The International (Dota 2)

The International
Status Active
Genre Dota 2 eSports tournament
Frequency Annual
Venue KeyArena
Location(s) Cologne (2011)
Seattle (2012–present)
Country United States
Years active 2011–present
Inaugurated August 17, 2011 (2011-08-17) – August 21, 2011 (2011-08-21)
Most recent August 3, 2016 (2016-08-03) – August 13, 2016 (2016-08-13)
Participants 16 teams
Area Worldwide
Organized by Valve Corporation

The International (TI) is an annual Dota 2 eSports tournament hosted by Valve Corporation, the game's developer. The first tournament took place in Cologne, Germany at Gamescom in 2011 and was held shortly after the public reveal of Dota 2, with a total prize pot of $1.6 million. The second International took place in 2012 at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and retained the same $1.6 million prize structure. For the third International in 2013, again at Benaroya Hall, Valve introduced an interactive, digital "compendium" which fans could purchase to follow the event and contribute to the prize pool; which reached a $2.8 million prize pool with $1.2 million added from compendium purchases.

The fourth International, this time held at the larger Seattle venue KeyArena in 2014, continued the practice of compendium sales and ultimately broke records for having one of the largest prize pool in eSports history, with a total of $10.9 million.[1] The fifth International took place in 2015, with the prize pool totaling over $18 million,[2] making it the largest eSports prize pool for a single tournament until being surpassed by the sixth International the following year,[3] with a prize pool of over $20 million.[4]

Tournament history

The International tournament area at Gamescom 2011


Valve announced the first edition of The International on August 1, 2011. 16 teams were invited to compete in the tournament, which would also serve as the first public viewing of Dota 2, and it was streamed online with commentary in four languages; English, Chinese, German, and Russian. The tournament was funded by Valve, including the $1 million USD grand prize, with Nvidia supplying the hardware.[5][6] It took place at Gamescom in Cologne from August 17 to 21 the same year.[7]

The tournament started with a group stage in which the winners of each of the four groups were entered into a winner's bracket, and the other teams entered the loser's bracket. The rest of the tournament was then played as a double-elimination tournament.[8] The final of this first tournament was between Ukrainian team Natus Vincere and Chinese team EHOME, with Natus Vincere winning the grand prize after beating EHOME in three out of the four matches.[9] Runner's up EHOME won a second place prize of $250,000 USD and the other top eight teams split the remaining prize pool of $350,000 USD.[10]

The International was the central focus of the 2014 documentary Free to Play, which explored the lives of three of the players.[11]

Place Team Prize money
1st Ukraine Natus Vincere $1,000,000
2nd China EHOME $250,000
3rd Singapore Scythe Gaming $150,000
4th Denmark MeetYourMakers $80,000
5/6th China Invictus Gaming $35,000
Russia Moscow Five $35,000
7/8th Thailand MiTH.Trust $25,000
European Union Online Kingdom.Nirvana int $25,000


A crowd watches as the grand finals of The International 2012 commence in Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington.

The International 2012 was announced in May 2012 and held during PAX Prime.[12] The event was held at the 2,500 seat Benaroya Hall in Seattle from 31 August to 2 September, with teams situated in glass booths on the main stage.[13] The total prize pool remained $1.6 million USD, with $1 million USD for the winning team, and it was again broadcast in multiple languages.[14][15]

The previous winners, Natus Vincere, were beaten 3-1 by Chinese team Invictus Gaming in the final.[16] In November 2012 Valve released a documentary following the event online for free featuring interviews with the teams and following them from the preliminary stages through to the finale.[17]

Place Team Prize money
1st China Invictus Gaming $1,000,000
2nd Ukraine Natus Vincere $250,000
3rd China LGD Gaming $150,000
4th China Team DK $80,000
5/6th China EHOME $35,000
Singapore Team Zenith $35,000
7/8th China TongFu Team $25,000
Malaysia Orange eSports $25,000


