Late last month, Valve announced the teams who’d been invited to its yearly Dota 2 tournament. The International, as its called, is easily one of the biggest in professional gaming, and this year’s prize pool has already surpassed $5 million. But after the initial fanfare over Valve’s announcement subsided, one question still lingered: Will all the invitees be able to attend?
Securing visas for 16, five person teams—whose players come from every corner of the globe—is not an easy task. And it’s affected the International in the past. Two years ago, Malaysian team MUFC had to drop out of the tournament entirely after it failed to secure visas for its players.
That’s why Dota fans were relieved to see today that Pittner ‘bOne7’ Armand, a Romanian who plays for American team Cloud 9, had secured a visa. Armand is notorious for his travel woes. In the last year, two separate visa problems have forced Armand to sit out major events in the United States, such as Major League Gaming Columbus and the Monster Energy South by Southwest Invitational.
“I’m thrilled that Bone has been approved to travel to the United States for the International,” said Cloud 9 Owner Jack Etienne told OnGamers.
“Huge thank you to Valve for providing the support we needed to make this happen. With our full roster locked in for TI, we’re going to be pushing ourselves hard to ensure our best performance at the event.”
The prize pool for this year’s International continues to grow by the day due to Valve’s innovative crowdfunding technique using in-game purchases. Sitting at at $5.2 million, the International 4 comfortably sailed past last year’s prize pool of $2.7 million in less than a week. Some community figureheads, like Beyond the Summit’s David “LD” Gorman estimate that it may reach as high as $8 million.
The matches will be held from July 18-21 at Seattle’s Key Arena—a venue that sold out less than 24 hours after tickets were made available.