The World Cup may be causing millions to lose sleep, but now gamers will have another reason to stay up into the late hours of the night. The highly anticipated The International Dota 2 Championship, also known as TI, starts tonight with the Phase One playoffs. There will a be a large number of games being played, especially during the phase two playoff stages when 16 teams play each other in a round robin format tournament. This means that there will be 120 games of Dota 2 being played over four days.
Where To Watch
TI will be streamed both in-game and over Twitch. Although there will be many different streams going on to cover the multiple matches that are being played. Twitch will be streaming the event in four languages: English, Russian, Korean, and Chinese. Each of the four languages has six channels: the main event, four for the other games, and one dedicated stream for newbies. Aside from that, there will be three extra streams to provide extra ambience of the tournament that will be split into two pod streams and one for the the main hall. Those who don’t want to miss anything happening on any of the streams can watch four at the same time through the Twitch multistream.
All broadcasts start at midnight local time starting from tonight. This is the beginning of the playoffs and will see four teams competing for the wild card slot in the second phase of the playoffs. These four teams are the American Team Liquid, Korean MVP Phoenix, Chinese CIS Game, and European Virtus.pro. Each of which were the runner up in their respective regional qualifiers. Only one of these teams will survive to the next stage, with the other three getting back on their planes and going home.
Phase two of the playoffs lasts from 9 to 12 July. This is where it gets a little complicated to decide who qualifies for the main event. After all 16 teams have played each other over the four days, the top two teams will automatically reach the main event and join the upper bracket, while the bottom six teams are eliminated from the competition.
Teams who placed third through tenth then play the in a best-of-three single-elimination bracket. The two top teams from this elimination round will join the upper bracket of the main event, and the next four teams will join the lower bracket. The two bottom teams will be eliminated from the competition. This third phase of the playoffs will take place on 13 and 14 July.
Finally, the main event begins on 18 July with eight qualified teams in a best-of-three double elimination bracket. This ends with the finals on 21 July where the two top teams of TI 2014 play each other in a best-of-five match for the grand prize.
Fans can follow the schedule and main stream from the Dota 2 website. It would be easier than trying to figure out what is going on during the second phase of the playoffs. There are also two side events that will happen on the first day of the playoff (tonight) and the second day of the main event.
Tonight’s side even will see the Solo Championship take place after the first phase of playoffs have been completed. The top players from the Dota 2 scene will compete against one another without their teams for the glory of being the best solo player at TI. No prize money has been announced for this event, and it appears to be an exhibition of skill from these players.
The second side event is the All Star Dota 2 match. The two teams, coached by rOtK of Vici Gaming and XBOCT of Natus Vincere, will meet on 19 July. Like the Solo Championship, this is only an exhibition match and all that is on the line is the pride of those involved.
There are currently 19 teams in Seattle, USA hoping to claim the top prize for themselves. Eleven of these teams are there on the invitation of Valve, while the remaining eight have had to qualify through regional qualifiers. The invited teams were chosen based on past performance at various competitions. There are two Malaysian teams at TI this year, and fortunately both are qualified directly for the Phase two.
Titan eSports are appearing on an invite from Valve after several successful tournaments leading up to the qualifiers. While Arrow Gaming are making their debut at TI as a result of winning the Southeast Asia qualifier.
Defending champions Alliance are making a return to TI and will attempt to become the first team to defend the title, although both 2012 winners Invictus Gaming and 2011 champions Natus Vincere will be there to try to claim a second world championship crown for themselves. With a prize pool of more than US$10 million, these teams have everything to play for.