fight for the grand prize. Six of them were invited – Team Liquid (Europe), OG (Europe), Virtus.Pro (CIS), EG (North America), Invictus Gaming (China) and Newbee (China).
The other 12 earned spots through qualifiers – Team Secret (Europe), Planet Dog (Europe), Team Empire (CIS), iG.Vitality (China), LGD.Forever Young (China), LGD (China), TNC Pro Team (Southeast Asia), Execration (Southeast Asia), Fnatic (Southeast Asia), Team NP (North America), Digital Chaos (North America) and Infamous (South America).
Interestingly, the same three SEA teams who participated in TI6 – Execration, Fnatic and TNC – will represent the region again, while Infamous will become the first South American organization to participate at the International. Alongside Infamous, Planet Dog are the only other team to make their TI debut this time around.
No team has won the International twice, although iG (TI2 winners), Newbee (TI4) and EG (TI5) will be bidding to become the first side to do so this year. Only six players – EG.SumaiL, EG.UNiVeRsE, Newbee.Faith, Secret.Puppey, NP.Aui_2000 and OG.s4 – have the opportunity to claim their second TI title here.
Defending champions Wings Gaming have since disbanded, while no player from their TI6 winning squad has qualified so there will be no defending champions for the first time in the tournament’s history. Furthermore, last year’s beaten finalists Digital Chaos have had a complete squad change and the players who played in the TI6 Grand Finals have not qualified either.
Despite the successful introduction of the single-elimination bracket during the Boston Major in December 2016, as well as the use of a Swiss Group Stage format in the Kiev one, the International will largely keep the same format as last year.
There will be no Wildcard Round though as the 18 teams will be split into two groups of nine teams each, with the top four from each group advancing to the winners’ bracket. The teams finishing 5th-8th in each group will play in the lower bracket, while in a change to the format, the bottom side in each group will be eliminated.
The Group Stage matches will be played in a best-of-two Round Robin format, while the bracket bouts in the Main Event will be best-of-three. As is traditional, the Grand Finals will be best-of-five.
We are undoubtedly living in the age of the position 4 support meta. These are times when early rotations from the supports (who are most commonly used in position 4) can give a crucial early advantage, which makes them one of the most important figures on the battlefield. The supports are on the rise mostly at the expense of the position 1 hard carries, whose importance and impact has faded. Farming is as important as ever, but the games in the 7.06 patch are generally dynamic and offer a great deal of action.
Heroes wise, a great majority of the hero pool is viable and quite a few of the teams have picks that they favour and can work in various combinations. TI6 was a record breaker for any Dota 2 event with 104 unique hero picks (out of 111 at the time). The current number of heroes available is 113 and the record could be broken yet again.
Talent on the panel
The most noticeable change on the casting panel will be the absence of host Paul “ReDeYe” Schaloner as Valve decided not to invite him to this year’s event. Alex “Machine” Richardson is his most likely replacement. He is a CS:GO host and commentator who made a successful Dota 2 hosting debut at the Boston Major in December 2016. There is also a rumour going around that Sean “Day9” Plott is a possible candidate.
Usual suspects such as Toby “TobiWan” Dawson, Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner, Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden, David “LD” Gorman, Ben “Merlini” Wu and Owen “ODPixel” Davies among others are all expected to be there.