Ranking the Best International Dota 2 Tournaments

Throughout the years Valve’s biggest Dota 2 event The International brings out the best of the best. From the birth of Dota 2 during the first International, to OG’s dominance at the International 9. These tournaments gave us games to remember and gave us reason to love the game even more. Now that The International 10 is here, we rank the Dota 2 International’s from least to most entertaining according to our staff!

Screenshot from the Dota 2 International Compendium

9. The International 4

Date: July 18-21, 2014
Location: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington, USA
Prize pool: $10,923,977 USD
Winner: Newbee
Runner up
: ViCi Gaming

The lowest rated International. The International 4 was not nearly as good as any TI in this list. It was a meta-heavy-based patch, where teams will regroup after the laning phase and march to victory. Teams will pick the most favored heroes resulting in consistent wins. Most of the games were one-sided or (deathball stomps), making the games anticlimactic as teams will do the same strategy all over again. Newbie won the grand finals 3-1 vs Vici Gaming with 27 minutes being the longest game played. 

A video from DotaCinema “Dota 2 The International 4 – The Movie”

8. The International 2

Date: August 26-September 2, 2021
Location: Beyonara Hall, Seattle, Washington, USA
Prize pool: $1,600,000 USD
Winner: Invictus Gaming
Runner up
: Natus Vincere

If there’s one thing that fans will remember about the International 2, it’s “the play”. To give you a summary of what “the play” is, well, you have to watch it to appreciate it. Words cannot describe the hype and the intensity of it. Not just the best moment in the International 2, but it is also one of the greatest plays in Dota history. Na’Vi immortalized themselves by giving us “the play”. 

A video from Chris Myll “The Play” – Multicam Edition

As for the tournament itself, the International 2 is not a big step up from the First International. Dota 2 is still on the beta test during this time just like in the International 1. The hero pool is limited, the games weren’t that great and IG’s (Invictus Gaming) dominance made it look like they will win it all, and they did. 

The International 2 was not a step back from the First International, it’s also not a better sequel. But one thing is for sure, Dota is on the right track.

7. The International 6

Date: August 2-August 13, 2021
Location: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington
Prize pool: $20,770,460 USD
Winner: Wings Gaming
Runner up
: Digital Chaos

Wings Gaming’s supremacy in the International 6 was impressive and all, but if we’re to look back, this event was all about the underdogs. DC (Digital Chaos), an inexperienced team, and is considered by many as “just lucky” to get qualify. After falling into the lower bracket, DC worked their way up, pummeling all of the teams that get in their way, they easily became the darlings of the crowd. Their playstyle and chemistry gave us the best highlights of the tournament, especially w33haa’s Invoker, it was something else. It gave us the most insane highlights on the biggest stage. They are the most enjoyable to watch and every fight they fought is unpredictable. 

A video from dota2 “TI6 Road to the Finals – Digital Chaos

Even so, the team would hit a wall, as they will face the unshakeable Wings Gaming in the grand finals. Wings Gaming would take the Aegis, together with the 9 million dollar prize pool. However, we would never see Wings Gaming ever again, as the organization and players disbanded after the tournament. 

Some notable highlights from the International 6 were EG’s mega creep comeback against EHOME. The first-ever mega creep comeback in any Dota tournament. And who could forget, TNC ousting the fan-favorite OG.

6. The International 5

Date: July 26-August 8, 2021
Location: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, Washington
Prize pool: $20,770,460 USD
Winner: Evil Geniuses
Runner up
: CDEC Gaming

After winning the tight wild card qualifier, CDEC Gaming emerged as one of the fan favorites to win it all. As they rally their way into the upper bracket, and eventually in the grand finals. On the other hand, for the first time in 5 years, America has a real TI contender team in the form of EG (Evil Geniuses). With a  very experienced roster together with a young star Sumail, EG will beat the odds and will eventually face CDEC Gaming in the grand finals. 

During game 4 of the finals, after killing EG Sumail’s Storm spirit, CDEC Gaming will march into Roshan’s pit to take the Aegis and get back into the game. Little did they know Universe’s Earthshaker and PPD’s Ancient Apparition had a little surprise for them. To quote Tobiwan’s own words “Ooh they’re all together. PPD, here comes the ice blast ready for the dunk!!! In from Universe!!! IT’S A DISASTER!!!”.  A combo of Ancient Apparition’s Ice Vortex together with Ice Blast and Earthshaker releasing his Echo slam.

A video from NoobFromUA “Universe $6,000,000 Echo Slam Dunk Dota 2 TI5”

Universe and PPD delivered this perfectly, desecrating CDEC’s chance to come back in the game. This event will be forever remembered as the “6 Million Dollar Echo Slam” as EG secured their victory after this play. Winning 6 million dollars, the highest prize pool at the time, and claiming the Aegis of Champions.

