Valve are sending off the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit with a bang in the form of the Dota 2 International 2019.
Set to be another record-breaking event, the most esteemed and awaited event of one of esports’ premiere titles is set to brings its yearly festivities outside of the United States for the second year in a row.
For the Dota 2 International 2019, the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China, will play host to 18 of the best Dota 2 teams from around the globe as they battle it out against each other over a two-week period for fame, prestige, and a huge chunk of the prize pool, with thousands of in-arena audiences and millions more around the globe following the action.
On August 15, the Dota 2 International 2019 kicks off with its group stages. Five days later, on August 20, the main event will follow suit.
Just as every year, the Dota 2 International 2019 will see many new faces, and a lot more familiar ones. Some are even returning after missing out on the biggest stage of them all last year or in the years prior.
With so much on the line, the tournament is worth taking a close look.
So, who’s playing? What’s at stake? Who’s worth keeping a close eye on? Be sure to read on below to find out.
Dota 2 International 2019: What Is It? What are the Teams Fighting For?
Dota 2 has continuously delivered one of esports’ most prestigious events year in and year out.
Starting with The International back in 2011, Valve has made it a point to out-grandiose anything else that esports has seen, with the tournament setting prize pool records (among others) every year since its very first iteration.
Now, the International serves as the culmination of an entire season’s worth of events following the introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit after TI7.
The Dota 2 International 2019, which takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, will continue Valve’s yearly tradition for Dota 2. Only this time, the tournament will see action for the first time overseas since the inaugural TI back in 2011, which was held during Gamescom 2011 in Germany.
Holding to the same standards of TI’s past, the Dota 2 International 2019 will feature elite teams competing on a grand stage, complete with a complementary lineup that’s equally deserving of a tournament of its stature.
Check out the official page on Dota 2’s website for more information.
Which Teams are Playing at the Dota 2 International 2019?
Eighteen teams from all around the world will converge in Shanghai for nearly two weeks of Dota 2 action.
Teams earned entry to the Dota 2 International 2019 via two days. The first of which is via direct invite based on their performance during the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit.
With 5 Minors and 5 Majors, the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit gave teams from every region equal opportunity to rack up points for their placements throughout the year. But, only the twelve highest point-getters received a free pass to the Dota 2 International 2019, and they are as follows:
- Team Secret
- Vici Gaming
- Evil Geniuses
- Team Liquid
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- TNC Predator
- Keen Gaming
Following the conclusion of the final Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, the EPICENTER Major 2019, other hopeful teams had a shot at qualifying for the Dota 2 International 2019 by playing through their respective regional qualifiers.
Dozens of teams vied for one of the eight spots available, but only these teams made it out of the skirmish alive.
- Newbee — North America
- Infamous — South America
- Chaos Esports Club — Europe
- Natus Vincere — CIS
- Royal Never Give Up — China
- Mineski — Mineski
What is the Tournament Format? What are the Teams Fighting For?
The Dota 2 International 2019 is split up into two parts: the group stages and an 18-team double-elimination bracket.
The International 2019 will see the group stages play out in the same as the more recent TI tournaments have. The 18 teams in the tournament are divided into two groups of two teams each and will play each other in best-of-one series.The four highest seeds from each group will advance to the Upper Bracket. Meanwhile, the rest will advance to the Lower Bracket. The bottom seeds from each group will then be eliminated from contention.
The main event will be the same as with previous TI tournaments.
After the group stages, the 18 teams will face off against each other in a double-elimination tournament, with most matches played in a best-of-three. The only exceptions are the opening rounds of the Lower Bracket (best-of-one) and the Grand Finals (best-of-five).
The prize pool is currently set at $32 million, but with nearly half a month of funding left, there’s still a chance for it to shoot past $30 million.
The percentage payouts for the Dota 2 International 2019 will be as follows:
- 1st Place — 45.5%
- 2nd Place — 13%
- 3rd Place — 9%
- 4th Place — 6%
- 5th-6th Place — 3.5%
- 7th-8th Place — 2.5%
- 9th-12th Place — 2%
- 13th-16th Place — 1.5%
- 17th-8th Place — 0.25%
Who are the Favourites to Win?
