A $33 million esports tournament is now underway, and the prize pool could keep growing. Here's everything you need to know about 'The International'

The International

  • The International is one of the biggest annual events
    in esports, and this year, the event is currently offering a
    crowd-funded prize pool of $33,039,566
  • The event is a championship tournament for “Dota 2,” a
    popular free-to-play game that’s been around for more than a
  • Eighteen teams from around the world have qualified for
    the tournament, which starts in Shanghai, China, on August
  • The winning team will take home more than $15 million,
    turning the champions into instant millionaires.
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    Insider’s homepage for more stories.

One of the biggest events in esports kicked off from Shanghai on
Wednesday night, pitting 18 teams against each other for a share of
a $33 million prize pool.

The International is the annual championship for “Dota 2,” a
popular free-to-play computer game with millions of players around
the world. “Dota 2” has more than 10 million active players each
month, and each one of them can help contribute to the massive
prize pool by spending money on the game.

Valve, the company behind “Dota 2,” began hosting The
International near their Seattle headquarters in 2011, and adopted
a crowd-funding model to help support the game’s active esports

The first International offered a $1.6 million prize pool, but
it’s ballooned in the years since. Last year’s event gave away
$25.5 million to the qualified teams, and this year’s $33,039,566
prize pool could continue to increase as the tournament gets

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“Dota 2” is a team strategy game, and each match can take
anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half to complete. Players
must implement a masterful level of strategy, team work, technical
skill, and overall game knowledge to reach The International, and
the 18 qualified teams showcase talent from countries around the

Group play begins on August 15, and the main event will be held
from August 20 to 25. Each match will be streamed live on
, and the main event will be held over the course of
five days in Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, which seats up to
18,000 people.

Here’s everything you need to know about The International, the
massive championship event giving away $33 million in prize

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The International’s $33 million prize pool is crowd-funded by the
game’s community. Here’s how the prizes are handed out to the 18

Dota 2 is free-to-play and has more than 10 million active
players each month. Players can help boost The International prize
pool by purchasing a seasonal “Battle Pass” in the months
surrounding the tournament.

The battle pass starts at $9.99, and gives players tons of
rewards for completing challenges as they play. Players can also
pay to raise their Battle Pass level instead, which boosts the
prize pool even further. Valve places 25% of all Battle Pass
proceeds into The International prize pool, even after the
tournament is underway.

There are 18 teams from around the world that have qualified for
The International by competing in smaller tournaments throughout
the year.

The International includes qualified teams from six regions:

North America: Evil Geniuses, Newbee

South America: Infamous

Europe: Team OG, Alliance, Team Liquid, Chaos
eSports Club, Ninjas in Pajamas

China: Vici Gaming, Keen Gaming, Royal Never
Give Up, PSG.LGD

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS):
Virtus.Pro, Natus Vincere (Na’Vi)

Southeast Asia: Fnatic, TNC Predator,

Each team consists of five players, and they each play a specific
role during the match.

Each of the five players on a Dota 2 team has a specific role,
similar to a basketball team. For example, a “carry” player will
spend the early part of a game building their strength so they can
dominate the late stages of a match, while support players make
sure the carry stays safe and puts pressure on the opponents early

Teams typically handpick players for a specific role, and the
team captain selects characters for all five players at the start
of each match.

This year’s defending champs, Team OG, completed their roster
together just two months before The International began. Their
sponsor, Red Bull, put together a
feature-length film called “Against the Odds”
documenting the
team’s amazing run to the championship.

The International has a similar format to the FIFA World Cup.
First, the teams face off against each other in a round robin group
stage, then they’re placed into a traditional tournament bracket
for the main event.

The International will separate the 18 teams into two groups.
Each team in Group A and Group B will play the other teams in their
groups twice, and each win will earn them a seeding point for the
main event.

The two teams with the least points will be eliminated when the
group stage ends. The remaining 16 teams will be placed into the
Main Event tournament bracket based on their seeding points.

The eight teams with the best records will end up in the Upper
Bracket, where all matches are best-of-three. The other eight teams
with worse records will be placed in the Lower Bracket, where they
face elimination.

Teams in the first round of the lower bracket will play a single
elimination match, while matches in the later rounds will be best
of 3. Teams that lose in the Upper Bracket will fall to the Lower
Bracket, where they will face elimination.

In the end, the final team in the Lower Bracket will play the
final team in the Upper Bracket in a best-of-five match for the $15
million first-place prize.

You can see all of the rules for match play on the official “Dota
2” website.

The main event will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai,
China, from August 20 to August 25.

Up until 2018, The International was held in Seattle each year,
near Valve’s corporate headquarters. The tournament branched out
last year and moved to Vancouver, Canada, for the tournament,
welcoming nearly 20,000 spectators to the Rogers Arena.

This year, The International will shift to an entirely new
continent, with the main event being held at the Mercedes-Benz
Arena in Shanghai, China. China has a massive “Dota 2” community
and the arena has room to host 18,000 spectators for the five-day

The International will also feature special events beyond the
tournament. There will be special events during each day of the
main event, including a cosplay and film contests, and an all-star

The International will feature commentary in multiple languages,
and players can login to the game to watch a direct feed of each
match in their language of choice.

While The International will be streaming live on multiple
Twitch channels, players can get a more hands-on experience by
watching the live feed from their own computer. If you login to
“Dota 2,” you can choose between multiple commentary teams in
different languages, move the camera around yourself, and even
check out live stats in the game client.

People who bought a battle pass and contributed to The
International prize pool can also earn extra rewards by predicting
match results.

The International 9 began at 9 p.m. ET on August 14 (9 a.m. on
August 15 in Shanghai, China). You can watch all of the matches via

The International will kick off with four matches starting at 9
a.m. on August 15 in Shanghai. There’s a 12-hour time difference
between Shanghai and North America’s East Coast, and quite a few
matches will take place overnight for players in the Western

Since multiple matches will be taking place at the same time,
you can follow several streams in multiple
languages on Twitch.TV.

You can check the official
“Dota 2” website for the full schedule of matches;
times appear
to be based on the US East Coast time, or GMT -5, but they might
change automatically based on your location.

Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
A million esports tournament is now underway, and the prize pool could keep growing. Here's everything you need to know about 'The International'