5. The International 7

Date: August 2-August 12, 2021
Location: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington
Prize pool: $24,787,916 USD
Winner: Team Liquid
Runner up
: Newbee

As we can see, The International 1, 3, and 5 were won by Na’Vi, Alliance, and EG, all were western teams. In addition, The International 2, 4, and 6 were won by IG, Newbie, and Wings Gaming, all were Chinese Dota teams. It became accustomed to Dota fans that Western and Chinese teams were winning alternatively. Coming into The International 7, many fans speculated that the champions will be a western team, given that Wings Gaming won the last tournament. 

However, that speculation went down as 4 of the last 5 teams remaining were Chinese teams. Only Team Liquid remains, and if we’re going to compute the odds, of a western team winning, it’s very slim, as these remaining Chinese teams are on the top of their games. Nonetheless, the sweetheart of the tournament, Team Liquid will go on a crusade beating all the teams in the lower bracket, as fans would even call it, “the Liquid Bracket Run”. After beating the phenomenal LGD.Forever Young in the lower bracket finals, they have to face the indestructible Newbee. 

Newbee was dubbed the perfect Dota team, they can play any given matchups in their favor and there is no one that can outplay them. They battered their top-tier teams like EG, Invictus Gaming, and LGD.Forever Young, sending them to the lower bracket. However, they will be overwhelmed by Team Liquid’s momentum. As they are always one step ahead of Newbee. At game 4’s final moments, Newbee will take their chances, stopping Miracle’s Juggernaut from taking the Double Damage rune and almost bursting him down. Unfortunately, Team Liquid would run them down, stealing any opportunity that Newbee had to get into the game. Team Liquid will win the tournament claiming the Aegis of Champions.

A video from holyhexOr “Miracle- $10.000.000 BKB Omnislash with GH Echo Slam Combo TI7 Dota 2”

4. The International 1

Date: August 17-21, 2011
Location: Cologne, Germany
Prize pool: $1,600,000 USD
Winner: Natus Vincere
Runner up

The tournament that made all of this possible. Announced on August 1, 2011, this will be the first time Dota 2 is going to get shown in the public. Dota community all over the world went crazy after learning that Valve is going to give the champions a 1 million dollar, Esports biggest prize pool at that time. 16 teams all over the world were invited to participate. 

The tournament took place at Gamescon in Cologne, Germany from August 17-21, 2011. This will be the birth of Dota 2, hundreds of fans gathered to witness history. Fan’s favorite Na’Vi worked their way in the group stages, dominating all in their way as they secure their place into the upper bracket. They reached the grand finals facing the best Chinese team, EHOME. Na’Vi will win the series 3-1 and they will be crowned the Champions.

Valve’s ingenious way of introducing Dota 2 paved the way for its success. As Warcraft’s 3 Dota-mod feels clunky and outdated, Valve’s rendition to the beloved MOBA was a huge success. The International 2011 is a reminder of how Dota 2 evolved as a game and as a culture. 

This tournament will be featured in Valve’s documentary film “FREE TO PLAY”.

A video from Valve “Free to Play: The Movie Trailer (US)”

3. The International 9

Date: August 15-25, 2019
Location: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai, China
Prize pool: $34,330,068 USD
Winner: OG
Runner up
: Team Liquid

If you thought OG’s dominion over The International 8 ended, you were wrong. Although they did not win any major tournament after TI8, they acquire enough DPC points to get invited. Coming into The International 9, analysts and fans predicted that Team Secret will take this years’ Aegis and we will have a 2-time TI champion in the name of Puppey. PSG.LGD was also heavily favored especially since this year’s venue is in China, their homeland. 

OG will prove that last year’s TI was not a ruse. They played this tournament like a walk in the park, even playing with core Io. Yes, a hero nobody plays as a core, not even in pubs. OG was able to pull this unbelievable strategy, resulting in teams banning Io in the first phase just to take it of OG’s hand. It was an automatic win if OG’s Ana gets his hands on it.  

OG and PSG.LGD will face each other again, in the upper bracket finals. However, the home team came short, they weren’t able to take revenge against last year’s finals. OG is just too powerful for them. Meanwhile, Team Liquid decimated the lower bracket again, kicking PSG.LGD out of the tournament. 

