The tournament with the biggest prize pool in esports history is finally here in the form of The International 2018 for Dota 2.
The International 2018 takes place this week at Rogers Place in Vancouver, Canada, where 16 teams are vying for their portion of the $24 million-plus prize pool. While every team is guaranteed some sort of payout, depending on their result, they all have their eyes on the championship
With so many teams facing off against one another, it can be tough to differentiate, or choose a clear winner. That being said, the three teams that are widely considered to be front-runners are Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses and Virtus.Pro. According to this site, there is some separation between the teams, as team Team Liquid sits at +275, Evil Geniuses at +350, and Virtus.Pro at +400.
Team Liquid and Virtus.Pro are even more intriguing, as Team Liquid were last years champions, while Virtus.Pro has arguably been the hottest team on the Dota Pro Circuit this season. Their dominance has included multiple victories at tournaments such as ESL One Hamburg 2017 and ESL One Birmingham 2018.
As for the format, the International 2018 started off with 18 teams but heading into the Main Stage there are only 16 teams remaining, as paiN Gaming and Invictus Gaming were eliminated in the group stage. Of the remaining teams, the top eight are competing in the upper bracket and the bottom eight are competing in the lower bracket. The International utilizes a double elimination format, meaning that teams can afford to lose two matches altogether.
All teams played multiple matches in the group stage, and the teams at the bottom of the table went to the lower bracket. These teams are in the verge of elimination and can’t afford to lose another game. The teams in the upper bracket have a bit of a safety net as if they lose a match they get relegated to the lower bracket and not eliminated.
The upper bracket consists of last year’s winners Team Liquid, as well as Evil Geniuses, PSG.LGD, OG, VGJ.Storm, Virtus.Pro, Team Secret, and OpTic Gaming. The lower bracket is made up of Fnatic, VGJ.Thunder, Mineski Pro Team, Winstrike Team, Newbee Predator, Team Serenity, and Vici Gaming.
One of the reasons why the tournament is interesting is that the competition happens in such a short span of time. It takes place over the course of five days, with the Grand Final taking place via a best-of-five series on Saturday, August 25th.
Though The International is currently in its eighth year, no team or player has ever won the tournament twice As a result, last year’s champions Team Liquid could very well make history by becoming the first two-time winner.
The schedule for the tournament is available on the official website, and it will be updated throughout the week as teams are further eliminated.