The International 2019
|Dates||August 20–25, 2019|
The International 2019 (TI9) is the upcoming ninth iteration of The International, an annual Dota 2 world championship esports tournament. Hosted by Valve Corporation, the game's developer, the tournament began with the group stage in August 2019, and ended after the main event at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
The tournament followed a year-long series of awarding qualifying points, known as the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), with the top 12 ranking teams being directly invited to the tournament. In addition, six more teams earned invites through regional qualifiers played in July 2019. As with every International from 2013 onwards, the prize pool is being crowdfunded by the Dota 2 community via its battle pass feature, with the total currently at over US$30 million, making it the largest for any single esports tournament in history.
Dota 2 is a 2013 multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed by Valve Corporation. In it, two teams of five players compete by selecting pre-designed in-game characters known as "heroes", each with a variety of innate skills and abilities, and cooperate together to be the first to destroy the base of the other team, which ends the match. The game is played from a top-down perspective, and the player sees a segment of the game's map near their character as well as mini-map that shows their allies as well as any enemies revealed outside the fog of war. The game's map has three roughly symmetric "lanes" between each base, with a number of defensive towers protecting each side. Periodically, the team's base spawns a group of weak CPU-controlled creatures, called "creeps", that march down each of the three lanes towards the opponents' base, fighting any enemy hero, creep, or structure they encounter. If a hero character is killed, that character respawns back at their base after a delay period, which gets progressively longer the farther into the match.
As with previous years of the tournament, a corresponding battle pass for Dota 2 was released in May 2019, allowing the prize pool to be crowdfunded by players of the game. Via battle pass, 25% of revenue made by it was sent directly towards the tournament's prize pool. By July 2019, the prize pool had reached over US$30 million, surpassing the Fortnite World Cup for the largest esports prize pool of all time. At the time of event, Dota 2 featured 117 playable characters, called "heroes". Prior to each game in the tournament, a draft was held between the opposing team captains to select which heroes their teams use, going back and forth until each side has banned six and selected five heroes. Once a hero is picked, it cannot be selected by any other player that match, so teams used the draft to strategically plan ahead and deny the opponent's heroes that may be good counters or would be able to take advantage of weaknesses to their current lineup. The first pick in a match is decided by an in-game coin toss, and switches between each game in that match; the team that does not get first pick get the option of which side of the map to play on, of which doing so has strategic benefits.
The International 2019 featured a series of pre-qualifying tournaments running from October 2018 until June 2019, known as the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), with the top 12 ranking teams receiving direct invitations. The main event will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai from August 20–25, 2019, making it the first International to take place in China. In addition, six single-elimination qualifying playoff brackets were held in July 2019, with the winners from the regions of China, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Europe, North America, South America, and Southeast Asia earning invites to the main event, bringing the total number of participating teams up to 18.
To seed the elimination bracket for the main event, round robin group stages featuring two groups of nine teams are to be played from August 15–18. Each of the teams will play each other within their group in a two-game series, earning points based on their results. The top four placing teams of each group will then advance to the upper bracket of the main event, while the fourth through eight will advance to the lower bracket. The lowest placed team from both groups are then to be eliminated from the competition.
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