This will be the first time champions of the past TI will face each other in the grand finals. Team Liquid, The International 7 champion, and OG, the defending champs. I wish I could say Team Liquid put up a good fight, but even for them, OG is too much. They will take the series 3-1 and will repeat as the International champions, the first time in history. Their roster of n0tail, Ceb, Ana, Jerax, and Topson would become the highest-grossing esports players in history (to this date). OG played this whole tournament without any tension on their faces, they’re playing as if there is no multi-million dollar reward on line. They are exceptional, it’s as if they cracked the code on how to win. This OG’s roster of n0tail, Ceb, Ana, Jerax, and Topson, is the best Dota team that ever played the game and we’re glad we saw them play.   

A documentary movie from dota2 “True Sight: The International 2019 Finals”

2. The International 8

Date: August 15-25, 2019
Location: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, Canada
Prize pool: $25,532,177 USD
Winner: OG
Runner up

The runner-up. The International 8 is all about friendship and rivalry. You see, even though OG underperformed every TI they attended, they are still a very successful team, as they have won 4 major championship tournaments. The Aegis of Champions’ trophy is their final quest to be the best team of all time. Just to give a brief history, Fly and n0tail were the foundations of OG, because of them, the team won a lot of tournaments, because of them this team strives. Even so, all of this changed when Fly, together with s4 left, to join EG. OG, the team that every fan love is now incomplete. OG would hit rock bottom, N0tail, now the team’s captain took his chances on Topson, a player nobody has heard of, and Ceb, OG’s coach, decided he will play the offlane position. 

Fans would consider OG fortunate after qualifying in the European qualifiers and many believed they would just get kicked in the group stage. OG will have the most unforgettable run in history. They pulled spectacular comebacks, every game they played, we can see the grit to win. After beating EG, after that handshake, you can see the drama, we saw how years of friendship turned into a rivalry. EG will end up as the 3rd placer, while OG will face their true challenge, PSG.LGD. The fated champions, the team everyone believed to take the trophy. And as we know since Team Liquid was TI7’s champs, many fans believed that this year is for the Chinese, and boy was they wrong. At the game-clinching game 4, PSG.LGD had a commanding lead coming into the late game. Fas were celebrating as they were moments away from winning. However, OG will shut the door, making impossible plays towards the end game. That commanding lead that PSG.LGD have had vanished after a game-changing Berserker’s call from Ceb’s Axe. ODPixel said it best when he shouted, “Ceeeeeeeeeeeb!!!! He gets the call of his lifetime”. That play gave OG the edge to push a game 5 and eventually taking the Aegis of Champions.

OG’s incredible run is one of the most beautiful moments in Dota history, they were mocked, they were hated but in the end, they are champions. 

A video from dota2 “True Sight : The International 2018 Finals”

1. The International 3

Date: August 2-11, 2019
Location: Benayora Hall, Seattle, Washington, USA
Prize pool: $2,874,380 USD
Winner: Alliance
Runner up
: Natus Vincere

If you ask any Dota fans what is the most ridiculous thing ever happened on the International, they will answer this, “The Fountain Hook”. During Game 3 of the Upper bracket match between Na’Vi and Tong Fu, Na’Vi found themselves at a corner as TongFu assert their dominance in the early game. With a very slim chance of a comeback, Na’Vi pulled the “fountain hook”. A combo to Pudge’s hook and Chen’s test of fate, hooking enemies to the fountain for an easy kill, this was not an easy thing to do, as the timing has to be precise. Puppey and Dendi were able to execute it a couple of times, giving them the lead and winning the game.

However, the fountain hook is not the tournament’s defining moment. In the grand finals, Na’Vi found themselves facing another European juggernaut, Alliance. With a tied score of 2-2, the teams will go into the final deciding game 5. As Na’Vi is closing in to end the game, Alliance did what they do best, split pushing. Na’Vi tried to stop Alliance’s split push and went back to save their base, that is where S4’s puck multi-hero dream coil came into place. Stopping Na’Vi from retreating, canceling their TP’s, and making them walk to the base. Na’Vi will not be able to stop Alliance’s onslaught of their base as Alliance outmaneuvers Na’Vi and eventually ending the game. Those dream coils will forever be immortalized as “The Million Dollar Dream Coils”. 

A video from DotaCinema “Dota 2 TI3 – Na’Vi vs Alliance – The Final Moments (Multicam)”

In addition to the traditional 1.6 million, this event’s prize pool will be crowd-funded. Every player can buy the Battle Pass Compendium, and 25% of the sales will be directed at TI3’s prize pool. At that time, Dota accumulated a whopping 2.87million dollars, esports biggest prize pool at that time. This was also the time that a lot of the original players from Dota (Warcraft mod) shifted to Dota 2, causing the number of players to rise.

Up to this date, The International 3 is still ranked as one of the best Dota 2 tournaments.

What do you think of this list? Did we make a good ranking? Disagree? If so, leave a comment below and submit your own list!

Check out our latest posts as well:

Leave a Comment