Dota 2 developer Valve Software announced on Friday (23 June) that Western Europe and South America will both have two teams qualifying for The International 2023 (TI 2023) through the regional qualifiers.
Eastern Europe, China, Southeast Asia, and North America will each have one team advance from the regional qualifiers as in previous years.
TI 2023, which will be hosted in Seattle in October, is this year's iteration of Dota 2's annual world championship tournament.
A total of 20 teams will be competing in TI 2023. The 12 teams who earned the highest amount of Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points from the regional leagues and Majors will receive direct invites to the tournament. The remaining eight slots will be filled through the regional qualifiers.
This marks the first time that eight teams will earn their spot in TI through the regional qualifiers. In all previous iterations of the tournament, only one team from each of the six regions in the DPC were able to advance through the regional qualifiers.
This also quietly confirms that there will be no Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) for TI 2023, unlike last year's tournament, as the two slots that would have gone to the winning LCQ teams have now been handed over to Western Europe and South America.
The TI 2023 regional qualifiers will be held in the second half of August, with the competition being split into three five-day phases where two regions will compete in each phase.
The qualifiers for North America and China will kick things off from 17 to 21 August, South America and Eastern Europe will follow from 22 to 26 August, while Western Europe and Southeast Asia will close things out from 27 to 31 August.
Western Europe getting an additional slot through the regional qualifier is no big surprise, as the region has dominated the 2023 DPC season.
Three out of the five teams that have already secured a direct invite to TI 2023 are also from Western Europe, namely Gaimin Gladiators, Team Liquid, and TI 2022 champions Tundra Esports.
Meanwhile, South America earns its second slot in the TI 2023 regional qualifiers as the rising region of the DPC.
South America's rise has been spearheaded by Evil Geniuses (EG) and Beastcoast, with both teams representing the region in all three Majors this season. EG notably finished in the Top 6 of both the Lima and Berlin Majors and is one of the five teams that have already secured a direct invite to TI 2023.
TI 2023 sees event's return to Seattle, revamped format
TI 2023 will be held in Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena from 14 to 29 October and features a revamped format similar to last year's tournament, which was held in Singapore.
This year's TI will see the tournament's return to Seattle after six years. From 2012 to 2017, TI was held in Key Arena near Valve's headquarters in Bellevue.
Since the last time TI was held in Seattle, the tournament has been held in Vancouver, Canada; Shanghai, China; Bucharest, Romania; and Singapore.
TI 2023 will also have a revamped format featuring two main stages: a preliminary stage called 'The Road to the International' followed by the tournament's main event. Valve has yet to reveal the full details on this new format, but it seems very similar to that followed by last year's tournament.
While TI 2022 in Singapore had two main stages, the Group Stage and the Playoffs, the latter was split into phases.
The first phase of the TI 2022 Playoffs featured the 16 Playoff-qualified teams playing through the first two rounds of the upper bracket and four rounds of the lower bracket.
The second phase only featured the Top 4 teams playing through the upper bracket finals, lower bracket semifinals, lower bracket finals, and the Grand Finals.
The TI 2022 Playoffs were also hosted in two venues, with the first phase held in Suntec Singapore while the second phase took place in the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
TI is also known as the biggest tournament in all of esports in terms of prize pool, which regularly reaches tens of millions of dollars in winnings. TI 2022 had a prize pool of US$18.9 million, with champions Tundra Esports claiming the grand prize of US$8.5 million.
The biggest TI by far was TI 2021 in Bucharest, which had a whopping US$40 million prize pool. Team Spirit claimed the grand prize of US$18 million.
While TI 2023 is still months away, Dota 2 fans can whet their appetite for some top tier Dota action with the upcoming Bali Major.
From 29 June to 9 July, 18 of the best teams in the DPC will be fighting for their share of a US$500,000 prize pool and 3,500 DPC point pool. This will be the last chance for teams to earn DPC points that will go towards direct invites to TI 2023, so the competition is expected to be fierce.
For everything you need to know about the Bali Major, check here.