Biggest Dota 2 Tournaments: What You Need to Know

Dota 2 is a huge game that over the years has managed to create a thriving eSports scene. Champions from all over the world compete in various tournaments in hopes of winning one of the grand prizes and becoming that year’s champion. If you’re planning a career in Dota 2 or simply want to know what’s going on in the competitive scene, read this article and learn all about Dota 2 tournaments.

What You Need to Know About Dota 2

Dota 2 is currently one of the most popular eSports titles. The original game was released more than two decades ago, in 2003, and interestingly enough, it began as a fan mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. At the time it was called Defense of the Ancients, hence the infamous DotA acronym.

But those old days are gone, and the game is now known as Dota 2, which is the official sequel to the original mod. Valve, the infamous studio behind the Counter Strike series, released it in 2013, and it is now one of the most popular MOBA games in the world. At its peak, it was played by more than 1, 3 million people a month, with the latest figure being around 800,000.

What Is Dota 2 About?

Many players compare the gameplay of Dota 2 to League of Legends, and while there is no denying that they have relatively much in common, at the same time they are quite different from each other.

It is worth noting that the hallmark of Dota 2 is its visuals, which look downright fabulous. If you are a fan of fantasy-themed games and are not into classic FPSs, this is definitely the title for you. All the world elements and available characters testify to the amazing imagination of the creators.

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As for the gameplay, it involves a clash between two teams of 5 players. Their task is to occupy a building defended by their opponents, which is called Ancient (while also, of course, defending their own). Everything that happens on the map during combat is very dynamic and requires A LOT of strategic thinking if you actually want to defeat your opponents. Nevertheless, once you start your adventure with Dota 2, you will find it hard to tear yourself away from this game, as its combination of stunning fantasy worlds and challenging gameplay makes this title one of the most noteworthy MOBA games in the world.

What Are the Biggest Dota 2 Tournaments?

When it comes to the Dota 2 eSports scene, there is basically one big competition that overshadows everything else, namely the International. It is the culmination of the Dota Pro Circuit.

What Is the Dota Pro Circuit?

Dota Pro Circuit is an annual series of competitions organized by Valve that is divided into regional championships for North America, South America, Southeast Asia, China, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe. It is the official successor to the Dota Major Championships, which were modeled on the famous Counter Strike Majors. Unfortunately, those tournaments became known mostly for controversies involving unfairly sent invitations, which is why Valve decided to create a separate brand for Dota 2 eSports.

Dota Pro Circuit has been held every year since 2017. During its duration, teams from around the world compete against each other in a series of matches, and the 12 that score the most points are given the chance to participate in The International, where the eventual champion will be determined.

What Is the International?

Dota 2 has been very popular in the eSports scene ever since Valve held a special event ahead of the sequel’s release. In 2011, the developer invited 16 of the world’s best teams to take part in a competition which is now known as The International. It took place at b in Cologne, Germany from August 17-21 of that same year, and it was the very first time Dota 2 was shown in front of a real audience. As for the prize pool, the money was funded by the developer itself in cooperation with Nvidia, which also provided hardware for the tournament. The top prize was as much as $600 000, which was almost unbelievable at the time the competition was held. The two teams that fought to win the championship title were Ukraine’s Natus Vincere and China’s EHOME. It was then that the rivalry between the European and Chinese squads began, which basically continues to this day.

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The whole event was a huge success and everyone got excited at the release of Dota 2. Since that year, The International has been held annually and it concludes the so-called Dota Pro Circuit. Its next edition after Germany was hosted in Seattle, Washington.

What Is the Current Format of The International?

In 2023, The International underwent some major format changes that are still difficult for some players to understand.

Let us explain.

There are 20 teams competing in The International, 12 of which were invited because they scored the most points during the entire Dota Pro Circuit, and 8 of which earned a spot in the regional qualifiers. With so many squads participating, the competition tended to be a bit hectic, and spectators struggled to keep up with what was going on. Taking this into account, Valve decided to split it into two stages:

  • The Road to The International
  • The International

The Road to The International involves a Group Stage and the Playoffs, while The International is where 8 best teams fight for the champion title.

As for the main changes, the entire competition is now slightly better organized. Previously, the Group Shase was divided into two groups of 10 teams each. These teams each had to compete against each other during a very intense four days. However, in 2023, this phase of the competition has been divided into five groups of 5 teams each, and they will have to fight each other for 2 days instead of 4. The worst team in each group will be eliminated, and the remaining 16 will battle again in the second part of the Group Stage in order to secure a good spot for the Playoffs.

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When Was the Last International?

The 11th International, which was the 2022 edition, was held last October. It was organized in Singapore, specifically at Sunter Singapore and Singapore Indoor Stadium, which served as venues for the play-offs and finals, respectively. The total prize pool was as high as $18,930,775, and the grand champion turned out to be Tundra Sports from the United Kingdom. As a team, they managed not to lose a single game in the main competition, and in the finals, they defeated Team Secret 3-0. This was their first major victory in a Dota 2 competition.

When Is the Next International?

The 2023 edition of The International will be held in October in Seattle, Washington. The venue is the Seattle Convention Center’s Summit, which can accommodate up to 8,000 people, and the Climate Pledge Arena, which can hold up to 18,000 spectators.

As for the teams that will compete for the championship, they are:

Invited Teams:

  • Team Liquid
  • Gamin Gladiators
  • Tundra Esports
  • 9Pandas
  • Evil Geniuses
  • LGD Gaming
  • Shopify Rebellion
  • Talon Esports
  • beastcoast
  • Teamspirit
  • TSM
  • BetBoom Team

Qualified Teams

  • nouns
  • Keys Stars
  • Thunder Awaken
  • Entity
  • Quest Esports
  • Azure Ray
  • Team SMG


As you can see The International is a rather complex event that attracts a lot of spectators annually. The eSports scene in Dota 2 is really huge and every year more and more players decide to start their professional careers. If you, too, dream of becoming a pro, or just want to know what goes on during the Dota Pro Circuit, be sure to read this article.

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