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The main thing that DOTA 2 is known for these days is The International. The International is the most lucrative Esports tournament in the world and had a prize pool of just over $25 million in 2018. That purse has grown exponentially since the $1.6 million distributed at the inaugural competition in 2011 and will continue to grow as it is subsidized by players purchasing champion skins in the weeks leading up to the event. There are a few other million dollar events, but that is by far the biggest and sets the stage for the rest of the season.

The Game

DOTA 2 is the successor of DOTA, or Defense of the Ancients. The original game was a popular mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and the stand alone sequel surpassed all expectations.

It’s a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game that has two teams of five players that select champions to represent them. There are NPCs and neutral objectives to fight over, but the goal is to destroy the other team’s Ancient and the first team to do that is the winner.

Each player selects a champion that has a unique skillset. There are over 100 champions to choose from and unlike League of Legends, there are far more meta picks. Players start at level 1 and can level their characters all the way up to level 25.

Players have to effectively juggle health, mana, and attack speed in order to be elite at this game.

The Competitive Scene

As previously mentioned, there is one elite tournament every year for DOTA 2, The International. The International takes place in Seattle and features all the elite teams from around the globe.

The prize pool for The International first surpassed the $10 million dollar mark in 2014 after Valve announced that it would donate 25 percent of the sales of certain skins to the final total. It grew at a precipitous rate for a few years, but from 2017 to 2018 the prize pool only increased by $750,000 suggesting that we may have hit the ceiling for now.

DOTA 2 is played everywhere, but it’s been the most popular in China. There have been eight iterations of The International and China is the only region to have a team place in the top tour in every one. At the end of 2018, China had claimed 16 of the 32 total top four spots over the eight years of The International.

The other winners of The International have come from North America, Europe, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (Eastern Europe).

Aside from The International, there are a few tournaments with million dollar prize pools scattered around the schedule, and the Pro Circuit has gotten bigger over the years too. For the first half of the year, two of the three biggest competitions will be in Chongqing, China, while the other premier event will take place in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Future

DOTA 2 lags behind League of Legends in much of the world, but it is still huge in China. China accounts for most of DOTA 2’s viewership hours on Twitch and YouTube and has the best players in the world. Like League of Legends is with Koreans, most DOTA 2 teams have at least one Chinese player on their team and he is typically the most skilled. At the 2018 International, a full 30 percent of the participants were Chinese.

Europe has seen a modest increase in DOTA 2 viewership too. The last two winners of The International (Team Liquid and OG) were European teams, and that has helped give the game a boost in that region. However, it has not been as popular in North America in recent years with many only tuning in for The International.

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  • Feb 24

    2:00 AM

    • 97051
    • Desperado
    • +1½-170
    •  
    • +168
    • 97052
    • The New Top
    • -1½+134
    •  
    • -215
  • Feb 24

    2:00 AM

    • 97053
    • Team Serenity
    • -1½-130
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    • -340
    • 97054
    • Team Strawberry
    • +1½+100
    •  
    • +254
  • Feb 24

    8:00 PM

    • 97055
    • Newbee
    • -1½-105
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    • -420
    • 97056
    • You Know Who
    • +1½-125
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    • +304
  • Feb 24

    5:00 AM

    • 97057
    • Team Sirius
    • -1½+221
    •  
    • -125
    • 97058
    • Look For Smile
    • +1½-290
    •  
    • -105
  • Feb 24

    6:50 AM

    • 97081
    • Team Empire Hope
    • +1½-255
    •  
    • +110
    • 97082
    • Godsent
    • -1½+197
    •  
    • -140
  • Feb 24

    7:00 AM

    • 97111
    • Benz 190E
    • +1½-184
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    • +143
    • 97112
    • Khan
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    • -180
  • Feb 26

    11:00 PM

    • 97151
    • Vici Gaming
    • -1½+135
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    • -225
    • 97152
    • Invictus Gaming
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    • +176
  • Feb 27

    2:00 AM

    • 97153
    • PSG LGD
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    • +131
    • 97154
    • Royal Never Give Up
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    • -165

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