TI had been extremely successful in its previous four years of running and Valve took the opportunity to announce The International 2015 as early as possible. With KeyArena once again ready to open its doors to thousands of players, broadcast talent and fans and a few surprises from Valve in their announcement, TI5 was set to be another grand event on the Dota 2 calendar.
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 2015
It was only January of 2015 and the new year had brought with it a special announcement from Valve – on the 7th they released a post on the Dota 2 blog stating the dates for The International 2015 and giving the community the dates of when we’d see the first direct invites appear. This was the earliest point in time that Valve had ever released information on TI and the hype instantly kicked off. Tickets to the event went on sale on March 27 – a month later and we knew that we’d have the Compendium in our hands too.
Dota Major Championships
However, the announcement of this also came with the surprise of The Dota Major Championships – a series of four massive tournaments which would be held yearly and sponsored by Valve (one of these being The International) and were to be played across the globe annually. The Majors would have strict rules around them but would work towards growing the competitive scene of Dota 2 to far beyond TI. These Majors would begin after TI5 and run through until the next iteration of TI – awarding teams handsomely for victories. The first three Majors were The Frankfurt Major, The Shanghai Major and The Manila Major, all of which were wrapped up in time for The International 2016 – the final Major of the 2015/2016 season.
The Compendium had proven to be one of the greatest aspects added to Dota 2 – pushing the winnings for The International through the roof in its first 2 years in the game. For TI5 it was announced on April 30, once again containing stretch goals, immortals, terrains and much more. This year also included Compendium Challenges: these challenges ingame would reward both the player and their team for completing specific aspects while still playing the game and would give out coins to the victors.
Video: Dota 2 Gamepedia
The International 2015 Compendium also gave level rewards – with my all-time favourite definitely being the Enigma: World Chasm Artifact which made casting that perfect Black Hole just look absolutely breathtaking. This alongside the Wyvern Hatchling courier and the fantastic special Almond the Frondillo pet (which followed around certain heroes when equipped) were just some of the level-up rewards which TI5’s Compendium saw.
The International 2015, like the previous year, saw Regional Qualifiers take place, giving 1 team from each major region; China, Americas, Southeast Asia and Europe, access to the main event. However, this would be the first time that Open Qualifiers were also held prior to the regional ones, where any team in the entire region had a shot at making it into the Main Regional Qualifiers to compete for a chance to appear in KeyArena.
This year would also see 2 teams from the Wildcard series make their way into the Group Stages of the tournament and no teams were eliminated prior to the Main Event in KeyArena. This meant that from the 10 Direct Invites, 4 Regional Qualifiers and 2 Wildcard victors, all 16 teams would feature in front of the crowd at TI – this was a great decision and proved that Valve wanted the community to bare witness to as much Dota 2 action as possible.
Once we were underway TI5 produced some amazing plays from countless players and teams and by the time the tournament had come to an end the Compendium had pushed the prize pool to a whopping $18,429,613. Coming out of the Group stages would be some unexpected results – especially in Group B where CDEC Gaming, a Wildcard qualifier, were dominating. At the main event, the team would go completely unbeaten all the way through to the Grand Finals – taking down Evil Geniuses in the Upper Bracket Finals 2-0. EG, however, having the new wonderchild that was Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan showing us what exactly it looks like to be a 16-year-old pro player, were unrelenting and found their way to the Grand Finals.
It did not take them long to get their revenge on CDEC either and in a 3-1 victory, Evil Geniuses secured the Aegis of Champions – continuing the trend of non-Chinese/Chinese winners on alternate years of TI. Their victory was also the first time a North American held the trophy; with Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis, Saahil ‘UNiVeRsE’ Arora and Peter ‘ppd’ Dager all hailing from the United States.
The International 2015 Placements and Rewards
- First Place– Evil Geniuses – $6,634,661
- Second Place– CDEC Gaming – $2.856,590
- Third Place– LGD Gaming – $2,211.554
- Fourth Place– Vici Gaming – $1,566,517
- Fifth/Sixth Place– EHOME/Virtus.pro – $1,197,517
- Seventh/Eight Place– MVP Phoenix/Team Secret –$829,333
- Ninth-Twelfth Place – Team Empire/Cloud9, compLexity Gaming/Invictus Gaming – $221,155
- Thirteenth – Sixteenth Place – Newbee/Natus Vincere/Fnatic/MVP HOT6ix – $55,289
The International 2015 produced a number of absolutely spectacular plays from many different players – many of which were centered around Roshan and his then ‘new’ placement on the map. From Aegis steals and team wipes, Xu ‘fy’ Linsen earning his godlike name on Rubick and the biggest names in Dota 2 being formed, one play obviously stood out far above the rest. It was in the Grand Finals – just as CDEC seemed to be turning things around when EG struck and Toby ‘Tobiwan’ Dawson’s voice echoed across KeyArena like the Echo Slam which took EG to the top. “IT’S A DISASTER” will long be immortalized in game and in the Dota 2 community as EG rocked their way to first place at TI5.
Dota 2 Reborn
Another fantastic addition to Dota 2 came prior to TI with Dota 2 Reborn going into its Beta phase. This massive update looked to enhance the game even more – adding a new interface, a new game engine and something which players of DotA were craving, Custom Games. The first time we saw these in action was with a massive 10vs10 Special Brawl at The International 2015 which even included members of the audience playing alongside their favorite Dota 2 super-stars. The match, while just for fun, saw what is probably the best and most exciting comeback in the history of Dota 2’s professional scene – and is a definite ‘must-watch’ for everyone who has a bit of time on their hands. Below you’ll find a summary of some of the best highlights created by DotaCinema
An Aegis For Us
Beyond that, the growth of the game was just spectacular and TI5 also saw a special reward for those in the community who had put in all their time and opened their wallets to the great GabeN. Any Compendiums over the level of 1000 would receive a commemorative Aegis of Champions – 1/5th the size of the one the victors of TI held, but just as majestic.