Everything We Learned from The International 2019

The biggest event in, not just Dota 2, but in all of esports history so far, The International 2019, recently ended, and we’re now left to soak in the sheer magnitude of it all.

It’s safe to say that a lot of history was made at The International 2019.

For starters, it was the first TI in Asia, and it was a massive success. Even though Valve decided to take TI to Europe, specifically to Stockholm, for 2020, we wouldn’t be surprised if they brought TI back to Asia for 2021.

Also, in case you missed it, The International 2019 just set the esports prize pool record with a little over than $34 million in prize pool once the crowdfunding ended. Plus, Dota 2 also saw its first-ever two-time TI champions at The International 2019, and the best part is, they went back to back!

The International 2019 truly was an event to be remembered.

Make sure to join us down below as we recap some of the highlights of The International 2019, as well as pose a couple of questions worth discussing for the next couple of months.

From Cinderella Story to Greatest of all Time

The International 2019

With 4 Valve Majors and 2 TIs under his belt, N0tail is, without a doubt, the greatest Dota 2 player to ever play the game. (Valve)

Last year, there was still an argument that OG kind of lucked out to a TI win.

After all, they technically did not get tested by the best teams of the year at the tournament. Sure, it wasn’t their fault that some of the teams failed to live to expectations, but the argument remained that they kind of held on to win games more than you’d expect a TI champion would.

Such was the knock on OG and their Cinderella run at TI8 last year.

This year at The International 2019, OG seemingly made it a point to silence any and all critics, doubters, and haters alike.

Right from the get-go, OG were easily one of the best Dota 2 teams of the tournament, styling on their opponents as if they were playing pub matches against amateurs through their sheer superior mastery of their own playstyle and their obviously next-level understanding of the game. And, once the time came that they faced off against the likes of PSG.LGD, Evil Geniuses, as well as Team Liquid, they absolutely dominated their opponents.

To put it simply, OG’s performance at The International 2019 left zero room for any doubt.

The only question now is, after winning 4 Majors and 2 TIs, what’s next for OG?

Dota 2 Is Far From a Dead Game

The International 2019

Dota 2’s player numbers may now just be a farcry from its peak, but the support from its playerbase is as strong as ever if not the strongest it has been since its release. (Valve)

“$34,326,452.”

That figure is the amount of money that The International 2019 gave away to its participants, with nearly half of it going the way of the champions, OG. 

With every member of the team going home with a little over $3 million each (if they split it evenly five ways), it was only natural that news tabloids and mainstream media got a hold of the story and tried to put their own spit into it, and that they did.

But, that’s not what we’re here to discuss.

Rather, what we’re here to tell you is that Dota 2 is not a dead game, far from it actually.

People have been saying that the writing has been on the wall for the past couple of years now. However, from the looks of it, Dota 2 isn’t dying. Instead, it’s just settling into a period of stability, where there’s fewer influx of ingoing and outgoing players, mostly because it’s been around long enough for players to know about it and to know if they like it, while not being too old that it will feel dated anytime soon.

The record-breaking crowd-funded prize pool of The International 2019 is also proof enough that Dota 2 commands enough attention and support from its community.

While it’s true that the inevitable will come and Dota 2 might die, but the game’s death likely won’t come anytime soon.

Roster Changes are Looming Ahead

The International 2019

After winning 2 Majors together and achieving a “disappointing” 5th-6th place at their first TI together, rumor has it that the current Team Secret roster is set to lose at least one of their key players. (Valve)

The post-TI roster shuffle has always been wild. However, compared to previous years, the past two ones have been relatively tame.

Sure, there were a couple of blockbuster moves, and traditionally, the biggest moves are usually reserved for the months before a TI rather than after it, but the fact is, organizations and teams usually reform or are formed after TI.

This year though, it certainly feels like there’s going to be a lot of roster changes that’s going to happen.

Already, the rumor mills have started churning, and it’s featured the unlikeliest of players making cross-country moves to teams in other countries to strike the most surprising alliances.

We already know to take these rumors with a grain of salt, but we also know that most rumors are not unfounded.

Given how OG just showed the rest of the Dota 2 scene a style and level of play that’s arguably never been seen before to achieve something historical, it wouldn’t come off as a surprise if we saw, arguably, the most post-TI roster shuffles in the history of the game as well in the next couple of weeks before the next season officially kicks off.

In addition to the players, we can also expect teams to start looking into making investments in additional personnel, such as hiring analysts and even psychologists, for their players.

Valve is Preparing for Something Big

Do you remember when 7.00 dropped? It was huge. Like, really huge. After all, the patch was a culmination of at least a decade’s worth of work. So, it was only natural that the resulting changes felt like it turned Dota 2 into a completely different game.

Fast forward to roughly around three years later, and Dota 2 is already a different game.

Perhaps that’s expected, given how Dota 2 is constantly changing and ever-evolving. However, many of the same new elements introduced then are still in the game now, and it shouldn’t be too hard for players to jump back into the game again provided that they played right around the same time 7.00 hit — if you played before and jumped back in now, the transition will be a lot more difficult.

Now, why are we saying this? Because it feels like Valve is preparing for something big.

Valve introduced Snapfire and Void Spirit at The International 2019. Of the two, the latter feels like the bigger reveal, and it’s mostly because he’s literally referring to something bigger in his lines.

Just what exactly the Void Spirit, the fourth and final elemental spirit in Dota 2, is referring to is not known as of the moment. But, he’s not the only one, as multiple heroes have alluded to something “big” coming to the universe, and seeing as to how important the rule of the lore is in Dota 2, we might just see huge changes coming to Dota 2 soon.

Will it be as huge as 7.00? We don’t know just yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the coming change/s are.

What’s Next for Dota 2 and TI?

The International 2019

Despite breaking the esports prize pool record yet again, the fear of TI’s prize pool becoming too big to sustain still remains. (Valve)

Now that The International 2019 is over, where do we go from here?

The 2019-20 Dota Pro Circuit doesn’t look like it’s going to change the competitive scene anytime soon. Not to mention, Valve hasn’t really announced anything big outside of a new update for Dota 2 yet. Plus, there’s still the big elephant in the room, “how does Dota 2 reach $35 million or more in prize pool for 2020?”

The question matters because TI has always prided itself as the event that keeps one-upping itself every year.

It’s unofficial, and it’s probably just the community that feels that way, but the point remains. It is the reputation that TI has built itself upon, and it’ll have some serious implications if TI fails to do it, because that’ll mean that Dota 2 is starting to lose popularity and support from its community.

We can always leave this problem to our tomorrow selves, but it’ll still be a question just as worthy of pondering on right now as it’ll be a couple of months into the future.

Final Thoughts

Valve’s decision to bring The International 2019 to China paid off huge dividends for the entire community.

Now, this isn’t to say that the entire event was perfect. There were a couple of things that definitely could have improved. Not to mention, the 2019-20 Dota Pro Circuit could use a lot of improvements itself as well. But, all in all, the entire season, and its culmination, went rather smoothly

The only thing left for us to do now is to wait and see what Valve has in store for us for the 2020-21 Dota Pro Circuit.

What do you think was the biggest takeaway of The International 2019? Do you love how everything turned out? What was your least favourite thing from the event? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. 

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