Valve announces major format overhaul for Dota 2's The International ahead of TI12
TI is now closed during the week.
Valve has today confirmed sweeping changes to the format for this year’s version of The International, with a focus on improving the tournament for a “broader range of fans”, as well as boosting viewer accessibility in-person as well as online.
The main change to the format, which was announced in an Aug. 4 Valve blog post, will see the event broken into three stages held over weekends. Previous versions of The International saw the group stage and part of the playoffs take place throughout the week leading up to the grand finals at the end of week two—a fortnight’s worth of non-stop Dota action.
In retrospect, Valve believes this to be a limitation of the tournament’s accessibility, opting instead for a League of Legends Worlds-like format with matches only occurring over the weekend. Valve had begun testing a version of this schedule at TI11 in Singapore last year, which saw the top three teams battle for the Aegis of Champions a week after the rest of the playoffs.
Related: Puppey, Monet claim Valve made big mistake with TI11 break; warn it’s already impacting players
TI12’s group stage in Seattle, U.S., will be set for Oct. 12 to 15, then a week off before action returns for the playoffs on Oct. 20 to 22. Valve will class these two weekends as “The Road to The International”, with only the top eight progressing to “The International” playoff finals on Oct. 27 to 29.
The tournament as a whole will still be considered The International, but Valve hopes by splitting broadcast days over multiple weekends as opposed to throughout weekdays will allow viewers to catch the action.
Also changing will be the group stage format itself. Previously, 20 teams were split into two groups of 10, with each playing a full round-robin stage—18 matches of Dota—before qualifying for playoffs. The drawback to this was several dead rubber matches; with standings often locked and confirmed well before the final day, it meant little to play for as the group stage went on.
Valve is cutting this down to four groups of five. The top four will progress to the second round of the group stage, while the fifth place will be eliminated. Round two for the group stage sees each team reseeded into head-to-head matches, with winners starting the playoffs in the upper bracket.
The playoffs will see the 16 qualifiers whittled down to eight via a double elimination bracket, with four starting the finals in the upper bracket and four starting in elimination. The final eight will survive The Road to The International and make it to the Climate Pledge Arena in late October to play for the Aegis.
Related: The biggest winners and losers from Dota 2’s Riyadh Masters 2023
At this stage, both rounds of the group stage will not be open to the public. The playoffs will take place at the Seattle Convention Center’s Summit before TI moves to the refurbished home of Dota at KeyArena—now the Climate Pledge Arena—in late October.
Tickets for The International are yet to be released, but Valve hinted at “late August” as to when we could see ticket sales open.
Aussie Editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career as a commentator, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly CS:GO and Dota. Email: [email protected]Related: Puppey, Monet claim Valve made big mistake with TI11 break; warn it’s already impacting playersRelated: The biggest winners and losers from Dota 2’s Riyadh Masters 2023