This preview will explain how the tournament is organized, as well as how the prize money has swelled over the years to reach almost $21.5 million. In the forthcoming second part of this article, we will profile each of the 18 competing teams and their odds.
The International 2017
- Current Champions – Wings Gaming will not be back to defend the title they won in 2016, a first in the history of The International.
- Number of Teams Competing – Eighteen will open the group stage, and two will be eliminated before the main event begins with 16.
- Prize Money – At $21.5 million and likely to grow, the The International 2017 is the richest esports tournament ever. On top of the sponsors guaranteed prize fund of $1.6 million, 25 percent of the money from players buying Battle Passes is added to the prize pool.
- Main Sponsor – Valve
- Online or Offline – Offline
- Venue – KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, US
- Main event start date – Monday, Aug. 7
- Finish date – Saturday, Aug. 12
Group stage competition structure
Eighteen teams will be divided into two groups of nine. Each team will play the other teams in its group in best-of-two matches. A 2-0 victory for a team awards them two points; a 1-1 draw awards one point; and a 0-2 loss means zero points.
After all teams have played the others in their group, the teams will be ranked one through nine. The ninth-ranked team is eliminated and the top four seeds advance to the Upper Bracket of the main event. The fifth through eighth teams are placed in the Lower Bracket. A playoff will be used to break any ties relevant to bracket placement.
Main event structure
In the Upper Bracket, teams will play a best-of-three first round, with four winners progressing into the second round. The two winners at that point contest the Upper Bracket Finals, and the winner of that goes on to the Grand Final. Teams that lose at any stage of the Upper Bracket contests drop down into the Lower Bracket for a second chance to progress in the tournament.
The Lower Bracket begins with matches among the fifth through eighth seeds in the group stage. The losers of these matches are eliminated while the winners enter the Lower Bracket Round Two. Here, they will face the four losing teams from the Upper Bracket Round One.
The four winning teams from Lower Bracket Round Two then contest Lower Bracket Round Three. The two winners head to Lower Bracket Round Four, where they take on the losers from the Upper Bracket Round Two.
The two winners of Lower Bracket Round Four then face off in Lower Bracket Round Five, and the winner then faces the losing Upper Bracket finalist in the Lower Bracket Final. The winner of that game makes it through to the Grand Final, a best-of-five matchup.
The invited teams and qualifiers
The six invited teams are:
- Evil Geniuses
- Team Liquid
- Invictus Gaming
The 12 qualifiers are:
- Team Secret, Planet Dog (European Qualifiers)
- Team Empire (CIS Qualifier)
- iG Vitality, LGD.Forever Young, LGD Gaming (Chinese Qualifiers)
- TNC Pro Team, Fnatic, Execration (Southeast Asia Qualifiers)
- Team NP, Digital Chaos (North American Qualifier)
- Infamous (South American Qualifier)
The draw for the group stage has not yet been made.
The International 2017 special event
In addition to the massive team event, The International 2017 will also host a special event between two teams of all-star players. These players will be selected by viewers who purchased Battle Passes, and they will play in a five-on-five Captain’s Mode match.
The winning team will take home a $100,000 prize to be shared among the five players.