Valve announced The International 2013 on April 25, 2013. It was again hosted at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle from August 7 to 11. The first team to be invited were the defending champions, Invictus Gaming. Sixteen teams participated, thirteen of which received invitations, and the final three being decided in two qualifying tournaments and a match at the start of the tournament.[18] On May 6, it was announced that an interactive compendium would be available for purchase, detailing and cataloging the progression of The International, in addition to allowing for extensive interactivity to be made. A quarter of the revenue from the compendium was added to the original $1.6 million prize pool for the tournament, thereby extending the winnings of the participating teams.[19] Via the sales of interactive compendiums, The International reclaimed its previous title as the largest prize pool in electronic sports history, exceeding the two million dollar prize pool from the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship.[20] The total prizepool awarded to the winners was $2,874,381. KCPQ news anchor Kaci Aitchison acted as a host to The International 2013 and provided behind-the-scenes commentary and interviews with professional players and analysts.[21] The International 2013 was viewed by over one million concurrent online viewers with many utilizing live streaming websites such as[22]

Place Team Prize money
1st Sweden Alliance $1,437,190
2nd Ukraine Natus Vincere $632,364
3rd Malaysia Orange Esports $287,438
4th China TongFu Team $201,207
5/6th China Team DK $114,975
China Invictus Gaming $114,975
7/8th Europe Fnatic $43,116
United States Team Liquid $43,116


The International 2014

On March 31, 2014, Valve announced The International 2014, which would take place from July 18 to July 21 at the KeyArena, which is a venue with a significantly larger capacity than Benaroya Hall from the previous two years. Unlike the previous three events, there would be three tiers for admissions, including general admission, floor seating and VIP passes.[23] For The International 2014, eleven teams would receive direct invites, with an additional four spots determined by regional qualifiers taking place between May 12 and May 25. The sixteenth spot would be determined by a wild card qualifier between the runners-up from the regional competitions.[24] The tickets for the event were sold out within an hour of going on sale on April 4, 2014.[25]

The prize pool for the tournament broke records for being the largest in eSports by reaching the $10,000,000 (USD) mark on June 27, almost three weeks prior to the start of the tournament.[26] At the end of the tournament, with a final total prize pool of $10,931,103 and over $5 million split amongst the five players of the 1st place team, eight Dota 2 players became the highest ranking players in terms of prize money won, surpassing the highest ranking player at the time, StarCraft player Lee "Jaedong" Jae-dong.[27] All 5 members of champion team Newbee became the top 5 highest ranking players in terms of prize money won and Chen "Hao" Zhihao became the highest ranking player at that time.[28]

The prize pool is as follows:[29]

Place Team Prize money
1st China Newbee $5,028,308
2nd China Vici Gaming $1,475,699
3rd United States Evil Geniuses $1,038,455
4th China Team DK $819,833
5/6th Europe Cloud9 $655,866
China LGD Gaming $655,866
7/8th Ukraine Natus Vincere $519,227
China Invictus Gaming $519,227
9/10th United States Team Liquid $49,190
Malaysia Titan eSports $49,190
11/12th Germany Mousesports $38,259
Sweden Alliance $38,259
13/14th Russia Team Empire $21,862
Europe Fnatic $21,862


The first details pertaining to The International 2015 were revealed on January 5, 2015, with the preliminary announcement of the tournament. Sixteen teams attended the event, which took place from August 3 to August 8 at the KeyArena in Seattle.[30] The prize pool totalled more than US$18 million, of which US$16.4 million was contributed by players.[31]

The invited teams were:[32]

The winners and runners-up of the regional qualifiers were:[32]

Region Winner Wildcard spot
Americas Complexity Gaming Team Archon[note 2]
Europe Natus Vincere Vega Squadron
China EHOME CDEC Gaming
Southeast Asia MVP.Hot6ix MVP Phoenix

The prize pool is as follows:

Place Team Prize money
1st United States Evil Geniuses $6,616,014
2nd China CDEC Gaming $2,848,562
3rd China LGD Gaming $2,205,338
4th China Vici Gaming $1,562,114
5/6th Russia Virtus Pro $1,182,011
China EHOME $1,182,011
7/8th Europe Team Secret $818,316
South Korea MVP Phoenix $818,316
9-12th United States compLexity Gaming $218,217
Europe Cloud9 $218,217
Russia Team Empire $218,217
China Invictus Gaming $218,217
13-16th China NewBee $54,554
Malaysia Fnatic $54,554
Ukraine Natus Vincere $54,554
South Korea MVP.HOT6ix $54,554


A main event match at The International 2016, again at the KeyArena

The first details pertaining to The International 2016 were revealed on March 31, 2016, with the announcement of ticket sales for the tournament.[33] Open qualifiers for The International 2016 began on June 21, with regional qualifiers following on June 25. Following the qualifiers, the tournament main event took place from August 3–11, with the finals being held on August 13.