Team Secret posted one of the most dominant performances in all of Dota 2 following the formation of their current lineup. With only a 9th-12th place at the EPICENTER Major 2019 serving as their lowest point in an otherwise near-flawless year-long run — Team Secret won 6 out of 10 LAN tournaments they played in this season, including wins at the Chongqing Major and MDL Disneyland Major — Team Secret have proven so far that they can make it through an entire season without any major dips in performance.
The only question now is, can they do it at TI?
We’ll find out if Team Secret captain and TI veteran Clement ‘Puppey‘ Ivanov have figured out the answer to that question soon enough.
The champions of CIS Dota for the third year in a row, Virtus.Pro have nearly overtaken Natus Vincere as the best Dota 2 team in the history of the region. The only thing missing? A TI win.
Virtus.Pro are already right up there with five Major titles in Dota 2, including a win at the Kuala Lumpur Major.
If Virtus.Pro can get over their annual TI dilemma, their claim will be undisupted.
Leave it to Kuro ‘KuroKy‘ Salehi Takhasomi to guide his team to an excellent finish despite starting things off on the wrong foot.
The European powerhouse encountered one of the worst things that a world-class team could ever face earlier this season in the form of being stagnant. Although Team Liquid were able to make it to second place at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major with the same lineup they had won TI7 with, the team decided change was necessary.
The new lineup, with Aliwi ‘w33‘ Omar replacing Lasse ‘MATUMBAMAN‘ Urpalainen, did the exact same thing at the EPICENTER Major 2019, making it to the Grand Finals before falling short against Vici Gaming.
Even though the lineup change did not bring a title, Team Liquid looked like a completely different if not better team after just one personnel change and only a few weeks of practice.
Team Liquid have had two months to prepare since and little tape available to be studied, making them potentially the most dangerous team playing in the Dota 2 International 2019.
For a team that won two Majors this season, Vici Gaming aren’t really getting much attention.
Is it because they don’t have household names on their team? Probably not. Because, they do. Although they don’t have the likes of Xu ‘BurNIng‘ Zhilei nor Lu ‘Maybe‘ Yao, their lineup is filled with young superstars who used this season to prove that, with a little bit of guidance from the legendary Bai ‘rOtk‘ Fan, they can go on to achieve great things.
Now, Vici Gaming will have to win big the biggest stage of them all and in front of their home crowd.
Given how Vici Gaming have surpassed expectations since giving the keys to the youngsters, expecting them to do anything less than deliver is foolish at best at this point.
What are the Storylines to Watch Out For?
Can the Chinese Defend their Home Turf?
With four Chinese Dota 2 teams playing at the Dota 2 International 2019 — five if you include the NA lineup sponsored by Chinese organization Newbee — China has as good of a chance as any region has in terms of defending their home turf.
Expect, of course, Europe has more.
With the likes of Team Secret, Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, OG, Alliance, and Chaos Esports Club representing Europe, the odds are stacked against these Chinese teams in TI’s first go-around in China.
Who Will Win Two TI’s First?
Team Liquid, OG, Alliance, Natus Vincere, Newbee, have all won a TI at some point in the past.
At the Dota 2 International 2019, all five of these Dota 2 teams will try and see if they can win a second one, and given the current state of their teams, they all have a legitimate shot at making that happen.
Whether or not TI9 will be the first TI to see an organization win their second TI for the first time remains to be seen.
What we do know right now is that it’s a key story line to watch out for.
What’s Next for Dota 2?
After Epic Games raised the bar by putting up $30 million for the Fortnite World Cup, the Dota 2 community knew that it was up to Valve to try and exceed expectations.
The Dota 2 International 2019 accomplished that with room to spare.
Because of the successful and still on-going crowdfunding period, TI9 will feature atleast $32 million in prize pool.
That’s a lot of money.
Unfortunately, it also puts Valve in a tough spot where they’ll have to come up with ways to make the community want to spend more money for TI keep on setting and breaking records every year.
What are excited for the most at the Dota 2 International 2019? Do you think we’ll see the first two-time TI winners this year? Or will another underdog make a run at the title? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.