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- DotA 2
While there are those who doubt the growth of Dota 2 in the global eSports scene, those who write long think-pieces or supposedly earth-shattering exposés about the behind-the-scenes turmoil of the popular MOBA, it doesn’t appear that any of those people work for Valve. Indeed, recent developments in the Dota 2 scene indicate that it is full-speed ahead, as far as the PC gaming giant is concerned.
In what is perhaps the most under-the-radar development, the Dota 2 International tournament this year will have a reserve a spot for South America, the way they do for other regions. For those who don’t follow Dota 2 too closely, this is something of a rarity in official Valve tournaments, which include the “Major” series (Boston Major, Kiev Major, etcetera) and the International, Valve’s multi-million-dollar annual tournament. South America is often considered the weakest region for Dota 2 eSports. In fact, this is only the second time a slot specifically for South America has been opened up at an official Valve Tournament. Previous Valve tournaments have lumped North and South America into “The Americas” for purposes of qualifiers.
This all changed when Valve carved out a qualifier spot for South America in the Kiev Major. While this created a controversy among spectators, wondering if that slot would be better served in a more competitive region such as China or CIS, Valve soldiered on, opening the door for South American Dota 2. For good measure, the relatively unknown Brazilian team SG e-Sports kicked the door down.
Coming into the Kiev Major, SG e-Sports was considered something of a token – they were only there because Valve wanted a strictly South-American presence. In the group stages, the Brazilian team played like it, not winning a single game on their way to a sixteenth seed in the single-elimination tournament. That meant they had to face the top-seeded Team Secret. While no one was looking, SG e-Sports pulled off what is perhaps the greatest upset in Dota 2 history. While they lost in the next round to Evil Geniuses, SG e-Sports, many believed, had put Brazilian Dota 2 on the map.
That much was confirmed when Valve announced the Dota 2 International invites and tournament format. While there are plenty of great storylines that can come out of this (The roster formerly of Wings Gaming, not receiving an invite following the team owner releasing them, despite being the defending champions of the International 2016, or maybe Team Liquid securing an eleventh-hour invite following their upset victory at the Dota 2 Epicenter), the slot for South America may be the biggest. The Dota 2 International 2017 marks now two Valve-official tournaments in a row where a slot for South America is guaranteed.
Especially as more and more teams are bucking the tradition of strict nationality, Dota 2 is enjoying its most diverse period. At the Kiev Major, 25 different countries were represented, and that number is likely to go up.
The Dota 2 International tournament is known for its gaudy prize pools (this year, it’s already approaching $16 million with almost two full months of crowdfunding to add onto it), and 2017’s iteration of the tournament will begin on August 7th, following a series of qualifiers. After open qualifiers take place June 22 to June 25, we’ll be able to see which South American team makes the cut and competes for a cut of that prize pool immediately after on June 26 to June 29.