The teams that have been invited are not a huge surprise to many. Four time Major champions OG are joined by EPICENTER: Moscow winners Team Liquid as the European representation. DAC champions Invictus Gaming and Galaxy Battle winners Newbee are the two Chinese squads to have made the cut. Virtus.pro, runners up at the Kiev Major and winners of The Summit 7 and North American organisation Evil Geniuses round off the six direct invite slots.
With regards to qualifiers, the breakdown of qualifiers by region will be as follows:
- 3 x China qualifiers;
- 3 x South East Asia qualifiers;
- 2 x Europe qualifiers;
- 2 x North American qualifiers;
- 1 x CIS qualifier;
- 1 x South American qualifier.
With ten teams set to compete in each regional qualifier, there’s tough competition – particularly in the European and North American region where there’s only two slots up for grabs.
This year there’s to be no wildcard which historically saw two teams eliminated prior the actual tournament getting underway. Instead, 18 teams will compete in the round robin stage prior to the double elimination main event. The bottom team in each of the two groups will not make it through.
As with each year, there’s a number of community who are upset by the distribution of qualifier spots. With North America, China and Europe arguably housing the most competitive qualifiers – there’s plenty who argue that they should have three qualification slots. Regardless, Valve has decided its policy so teams will now have to accept it and ensure they’re best prepared for the upcoming qualifiers.
Currently the prize pool sits just shy of $16,000,000 and it still looks fairly likely that the total prize will eclipse that of last year which sat just short of $21,000,000.
Esports Insider says: Congratulations to the six teams invited as they can now sit back and prepare ahead of the tournament. The qualifiers are sure to be fantastic as there’s arguably more pressure on them than playing any other tournament all year round. Getting to The International and winning is every players dream and there’s definitely going to be a lot of money on the line.