With the Swedish Federation’s decision not to grant exemptions to esports players related to Covid protocols, the location of TI10 is in jeopardy. Where could Valve move the event at such short notice? Here are a few ideas.
How does competitive Dota work?
The International (TI) is the biggest tournament in Dota 2 and esports, with a prize pool just over $40 million on offer for TI10. Annually, the DPC (Dota Pro Circuit) hosts several competitions that lead up to The International. These tournaments are called Majors, Minors, and more recently, Regionals.
Since the introduction of DPC in 2017, Valve has chosen various cities to host the matches. Unfortunately, while hosting a DPC tournament is already a prestige for a country, Sweden has chosen not to recognize TI as an elite sporting event, which makes it nearly impossible logistically to host the tournament in Stockholm as originally planned.
Valve’s efforts in relaunching the 2021 DPC Season made the whole Dota 2 community hopeful for the next TI. Its next action plan is to look for potential replacement venues for the 10th iteration of the most anticipated esports tournament of the year. With Stockholm out of the list, let’s look at the past Dota 2 tournament productions in each region and see the best possible candidates for the upcoming The International 10.
Europe: ESL ONE Birmingham 2018
The only top-level Dota 2 tournament in the UK at that time, ESL One Birmingham 2018 has delivered a great experience to the players in the EU. From the crews, production value, and the intense crowd, ESL One Birmingham set the gold standard for EU tournaments.
It was the most-watched ESL Dota 2 event as of 2019, launching the game into intense popularity in the region. Virtus.Pro became one of the first teams to bask in championship glory in Utilita Arena Birmingham.
Birmingham’s pandemic protocols may also be the answer to Valve’s prayers as the local government discusses the ease of restrictions in the upcoming months. So finally, the Dota 2 community in the UK might just have a shot of celebrating TI within their very own backyard.
CIS: EPICENTER 2016
Held in Moscow last 2016, EPICENTER 2016 gathered the best teams worldwide and pitted them against one another for a week of non-stop Dota 2 action. Easily accessible to the players around the region, the event stirred up the CIS with its full-on production value and excited crowd. Celebrating their victory in Crocus City Hall was Team Liquid, who swept through the field with an undefeated upper bracket run.
While EPICENTER 2016 had a great run, strict travel restrictions in the capital of Russia may hinder the CIS Dota community’s dreams of having a TI in their region.
North America: Boston Major 2016
2016 was an excellent year for Dota 2 fans. Adding to the list of the most epic tournaments of the year was Boston Major. With a prize pool totalling $3 million, it was undeniably one of the best tournaments to happen in North America. It is also the first tournament to introduce a single-elimination bracket, raising the contenders’ stakes. Led by Sébastien “Ceb” Debs (then known as “7ckingMad”), OG took home the $1,000,000 prize for the grand champions.
On May 29, the government agreed to lift the pandemic restrictions in the city. However, Valve’s goal for 2021 is to celebrate The International 10 in Europe, so the NA Dota 2 community may still have to wait for their next big international Dota 2 tournament.
Southeast Asia: Manila Major
Cheers and chants from the SEA community greeted the best teams worldwide when the doors of Mall Of Asia Arena opened to begin the first-ever Major held in the region. Just like the Boston Major, the Manila Major offered a whopping $3 million in the prize pool. In the end, OG dominated the tournament and went home with their second Major win.
While the SEA Dota 2 crowd is known for being one of the most boisterous in the Dota 2 esports scene, the Philippines may have to wait a little longer to celebrate The International due to pandemic restrictions.
China: The International 9
Who could forget the last TI the Dota 2 community has experienced? TI9 was memorable, and with Valve leading the helm in production, infinitely impressive as well. The Aegis of Champions was once again raised by OG, led by Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, with an incredible sweep. TI9 created new metas and new teams, changing Dota 2 in ways we never could have imagined.
It was PSG.LGD’s home court and China have proved time and time again that they can produce a fantastic tournament. Shanghai may be a strong contender to host a big LAN event, but strict travel protocols will still be the priority for the following months.
South America: there’s a first time for everything
While the South American community is yet to experience a huge Dota 2 tournament in their land, the region still deserves to have a place in the list of possible future TI locations. The city of Lima in Peru can be a candidate for this spot as its very own Coliseo Amauta can accommodate 20 000 viewers. When it comes to esports viewership, South America is one of the fastest-growing region, so the time will come when Valve will turn its attention to this passionate region.
Strict pandemic restrictions are one of the country’s hurdles, but this will eventually sort itself out in the future, perhaps just in time for the next Dota 2 tournament.
It may still take Valve a few more days to finally decide where The International 10 should occur. While the whole community, teams and esports organizations wait for this news, Valve recently released a new Dota 2 update called the Nemestice. In addition, Dota 2 also released its yearly battle-pass, full of brand new items and cosmetics to collect along with the latest event game.
As the whole community waits for the upcoming information for the most prestigious esports event globally, the brand new content and the battle pass will keep them busy. After all, Dota 2 was long overdue for a major patch.