After we had already witnessed three magnificent Majors over the year’s lead-up to The International 2016, there was still more action to be had as KeyArena took us in once more – and another journey to find a new holder of the Aegis of Champions began.
TI6 had everything we could ever hope for from a Dota 2 event – with a constantly shifting the meta, new teams entering the fray and countless amazing plays, the tournament saw one for the history books.
In the next few weeks, I will continue on a journey through the History of the International, where it all began, the prize pools, the winning teams and everything surrounding each event as we lead up to this year’s TI8.
The International 2016
It was March 31, 2016, and we were already two Majors deep into the Dota 2 season when Valve released information on both The International 2016 and when tickets for the event would go on sale. The qualifiers for the prestigious tournament would also be confirmed in this post on the Dota 2 blog – placing them after the final Major of the season. The first direct invites would only be seen seven weeks before the event – and they would be the only ones seen too, as 10 teams would still need to qualify.
Dota 2 Major Championship
With Valve announcing their new system of Dota 2 action, the Majors took us by storm through the year preceding The International 2016. We saw tons of drama, thousands of creeps killed and plays made across the map as the $3,000,000 Majors took us to Frankfurt, Shanghai and Manila. By the time it was time for TI6, one team had stood out at the events, OG, winning 2 of the 3 and seeming unstoppable on their path to the top.
That said, it was announced at TI6 that the next season of Major Championships would only feature three Major tournaments, rather than four.
The Battle Pass
The Compendium had become a standard feature related to The International and through the years we had used it to pump up the prize pool of the event, acquire amazing new cosmetics in game and play varying game modes. This would be the first year that it changed – with Battle Passes now being the new item and different ones being available for nearly every Major. The International 2016 iteration of the Battle Pass was released on May 16 and with it came the removal of the “stretch goals” from previous Compendiums – instead of this, 25% of the price was instantly added to TI’s prize pool.
The Battle Pass was littered with quests, Immortals, predictions and hundreds of other fantastic aspects, such as a separate MMR ranking which could be used to replace the player’s previous ranking.
Announced only 7 weeks prior to The International 2016 kicking off, only 6 teams would see direct invites to the tournament. The previous year’s champions, Evil Geniuses, were not given a direct invite and the team were forced to battle through both Open Qualifiers and the main Regional Qualifiers to gain access to the tournament. The Regional Qualifiers were a bit different again this time around with two teams from each of the four regions (Americas, Europe, China and Southeast Asia) making their way into the main event of TI6 – while the runners-up would be added to the Wild Cards, and battle on the opening day for the last 2 spots at the Main Event.
Once the Group Stages were under way, it seemed as though their dominance in the preceding Majors was working in OG’s favour as they looked to be on an easy path to victory. But moving into the Main Event of The International 2016 proved tougher than they had expected and within 2 series, they were eliminated from the event by a rather unlikely SEA squad who were making their mark on the world – TNC. As the dust settled our finalists were revealed, both having thwarted Evil Geniuses to make it through to the Grand Finals.
Both Digital Chaos and Wings Gaming stood head-to-head, DC having the crowd behind their back as the home team and Wings claiming the China Dota 2 love from around the world too. By the time we’d reached this point, the grand total in the prize pool was over $20,000,000 and both teams had everything to play for. After taking the first game, DC looked to be on the front foot but Wings came back, taking the next three games of the series and would be the champions of TI6.
The International 2016 Placements and Rewards
- First Place– Wings Gaming – $9,139,002
- Second Place– Digital Chaos – $3,427,126
- Third Place– Evil Geniuses – $2,180,898
- Fourth Place– Fnatic – $1,453,932
- Fifth/Sixth Place– EHOME/MVP Phoenix – $934,761
- Seventh/Eight Place– TNC Pro Team/Team Liquid –$519,262
- Ninth-Twelfth Place – OG/LGD Gaming, Alliance, Newbee – $311.557
- Thirteenth – Sixteenth Place – Team Secret/Natus Vincere/Vici Gaming Reborn/Escape Gaming – $103,852
Once again, there were countless amazing performances at The International 2016, with players having brilliant moments of solo grandeur and teams producing some brilliant displays to claim victory. One of the most amazing moments for me to witness was not really a single time period, but rather a complete game – game three of the Lower Bracket Final between EG and DC. After each team had taken 1 game, the doors to the Grand Final were opening for one, and it seemed to be the EG show as the 2 NA squads battled in front of screaming and adoring fans. Losing their mid lane of barracks and their tier 4 towers seemed too much for DC but the fight back was immense and they defended their Throne. With everyone alive, DC managed to take the game and the series – taking the squad to the TI6 Grand Finals in the most majestic manner possible.
The International 2016 was the first to hold a Cosplay Contest, giving the fans of the game a chance to showcase their best designs off in front of the thousands at KeyArena and the many more watching from home. The winner would claim their share of a cash prize pool – while all those who dressed up were given the 2016 Cosplay pin.
Much like the previous iteration of The International, TI6 would come with a Collector’s Aegis – this 1/5 scale Aegis of Champions was dished out to all those who pushed their Battle Pass to beyond level 1000. The replica is still one of the most amazing items released by Valve to commemorate the community making Dota 2 and The International the most exciting and epic tournament in esports.