The initial prize pool was seeded with $1,600,000 from the developers, with more to be added from players through in-game purchases of the Battle Pass. The final prize pool reached $20,770,460, making the tournament have the largest prize pool in eSports history.[34]

On June 19, 2016, Valve released the names of the invited teams, as well as details for qualification through each regional qualifier. The number of invited teams was reduced to six (down from eight from 2015), resulting in both the winner and runner-up of each region (China, Europe, Americas, and Southeast Asia) obtaining qualification. The final two spots were made up of Wild Card teams, which were found through their own qualifier.[35]

The qualifiers for each region consisted of eight invited teams (five for the Americas) and two from open qualifiers (organized by FaceIt and Perfect World in China). These qualifiers placed all 10 teams (seven for Americas) into a single table where each team played the others in a round robin competition with the top team in each region advancing to The International as the regional qualifier. Of the remaining teams, the next highest four teams were placed into a double elimination tournament with each round played as a best of three, while the remaining five teams (two for the Americas) were eliminated. The Grand Finals winner of each regional playoff also automatically qualified for The International as their region's playoff qualifier. The playoff runners-up received a spot in the Wild Card qualifier; a single bracket, double elimination tournament held in Seattle a day before the main event, with the semi-final victors receiving the final two spots.

The invited teams were:

Region Regional qualifier Playoff qualifier Wild card qualifier
Americas United States Evil Geniuses United States Digital Chaos United States compLexity Gaming
Europe Europe Team Secret Sweden Alliance Europe Escape Gaming
China China Wings Gaming China Vici Gaming Reborn China
Southeast Asia Philippines TnC Gaming Malaysia Fnatic Philippines Execration

The final prize table was as follows:

Place Team Prize money
1st China Wings Gaming $9,139,002
2nd United States Digital Chaos $3,427,126
3rd United States Evil Geniuses $2,180,898
4th Malaysia Fnatic $1,453,932
5th/6th China EHOME $934,671
South Korea MVP Phoenix
7th/8th European Union Team Liquid $519,262
Philippines TnC Gaming
9th–12th Sweden Alliance $311,557
European Union OG
China LGD Gaming
China Newbee
13th–16th European Union Escape Gaming $103,852
Ukraine Natus Vincere
European Union Team Secret
China Vici Gaming Reborn

Media coverage

The primary medium for The International coverage is through the Internet video game streaming website Throughout each year, tournament coverage is done by a selection of online gaming and electronic sports organizations who provide live streaming, commentary, and articles surrounding games in the progress, similar to sports commentators and analysts.[22] Multiple streams are provided in a variety of languages. The International also provides a "newbie stream" that is dedicated to casting each game that explains the game for viewers unfamiliar with the game.

For The International 2014, Valve announced that coverage would also be presented in collaboration with ESPN on its live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3. In addition, an exclusive show previewing the final match was presented on ESPN2.[36]


  1. formerly Team Malaysia
  2. Played the qualifiers as North American Rejects v2


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  4. Albert, Brian. "Dota 2's $20 Million International Starts Today". IGN. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
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  16. Sarkar, Samit (4 September 2012). "Dota 2 International tournament 2012 winners round-up". Polygon. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  17. Lahti, Evan (16 November 2012). "Dota 2 - The International 2 documentary video released by Valve". PC Gamer. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
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  19. Malloroy, Jordan (2013-05-07). "Dota 2 introduces 'Interactive Compendium' tournament companion". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
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  33. "Tickets for The International 2016". Valve.
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  36. 18 Jul 2014, Valve Press Release, International Dota 2 Championships on ESPN Networks, Steam
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