Those invited should be no surprise for close followers of the competitive Dota 2 scene: 2013 International champions Alliance, 2012 champions Invictus Gaming, 2011 champions Na’vi, StarLadder IX champions Team DK, MLG Anaheim champions Cloud 9, Titan eSports, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, NewBee, Vici Gaming, and Team Empire.
The invitees reflect the ever-changing performances of the competitive Dota 2 landscape. North American squad Evil Geniuses, who weren’t directly invited in 2013 and fell short in that year’s qualifiers, got the invite this year, while Team Liquid, the highest placing North American team in last year’s International, was relegated to participating in the qualifiers due to their recent poor performances.
Joining the invited teams will be one team from each of Valve’s four regional qualifiers, which include the Americas, Southeast Asia, China, and Europe. The regional qualifiers begin with a group of ten teams playing in a round-robin format. Four teams will move on from this stage and head into a double elimination bracket.
The runner up in each regional qualifier will have the opportunity to travel to Seattle to participate in the play-in series. The winner of that series, which appears to be a round robin group between the four runners up, will be given the opportunity to play in the main event.
For a list of those competing in the the regional qualifiers please visit Valve’s announcement page.
The Dota 2 super tournament will take place in sold out Key Arena in Seattle from July 18 to 21. While details on this year’s prize pool have not been released yet, the 2013 event, thanks in part to crowdfunding from the Dota 2 community, boasted the largest prize pool in esports history at $2.8 million.