It’s that time of year again. Grab your tide green polo shirt. Pull up a massive bag of trail mix. Block out a week of your life. The Dota 2 International tournament is upon us. This year, the prize pool has broken a staggering 23 million dollars – for those that care about such things. Though Valve has listened to feedback and no longer does the finalist walk away with half that amount and the money is better spread to see that most participants are making a sizeable return should the make it to the prestigious event.
This year there’s no wild card slot. Instead, we had a massive number of teams qualify through regional competitions to get an invite. Of the eighteen participants, only six of them received a direct invite. Furthermore, no team will be eliminated in the first day before the group stages. Instead, the bottom teams from the two pools will not qualify for the main event. This is a reasonable compromise. It means the wild card teams who initially made it will see a bit more play and get a bit of a better chance to prove themselves. And while it sucks having teams invited not make the main event, dropping the bottom teams is fine since they have already demonstrated that they’re unlikely to do well against the top teams and it’s certainly a far better arrangement than prior wildcards received. They even got a cool $55,000 for showing up.
Kait and I are probably more excited for this years TI than most in recent memory. Partly because we missed last year (and Kait missed the year before) and partly because we’ve been trying to get back into Dota 2 as well. We certainly haven’t followed the professional scene and have no idea who is likely to be favourites going into the tournament. I’ll, of course, be cheering for the remnants of Fnatic reborn into the dominating OG team. OG has a tendency for ripping apart the competition throughout the year at Valve’s Major tournaments. Unfortunately, things seem to fall apart once they get to the big one. Will they be able to keep nerves in check and continue their streak? I almost am afraid for them to be successful and draw the awful Champion Curse upon themselves.
Kait, on the other hand, has lost her traditional underdogs. She’s been an Alliance fan since the history making TI 3. But the original players have scattered to the wind and the Alliance organization itself failed to qualify for this year. I think she’s tentatively swapped to cheering for OG as well but her loyalty is fickle and wavering. I know she has a soft spot for Burning so she might start supporting iG even if it seems unlikely for a team to win successive TIs.
All of this indicates that posting from us will be a little sparse over the coming week. But you’re welcome to tune in. Twitch.tv will be streaming the games and, of course, the tournament is free to watch within Valve’s Steam storefront and game client.
Either way, I’ve got my Dota 2 shirts ready and my digital banners ironed. Let’s go OG!