COMMENT: Dota 2's The International 2023 taking place in October is honestly too late

It needs to be in August again.

Esports - The International Dota 2 World Championships - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai, China - August 25, 2019. General view on finals day. REUTERS/Aly Song
Esports - The International Dota 2 World Championships - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai, China - August 25, 2019. General view on finals day. REUTERS/Aly Song

With the epic Berlin Major over and Gaimin Gladiators the winner, all eyes are now on the Summer Tour of the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season.

It’s the last chance for teams who have yet to earn points, and they will have to battle it out at the Bali Major, the third and final Major of the season.

But once that’s done, what next for teams? The premier Dota 2 tournament The International 2023 (TI12) will only take place in October, which leaves close to three months of inactivity.

Sure, there’s the Riyadh Masters 2023, and possibly some other smaller tournaments, but if you’re a strong favourite going into TI, why would you be playing your best to show off your strategies before TI12?

Sure, the Riyadh Masters has a prize pool of US$15 million, but not all of that is going to Dota 2. Last year featured a US$4 million pool, with the winner taking home US$1.5 million.

That’s honestly quite a hefty amount, but compared to the top prize of US$8.5 million by winning TI 2022? That’s a lot less.

Riyadh Master’s winner was PSG.LGD, with Team Spirit coming in second place. PSG.LGD finished 5th-6th in TI11, while Team Spirit a distant 13th-16th.

Tundra Esports, who won TI11, didn’t fare too well, but perhaps they were saving strats? That seemed to have paid off with their TI win, but it’s looking like teams who play to win before TI don’t win.

Bad timing

TI used to take place in August before the COVID-19 pandemic, which made perfect sense in terms when you realise the current season ends in July. It gives teams one month to adjust and work out a new metagame, just in time for TI.

Now, with TI taking place in October, there’s a whole three months before the biggest tournament takes place. That’s more than enough time for another DPC Tour, or for players to lose their edge.

Fans who have followed Dota 2 esports will have a long wait before they get to enjoy the culmination of the DPC.

And yes, remember the other smaller tournaments before TI? Yeah, they don’t usually make the best games, usually due to either having less competitive teams, or teams not going all out just to save strats.

So yes, having post-pandemic TI still in October is just bad timing on Valve’s part.

Factor in that you have another big tournament in the form of League of Legends’ Worlds 2023 starting in October, and it means yet another way too packed October for esports watching.

But maybe, just maybe, the three month break will give Valve time for another pre-TI patch, which may shake the meta up.

After all, the time between the Bali Major and TI 2023 is more than enough for the meta to get really, really, really, really, stale.

A pre-TI patch with major changes will make TI super spicy as teams try to figure out the new meta.

As a fan, it would be crazy to watch all the new strategies evolve. The Berlin Major started a mere five days after the massive 7.33 update dropped, and it made for some spectacular Dota.

Doing the same for TI12 would make it a real banger, and maybe that would be the payoff that fans need.

Or maybe it’s just stupid and TI should just be in August.

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at

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