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Sixteen teams will compete over the next 10 days for the title of world champion and a share of the over $19 million up for grabs. Last year saw Evil Geniuses take home the trophy and $6.6 million, with 4.6 million people tuning in to watch the grand final.
The playoffs will be taking place in Seattle’s Key Arena between Aug. 8-13, where the 16 teams will be fighting in a double-elimination bracket to determine who gets to keep the lion’s share of the prize pool.
With developer Valve contributing “only” $1.6 million, the Dota 2 community are the ones who have pushed said prize pool to its current size after purchasing an in-game item known as the Battle Pass. Twenty-five percent of each Battle Pass sold is subsequently put into the overall prize pool of the International 6, making the tournament a considerable fan effort.
To keep you up to date with the competition, we broke down the three stages, how to watch the matches, and each team competing so you’ll get a quick understanding of how the tournament works.
Wild CardThe world of competitive Dota 2 is divided into four separate regions: Europe, North America, China, and Southeast Asia. While six teams received direct invitations to the main event, the 12 remaining teams competed in regional qualifiers in order to secure their spot in Seattle.
TI6 kicked off earlier today with the Wild Card event. This one day-long tournament features the four teams that placed third in their respective regional qualifier. Played in a best-of-three double-elimination bracket, only two teams will be able to join the 14 teams currently playing in the main tournament.
Once the Wild Card competition has concluded, the winners will join the remaining 14 teams in two separate groups. This marks the start of the group stage, which begins on Aug. 3. The top four teams in each group advance straight to the upper bracket, while the bottom half is placed into the lower bracket. Each series in both the upper and lower bracket will be played in a best-of-three setting until the grand finals, which will be played in a best-of-five.
How to watch:
There are six ways to follow the TI6 games over the next few weeks. This includes watching the matches live in the game client via DotaTV or the newly released VR Hub, which allows users to view the game from a first-person perspective and interact with built-in observation features such as graphs and stats.
If you’d prefer to watch the tournament via a streaming service, there are a number of options to choose from. These include a multitude of streams provided by Twitch, YouTube, Steam’s own broadcasting service, and ESPN’s streaming platform WatchESPN.
Now that you know how the tournament is set out and how to watch it, here’s a quick rundown of all the teams in attendance:
OGCurrently ranked as the No. 1 Dota 2 team in the world, OG enters the International 6 as favorites to claim the title. If they succeed in doing so, it will make them the most successful team in Dota 2 history, as well as the first team to win three separate Valve events.Spearheaded by phenom Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi in the midlane, and captained by veteran Tal “Fly” Aizik, OG’s individual skill is only outshined by their teamwork. Well on the path to make history once again.
A few months ago Team Liquid were viewed as perennial second-place finishers, and while that mantle still persists to some extent their victory at EPICENTER in May has shown that they are capable of great feats.
The true strength of Team Liquid lies in their consistency, and with a midlaner such as Adrian “FATA-” Trinks who rarely, if ever, loses his lane the team is almost always able to make a competitive showing for itself. Now they simply have to prove it again.
A name etched into the aegis, the trophy of the International, that few ever expected to see return. Following the team’s victory at the International 4, the roster underperformed for more than a year straight until they were unceremoniously eliminated in last place at the International 5.
Since then, Newbee has been rebuilt and the team competing in Seattle this year is a completely different beast. With consistent top placements at some of the biggest western events of the year, and a firmly established dominance in their home country China, this is Newbee’s chance to become a household name in Dota 2.
One of the two direct invites from China, LGD’s start to 2016 was less than flattering as the roster underwent changes after months of disappointing results. The re-entry of Zhang "xiao8" Ning left the community with high expectations, but it took some time for them to get back on their feet.
But despite their efforts in the past four months, LGD’s biggest obstacle now is the fact that they will not be competing with their full roster. Support player Xue “September” Zhichuan wasn’t able to secure a visa, and as such LGD will be competing with their substitute Wang “Banana” Jiao.
The South Koreans shocked the audience at the International 5 when they reached a top eight finish. This year they will be entering the event as seasoned veterans with several international LAN titles under their belt.
