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The International 10 (TI10), this year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament, is finally here. The event features 18 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world battling for the right to claim the lion's share of a massive US$40 million prize pool as well as the coveted Aegis of Champions.
Whether you're a die-hard Dota 2 fan, casual MOBA enjoyer, or even a newcomer to esports altogether, you wouldn't want to miss out on this event. Read on for everything you need to know about TI10:
Schedule and venue
TI10 will be held from 7 to 17 October in Bucharest, Romania and is split into two stages: the Group Stage and the Main Event.
The Group Stage will take place from 7 to 10 October and will be followed by a one-day break on 11 October before the Main Event commences from 12 to 17 October in Bucharest's Arena Națională.
TI10 was originally scheduled to take place in August last year before the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancellation. The tournament was then rescheduled to August this year in Stockholm, Sweden. However, Dota 2 developer Valve Software was forced to once again reschedule the tournament and find a new venue after the Swedish government refused to officially recognize it as an 'elite sporting event.'
That lack of official recognition meant that players, talent, and staff attempting to procure a visa for travel into Sweden for TI10 will be denied alongside a host of other issues that would have made hosting the tournament in the country practically impossible.
While TI10 was able to find a new venue in Romania, it had to be postponed from August — the month when it has always been hosted since its inception — to October.
Prize pool breakdown
TI10 holds the record for the biggest prize pool in esports history with a pot of US$40,018,195, surpassing the record previously set by TI9, which had a prize pool of US$34.3 million. The tournament's massive prize pool was crowdfunded by the Dota 2 community through the TI10 Battle Pass, which added 25 per cent of all its sales to the tournament's initial prize pool of US$1.6 million.
The champions of TI10 will claim the grand prize of US$18,208,300, which will also set the record for the largest amount of prize money to be awarded in an esports tournament.
While every team that qualified for TI10 will surely want to take home the grand prize, they will still win big even if they fall short. The second-placed team in the tournament will earn US$5.2 million, getting into the Top 8 guarantees a team at least US$1 million, and even getting last place will earn a team US$100,000.
Here's the full breakdown of TI10's prize pool:
2nd place: US$5,202,400
3rd place: US$3,601,600
4th place: US$2,401,000
5th-6th place: US$1,400,600
7th-8th place: US$1,000,500
9th-12th place: US$800,400
13th-16th place: US$600,300
17th-18th place: US$100,000
The 18 teams competing in TI10 are comprised of the best teams from the six regions of the Dota 2's competitive scene: North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, and Southeast Asia. The participating teams are further divided between the directly-invited teams and the qualified teams.
The Top 12 teams in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) point leaderboard received direct invites to TI10. These teams include Evil Geniuses, PSG.LGD, Virtus.pro, Quincy Crew, Invictus Gaming, T1, Vici Gaming, Team Secret, Team Aster, Alliance, Beastcoast, and Thunder Predator.
Meanwhile, the last six teams to earn a spot in TI10 did so through a series of qualifiers for each region. The qualified teams for the tournament include Undying, SG Esports, OG, Team Spirit, Elephant, and Fnatic.
China has the most representatives in the tournament with five teams, namely PSG.LGD, Invictus Gaming, Vici Gaming, Team Aster, and Elephant.
North America, South America, and Western Europe all have three representatives. Evil Geniuses, Quincy Crew, and Undying represent North America, Beastcoast, Thunder Predator, and SG Esports represent South America, while Team Secret, Alliance, and OG represent Western Europe.
Meanwhile, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia each have two representatives. Virtus.pro and Team Spirit represent Eastern Europe while T1 and Fnatic represent Southeast Asia.
TI10 will begin with a preliminary Group Stage which will determine seeding for the teams in the Main Event. The Group Stage will see the 18 teams divided into two groups of nine each and will follow a round-robin format where all matches will be a best-of-two.
At the end of the Group Stage, the Top 4 teams in each group will advance to the upper bracket of the Main Event. While the fifth to eighth-placed teams of each group will still advance to the Main Event, they will have to start in the first round of the lower bracket. Meanwhile, the bottom-placed team of each group will be eliminated.
The groupings for the Group Stage is as follows:
The Main Event will be a double-elimination bracket with the best-performing teams from the Group Stage starting in the upper bracket while the remaining teams start in the lower bracket.
The upper bracket will have three rounds, with all matches being a best-of-three. The winners of each upper bracket match will advance to the next round while the losers will drop down to the lower bracket. One team will qualify for the grand finals from the upper bracket.
The lower bracket will have six rounds and will see the losing teams get eliminated. The first round featuring the lower bracket seeds from the Group Stage will be comprised of best-of-one elimination matches. Teams that survive to the succeeding four rounds of the lower bracket will then fight for their tournament lives in best-of-three matches. One team will qualify for the grand finals from the lower bracket.
The grand finals will feature the two teams that survived the upper and lower brackets duking it out in a full best-of-five series for the right to claim the US$18.2 million grand prize and the Aegis of Champions.
How to watch
Secondary and tertiary streams will also be made available during the Group Stage in order to accommodate the amount of matches that will be played simultaneously during the stage.