The International 2018 Preview: Format, Prize Pool, Schedule

Alas, The International 2018 is finally coming together.

The culmination of the Dota Pro Circuit, which debuted this season, Dota 2’s biggest annual event will bring together some of the best players from all over the world in one venue for nearly two weeks of competition fighting for eternal glory and a huge chunk of what’s likely going to be yet another record-breaking prize pool.

Now in its eighth iteration, Dota 2’s marquee event will change venues for the first time in years. Instead of its usual home in KeyArena in Seattle, The International 2018 will now take place at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. But, despite the change in venue, the stakes remain just as high as ever.

With so much going on in the months leading up to The International 2018 and at the event itself, it’s easy to get confused and lost. Worry not, however, because we’re here to help you. We’ve got your guide to everything about there is to know about The International 2018, from who’s playing, to what they’re playing for, and which teams are the heavy favourites to walk away with the Aegis of Champions.

What Is The International 2018? What Is At Stake?

The International 2018

At $24,787,916 USD, The International 2017 set the record for the biggest prize pool in all of esports, a record previously held by The International 2016. (Valve)

There is no event bigger in all of Dota 2 than The International. Since the game’s unveiling at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Dota 2’s publisher, Valve software, has made it a point to one-up every previous iteration. In 2013, Valve sought help from the community to increase the prize pool by introducing the Interactive Compendium for The International 2013 where a portion ($2.50) of the proceeds from each bundle went towards increasing the prize pool, which eventually released $2,874,381 USD by the time the crowdfunding ended.

Since then, Valve have only improved on the Interactive Compendium. Now known as the Battle Pass, there are far more prizes and stretch goals than ever before. This has incentivized more and more of the fanbase to contribute more to the prize pool, which, last year, reached a record-breaking $24,787,916 USD.

More than maintaining the exceptional standards of previous tournaments, Valve have their eyes set on The International 2018 prize pool eclipsing last year’s record-setting mark. As of the moment, the prize pool for The International 2018 sits at nearly $14 million USD. With roughly more than two months to go, Valve will every bit of a chance to do just that.

The International 2018 can be seen live, for free, streaming on YouTube, Twitch, and in the Dota 2 client.

For more information on The International 2018, don’t forget to check out the official Dota 2 blog. You can also follow this link for more information on Dota 2 and the events leading up to The International 2018. 

What Is the Format and Prize Pool?

The International 2018

As has been the case every year, expect Valve to tweak the format for The International 2018. (Valve)

Valve have always tweaked the format if only ever so slightly every year, especially the Group Stage. Two years ago at The International 2016, four wildcard Dota 2 teams played for the two final spots prior to the main event. Meanwhile, a year ago at The International 2017, the number of teams were expanded to eighteen teams with no Wild Cards and each one played in the round-robin Group Stage, with the bottom-ranked team from each of the two groups being eliminated before the start of the main event.

The only fixture at The International has been the double-elimination playoffs. Although even that too has been tweaked a bit over the years. While we have no information as of yet regarding the format and the total number of participating teams, expect Valve to make slight changes for The International 2018.

As for the prize pool, Valve set the initial prize pool at $1.6 million USD. However, expect this to grow to many times more once the crowdfunding period ends.

**We will update this section as soon as this information is made available to us. 

Who Is Competing In The International 2018?

The International 2018

The reigning TI champions, Team Liquid, will get a chance to defend their title as one of the direct invites for The International 2018. (Valve)

The International 2018 will feature some of the world’s best Dota 2 teams clashing in Vancouver for nearly two weeks.

Every team can earn their entry via one of two ways.

First, the top eight teams from the leaderboards will receive a direct invite based on the number of points they racked up throughout the season. This started with the Starladder i-League Invitational Season 3 back in October 2017 and will end at the China Dota2 Super Major in June 2018.

They are as follows:

— Virtus.Pro (CIS)
— PSG.LGD (China)
— Team Liquid (Europe)
— Team Secret (Europe)
— Mineski (Southeast Asia)
— ViCi Gaming (China)
— Newbee (China)
— VGJ.Thunder (China)

The transparency of the direct invites has made for little debate about whether or not each team deserved their invite or not. Every team had their fair shot at climbing the leaderboards throughout the season. For the teams that fell short, they’ll have another chance to enter The Internationa 2018 via the six Open and Regional Qualifiers.

**We will update this section as soon as the information is made available to us. 

When Is The International 2018?

Open Qualifiers (June 14 to June 17, 2018)

The International 2018

The new-look Evil Geniuses roster with Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik and Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson will be one of the many big-name Dota 2 teams that will have to go through the Open Qualifiers for a shot at The International 2018. (Evil Geniuses)

For the teams who broke the roster lock, as well as any other interested team looking to make it to The International 2018, they’re free to take part in the open qualifiers.

As has been the case with previous years, FACEIT was the host of the open qualifiers in all of the competitive regions except for China. Each region received a pre-determined number of slots for the open qualifiers, and a total of eight slots for the regional qualifiers, except for South America who only received eight.

Here is the schedule:

Southeast Asia: June 14 to 16 (10:00 CEST)
CIS: June 14 to 16 (15:00 CEST)
Europe: June 14 to 16 (16:00 CEST)
North America: June 14 to 16 (23:00 CEST)
South America: June 14 to 16 (22:00 CEST)

Regional Qualifiers (June 18 to June 25, 2018)

Click here for a complete preview and breakdown of the TI8 regional qualifiers, including info on the number of slots, teams participating, and format. 

Group Stage (August 15 to August 18, 2018)

Main Event (August 20 to August 25, 2018)

**We will update this section as soon as the information is made available to us. 

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news on The International 2018.