Now, however, the question is if this recent international experience can see MVP Phoenix advance further than in previous Valve events. Noted for their all-out aggression and swift plays, can we expect to see a South Korean team breach the top four at a Valve event for the first time in history?
After nearly two years of embarrassing defeats, including a last-place finish at the International 5, many fans were left thinking that Natus Vincere’s (Na`Vi) time in the limelight had come to an end. After constant roster swaps, however, the Ukrainian team seems to have finally been able to reach a level of skill and consistency that could see them go far in the International 6.
After defeating several of the best teams in the world at the StarSeries finals a few weeks ago, all eyes are now on Na`Vi to see if they have truly shaken off all the rust and can make an impactful statement at the International 6.
Last year’s champions are entering the International 6 with more to prove than any other team. Having struggled their way through 2016, the team underwent roster changes after Valve’s seasonal roster lock had gone into effect, forcing the reigning champions into the North American regional qualifier for the event. Evil Geniuses easily qualified in first place, but despite this there are still doubts hanging over the team.
While still consisting of several of its most veteran members, this iteration of the roster is still relatively untested against international competition. The question now is whether or not Evil Geniuses’ preparation for the biggest tournament in esports history has kicked them into gear.
Team SecretSimilar to Evil Geniuses, 2016 has not turned out to be the year Team Secret expected. Despite claiming the Shanghai Major in March, the team decided to shuffle its roster, acquiring former Evil Geniuses carry Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and current Evil Geniuses’ offlaner Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora.
This roster was considered to be the single most individually skilled line-up in Dota 2 history. But in the end achieved no success whatsoever, prompting a secondary roster swap following the conclusion of the Manila Major. This new roster, now featuring Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale on the offlane in place of UNiVeRsE, has been looking solid in the lead up to the International 6. Could this be the moment everything clicks for the superteam?
WingsWings shocked the world at ESL One Manila on April. 24 when they won a surprise victory against Team Liquid. Since then the team has already managed to fade away into obscurity, only to reemerge again in the past month.
With an impressive victory at the Summit 5 against OG in the grand final, it’s safe to say that Wings are back on the map for real, and look to be one of the strongest teams from China in the entire tournament.
For the majority of 2016, Fnatic and MVP Phoenix have been carrying the torch for the South East Asian region in international competition. And while no other team from the region has been able to challenge their accomplishments, TnC have been the closest yet to approach the two.
Showing an impressive presence in online competition, the Philippine squad made short work of the regional Southeast Asian qualifiers, securing first place in the group and earning a slot in the International 6’s main event. Can they hope to contend Fnatic or MVP Phoenix’s performance at the event?
Digital ChaosBorn out of the collapse of Team Secret and Evil Geniuses’ post-Shanghai Major roster shuffle, Digital Chaos contains a truly international roster with members heralding from Ukraine, Denmark, Romania, Macedonia, and the United States.
Having competed in the United States since their assembly, the team has taken the region by storm, falling only below Evil Geniuses when matched up against domestic opposition. Internationally their results have been consistent, yet sees them struggle against the top teams in the world.
ViCi Gaming Reborn
Heading into the International 6, ViCi Gaming Reborn looked like a team that could be expected to deliver a solid performance. In a matter of days this has changed, as the team’s famed offlaner Zhou “Yang” Haiyang will not be able to attend the event due to not receiving a visa in time.
Forced to play with its coach Tong “Mikasa” Junjie, things are looking bleak for the team as it heads into the biggest tournament it has played yet.
Consisting of the legendary roster which won the International 3, Alliance’s 2016 started out with tremendous success, as the team claimed two international LAN victories in only one month. Since that month, however, Alliance has struggled to replicate its success and has exited the majority of tournaments in 5-6 place.
Having been invited to the European regional qualifier, the team successfully claimed second place and a spot at the main event in Seattle. Are the Swedes ready for what they are about to face, or will their streak of uneven performances persist?
Considered to have been snubbed of a direct invite to the International 6 after a two month reign over the Southeast Asian region, Fnatic had to qualify for the $19 million event the hard way by going through the regional qualifiers. Having been beaten out by TnC in the group stage, Fnatic eventually secured their spot as the region’s third seed.
Led by veteran midlaner Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, the roster has always seemed to be on the cusp of achieving greatness, will the International 6 be where everything finally clicks?