Qualifying for the biggest event in Dota 2‘s competitive year has always been something of a dark art, relying on invites from Valve. What was known is that doing well in Valve’s other two tournaments, the Majors, was key to getting that coveted invitation.

And now, Valve has decided to shake things up a bit. In a blog post on Monday, the Dota team announced that they would be vitalising the way that qualifying for The International worked, starting after the current International tournament. Instead of working on a purely invitational system, qualifications for the biggest Dota event of the year will be able to be earned in various Valve-sponsored tournaments throughout the year. Yes, instead of funding one or two major tournaments every year, Valve has thrown open the doors to their giant money castle, and have invited large third-party tournaments to become either a Minor or a Major tournament.

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But what’s in a name? Requirements are fairly strict. Both types must include at least one qualifier from each of the six primary regions (NA, SA, SEA, CN, EU, and CIS), and must have a LAN finals event. In addition, they need to give up some scheduling power to Valve, who’ll organise the whole system to ensure that no two events overlap.

Apart from these restrictions, the major difference between becoming either a Major or a Minor hinges on prize money; Major tournaments will require a prize pool of at least $500,000, while tournaments with over $150,000 in the pot become Minor tournaments. Once registered, tournaments get a prize pool bonus from Valve (an extra $500,000 for a Major/$150,000 for a Minor), and the chance for participating teams to earn Qualifying Points towards their entry into The International tournament at the end of each “season”.

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The system for the value of Qualifying Points isn’t currently specified, but the post does make it clear that there will be more points available in Majors than Minors, and all tournaments will slowly increase in points value as The International gets closer – probably to allow for late entries. Valve are also keeping the old system of roster locks, but are introducing new rules that allow for some flexibility with the points system.

Roster lock seasons will still exist, and players switching teams during the approved periods will retain their Qualifying Points. In order to allow for teams recruiting new entrants to the competitive landscape and to facilitate sometimes necessary roster changes between lock periods, only the top 3 point earners on a team will contribute towards a team’s effective total Qualifying Points.

Leaderboards will also be available, for both team and individual player progress, so that fans can keep an eye on their favorites throughout the year.


This is perhaps the biggest thing to happen to competitive Dota 2 for years, blowing the tournament scene wide open. Valve’s sponsoring of events still offers a fairly hands-off approach working well in keeping the community energized and active, while still allowing them some control over the scene as a whole. In addition, the introduction of what will surely be known as a “Dota season”, as well as the chance to keep an eye on your favorites throughout the year… this is looking to be an exciting change indeed. Now… fantasy league, anyone?

Will you be watching your favorite team next season with these changes? Or are you someone who’s never thought of watching before, but this has tickled your fancy? Let us know in the comments below.


Mark Jansen

Staff Writer

When I'm not writing on TechRaptor, you can normally find me on YouTube pulling stupid faces under a silly pseudonym.