With Dota 2 finally fully released to the public and everything running smoothly, Valve announced The International 2014’s dates late in March. The tournament would now move to a new venue, a bigger venue, a place where we would witness 4 years of history being made as the game grew in leaps and bounds. After the success of the Compendium at TI3, Valve continued with their Compendium too and TI4 was ready to take over the world.
In the next few weeks, I will continue on a journey through the History of the International, where it all began, the prize pools, the winning teams and everything surrounding each event as we lead up to this year’s TI8.
The International 2014
On March 31, 2014, Valve posted a “save-the-date” on their Dota 2 blog, announcing the main event of The International 2014 taking place from July 18-21. The post detailed the different ticket levels and when sales would open so that people could get their hands on a prized ticket to watch 16 teams battle it out for what would be a gigantic prize pool by the time things ended. The post also gave clarity; stating that 11 teams would be directly invited, while another four would come through Regional Qualifiers and the final spot would be the Wild Card position once again – the runners-up from the Regionals all competing for that 1 last place at the prestigious event.
The ‘Wild Card’ series would initiate the start of The International 2014 as the first of three playoffs – the second being TI4’s 16 team round-robin and the third being a group stage to determine the seeding for the main event. By the time we were at our new TI venue, KeyArena, Seattle, there would be only 8 teams left in the running, ready for the 4-day journey to the top.
After TI3’s Compendium saw such a massive success in raising the prize pool for the event, Valve released the Compendium once again for The International 2014. It was announced and released on May 9, 2014, just over two months before the event kicked off and contained numerous stretch goals. Some of the items included the Pudgling Courier, Weather Effects, Hero remodels and a new voice for a hero too. By the end of TI the prize pool had reached a MASSIVE $10,923,977 and was definitely a huge surprise to those in both the Dota 2 and general gaming community.
TI4’s Compendium also came with Immortals – special cosmetics for certain heroes which changed the effects of some of their spells. Each owner of the Compendium would initially receive only a single Immortal Strongbox but every 10 levels would give them another Treasure.
TI4 was the first to see full regional qualifiers for 4 different regions; America, Southeast Asia, China and Europe with the victorious teams from each area joining into the final 16 for the event. North American Rejects would take the Americas qualifier and be picked up by Natus Vincere for TI4, playing at Na’Vi NA while LGD Gaming claimed the China spot, Arrow Gaming flew the SEA flag and mousesports were the EU contenders. The 2nd place in each of the regional qualifiers would also feature in TI as the Wild Card event – with four teams; Team Liquid, MVP Phoenix, CIS Game and Virtus.pro fighting for the final spot amongst the 16. In the end, Liquid would claim victory and while it wasn’t the same Liquid we know now, they still performed amazingly through the event.
Phase two would see a Round Robin stage where it was Vici Gaming and Evil Geniuses who were dominating, claiming the top two spots and moving straight into the Upper Bracket of the main event. 6 teams would be eliminated at the end of the round robin, leaving 8 to fight through the group stages and 2 already in the main event. After only marginally making it into the group stage, Newbee would get an upper bracket seed and make their way all the way through to the Grand Finals, taking down both VG and EG along the way.
The Grand Finals were not to produce anything spectacular in the long run as Newbee were just too strong for VG at the end of the day. While VG claimed a single game in the series, they would essentially lose 3-1, losing those three games in a total of 50 minutes – Newbee destroying them in under 20 minutes in 2 of the 3. Newbee would claim the Aegis of Champions and become the 2nd Chinese team to hoist the trophy in four years, as a trend began to appear at TI. Newbee would take home $5,025,029 and become the highest earning esports team and players of all time (at that point in time) while being crowned the victors at The International 2014.
The International 2013 Placements and Rewards
- First Place– Newbee – $5,025,029
- Second Place– Vici Gaming – $1,474,737
- Third Place– Evil Geniuses – $1,037,778
- Fourth Place– Team DK – $819,298
- Fifth/Sixth Place– LGD Gaming/Cloud9 – $655,439
- Seventh/Eight Place– Invictus Gaming/Na’Vi –$518,889
- Ninth/Tenth Place – Titan/Team Liquid – $49,158
- Eleventh/Twelfth Place – mousesports/Alliance – $38,234
- Thirteenth/Fourteenth Place – Team Empire/Fnatic – $21,848
While The International 2014 did not produce any major talking points in gameplay, one of the most amazing aspects was definitely the All-Star match. This showcase would see 2 teams, Team rOtk and Team XBOCT – which contained a total of 10 random players from different teams at the event – fighting it out in a fun best-of-one series. As the players locked in their final pick a loud explosion was heard echoing through KeyArena as the crowd got up of their feet, cheering and Techies popped up onto the big screen. A hero that was always the bane of many was now in Dota 2 and they chose an amazing way to announce it.