The International 2018, the biggest esports event in the world, may still be a couple of months away, but the journey for teams hoping to qualify has already begun.
What we know so far
After the conclusion of the Dota Pro Circuit series last weekend with the China Supermajor, we know the eight teams that have earned places at The International. They are (in order of seed ranking):
- Team Liquid
- Team Secret
- Vici Gaming
Now, a further 10 teams will make it through a series of regional qualifiers to join these eight.
Three seeds from the North American Qualifier (June 22-25)
With three places available in their section, North America’s eight qualifiers have the best statistical chances of reaching the big tourney. Unlike in other qualifiers, the top team in the group stage of the North American qualifier will earn its spot at The International directly. Then, the second- to fifth-place teams will fight for the final two spots via the playoffs.
This section includes some very big Dota 2 teams: OpTic Gaming, Immortals, Evil Geniuses, compLexity Gaming, and VGJ.Storm. There are also three lesser-known teams: Team Badu, Team Leviathan, and Just a Squad.
Two from the Southeast Asia Qualifier (June 22-25)
Both Southeast Asia qualifiers will earn their spots through the playoffs. The eight teams contesting the qualifier include some top Dota 2 teams, such as Fnatic and TNC Pro Team, with the other six teams being BOOM ID, TNC Tigers, Alpha Red, Entity Gaming, Battle Arena Elites, and Sterling Global Dragons.
One team from the South American Qualifier (underway)
There’s been something of a shock in the South American Qualifier, which began June 18. Infamous, who reached The International 2017 Finals and were one of the favourites to qualify, went out at the group stage. They won only one their five games.
The single qualifier will be between SG e-sports, paiN Gaming, Thunder Predator, and Torus Gaming.
One team from the European Qualifier (June 22-25)
Eight teams will battle for the single European Qualifier place. OG and Team Kinguin are two of the more familiar names in the eight teams. Yet they face stern competition from Wind and Rain, The Final Tribe, Kingdra, Singularity Esports, Blinkpool, and Alliance.
One team from the CIS Qualifier (underway)
As of this writing, Winstrike Team made the Grand Final, where they will play Double Dimension, Team Spirit, or ESPADA. Whoever wins among those four teams will be making their debut at The International. Three better-established teams, Gambit Esports, Team Empire and Vega Squadron, all went out in the group stage.
A note on China
Team Serenity and Invictus Gaming both made it from the China Qualifier earlier this week.
Invictus can count themselves fortunate after a patchy group stage. It saw them forced into a three-way playoff with LGD.Forever Young and Keen Gaming. The eventual winners scraped through with a 1-1 record.
Team Serenity were the strongest team in this section. They put on a solid performance in the group stage and then won the Upper Bracket to claim one qualification spot.
You can enjoy plenty of esports betting on all The International Qualifiers taking place around the world over the next few days at Betway, who are offering betting on which team will win each of the matches.
History of The International
This year will be the first that The International visits Canadian soil. It’s moving from its Seattle home (since 2012) to Vancouver for the first time. The only other city to host The International, was Cologne in 2011.
The prize money on offer for the winners has increased year after year, especially since the introduction of additional funds generated from sales of items to fans. The full list of winners of The International events in past years, together with the prize money they won is as follows:
|Year||Venue||Winner||Winner’s Prize Money|
|2011||Gamescom, Cologne||Natus Vincere (Ukr)||$1,000,000|
|2012||Benaroya Hall, Seattle||Invictus Gaming (Chn)||$1,000,000|
|2013||Benaroya Hall, Seattle||Alliance (Swe)||$1,437,190|
|2014||KeyArena, Seattle||Newbee (Chn)||$5,028,308|
|2015||KeyArena, Seattle||Evil Geniuses (US)||$6,616,014|
|2016||KeyArena, Seattle||Wings Gaming (Chn)||$9,139,002|
|2017||KeyArena, Seattle||Team Liquid (Eur)||$10,862,683|
|2018||Rogers Arena, Vancouver||?||?|
The growth of the tournament in terms of prize money is evident by the almost 11-fold increase since the first event. Indeed, at the 2017 tournament, the two teams that finished in the fifth and sixth spots, earned more from that finish ($1,110,956) than the winners of the first two tournaments pocketed in 2011 and 2012.
So far, no team has won the event twice, though Chinese teams have the best success rate with three wins (2012, 2014, and 2016). The other four winners hail from the United States, Ukraine, Sweden, and the European Union.
The International is considered the world championship for Dota 2 and one of the premiere events in all of esports.