The International 6 - Invites and Qualifiers
It’s time for the qualifiers for The International 6. For the first time in history most of the contenders at TI will come from the qualifiers rather than getting directly invited. This tells you how stacked and important they will be. The qualifiers will take place from 25th to 28th of June.
Na`Vi invited over Fnatic
First things first. When talking about the qualifiers we should first mention the teams directly invited to TI 6. As it turns out the decision made by Valve is pretty controversial. The invited squads are: OG Dota 2, Team Liquid, NewBee, LGD Gaming, MVP.Phoenix and Natus Vincere.
With most of those invites you can’t and shouldn’t argue. OG won two Majors, Liquid finished second in Shanghai and Manila, NB and LGD got Top4 at the last Major, MVP finished Top 6 at last two Valve events and won to other LANs. Then we have Na`Vi. Ukrainians finished Top 8 in Manila and placed second at StarLadder i-League Invitational as well as ESL One Frankfurt.
However, there is also Fnatic out there. The team from SEA played at all three Majors this year and finished Top 6 in last two. They also dominated the SEA region dismantling every opponent on their way in any qualifiers. Before the invites got released anyone in the right mind would have told you that Fnatic is a lock to get the invite.
They did not get it. Moveover, they were informed about it less than a week before the qualifiers actually start being half way through the world, playing ESL One Frankfurt, from the place they will have to compete in the qualifiers.
Transparency from Valve
Weather consistent performance over the whole or better finish at the last Major should outway better performance at other LANs and slightly worst performance at the last Major is debatable. I personally think it shouldn’t and do not agree with inviting Na`Vi over Fnatic. Regardless of what you think something should be said for the fact that we even have to ask those questions.
Players, teams and fans have no informations whatsoever about what and how much counts when it comes to the invites to the biggest events in the Dota 2 calendar. We don’t even have a clue how much invites will be given to each event. Thats a huge problem. Not only the teams can’t play their trips, schedules and such they even get indirectly punished for attending some events sometimes.
Without a doubt there should be some kind of system and some informations in place for team and the community. It should be clear if performance over the whole year or current for matters. It should be known when the invites will come out. It should be communicated how much teams will get directly invited. This is a multi million industry and it should be treated like one.
Ten teams to be chosen based on online competition
With that there is another burning topic that should be discussed. With only 6 invites 10 teams, well over half of the field at TI 6, will come from the regional qualifiers. While giving less invites is in eyes of many Dota 2 experts a good move it means all of the other squads will come from an online competition.
The International 6 will have another enormous prize pool, like the biggest in eSport history. Everyone dreams about taking part in that event, it is every Dota 2 pro player’s goal. Those dreams and potentially millions of dollars in prize money will be on the line on not equal conditions. Last year in nearly every region there were major disruptions and difficulties during the qualifiers purely because of the online format.
The only region that didn’t have any problems whatsoever last year was China. Guess what? The Chinese qualifiers were played on LAN. They avoided all the issues like, DDOS, random internet problems, ping difference and so on. If qualifiers in all regions would be played on LAN it would it would eliminate all of the last years problems. But now we are in for some more of those probably.
If anyone is interested in more in depth analysis of why qualifiers for TI (and Majors as well for that matter) should be on LAN you can check out the article I wrote last year on that topic. http://www.joindota.com/en/news/28735-opinion-why-qualifiers-for-majors-on-lan-should-be-mandatory
New format of the qualifiers
The format of this year’s TI qualifiers will be different from what we’ve seen in previous years as well as for the Majors. All the teams in one region will be place is one huge group. They will all play each other in Best of 1 matches. The winners of the round robin will get a straight ticket to Seattle.
Those who will finish from 2nd to 5th will advance to the playoffs. The format will be a double elimination bracket with all the matches, outside of the Grand Finals, played in a Best of 3 system. The Grand Finals themselves will be Best of 5 and the winner will qualify to The International. The runners up of the playoffs will be given their second change during the Wildcard Matches which will most likely take place a couple of days before TI itself.
Evil Geniuses and Team Secret demolish the opens
Before the closed regional qualifiers start the open qualifiers have to take place to fill in a couple of empty slots. This year the competition was harder than ever especially as The International 5 Champions - Evil Geniuses and The Shanghai Major winners - Team Secret violated the roster lock and were forced to play in them.
Both teams showcased that they are well above the level of teams playing in the open qualifiers not losing a single game and more or less cruising through the first open qualifier in their region. Now the question stand can they do the same in the regional qualifiers. EG? Mostlikely! Secret? I’m not so sure!
The regional qualifiers start on the 25th of June and last till the 28th. More information on the qualifiers and The International 6 itself can be found on the official Dota 2 website.