Team Liquid, Virtus Pro, and Invictus Gaming have been invited to the International 7

In less than two months, the Dota 2 world championship will be underway.

Image via Valve

The first six competitors at the biggest esports tournament of the year have been confirmed.

With the main event taking place from Aug. 7 to 12, the majority of invited teams at the International 7 consist of rosters from the European continent, shuch as OG, Team Liquid, and Virtus Pro. Meanwhile, Evil Geniuses will be the sole team from North America with a direct invite, while Invictus Gaming and Newbee represent China.

For the first time in the tournament’s history, however, there won’t be a defending champion at the International 7. The roster that made up the Wings Gaming team that won the International 6 split up after substantial conflicts arose between the players and the Wings Gaming organization.

In the past six months, the level of competition among the top-rated Dota 2 teams in the world has been incredibly even. Not a single roster has been able to dominate throughout 2017. The only team on the list of invites that’s won more than one event in 2017, in fact, is Team Liquid, who took home the second season of Epicenter on June 11.

Between June 22 to 26, a series of open qualifiers will be held within each region to decide which teams get to advance to their region’s main qualifier, where a number of established teams have already been invited. Anybody can participate in the open qualifier, which will be hosted by FaceIt. Immediately following the initial qualifiers, the regional qualifiers will take place between June 26 to 29, and will see the winners of the open qualifiers go up against invited top teams from each region.

The regional qualifier will also separate tournaments for the South American and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) regions, which were introduced during the qualifiers for the Kiev Major.

One key aspect of the International 7 is the fact that the number of teams competing in the group stage has been expanded from 16 to 18, as the top three placing teams in each qualifier will be playing in Seattle. Once there, the 18 teams will be divided into two groups, where the two bottom placing teams in both groups will be eliminated ahead of the playoffs.