When: Monday 3 – Saturday 8 August. Broadcasts start at 6pm BST (1pm ET / 10am PDT)
Where: The KeyArena in Seattle, USA.
From 3-8 August the world's largest eSports tournament with the industry's biggest ever prize pool enters its main event. Teams from around the world will gather in Seattle for The International – the annual championship for multiplayer online battle arena (Moba) game Dota 2.
How To Watch
Dota 2 players will be able to watch the International 2015 through the free-to-play game itself via its robust and industry-best spectator mode. Watching within the game client gives spectators the ability to direct the in-game camera themselves, rewind and slo-mo the action, and delve deep into the real-time stats of the game. Spectators can choose from commentary streams in a range of languages, and also hand over to accompanying camera direction for the commentary if they wish to simply sit back and enjoy the action.
There will also be steams on YouTube at the Dota 2 channel and Twitch which will include pre- and post-match commentary from pundits, as well as interviews with players and views of the spectators watching the action live. The Twitch player is embedded below.
At the time of writing the prize pool stands at an unprecedented $17,987,952 (£11.5m) at the time writing. In comparison, The International 2014 prize pool was $10.9 million.
The game's developer and tournament organiser, Valve, are generating the prize pool through the sale of an in-game item, the "Compendium" which went on sale for $9.99 on 1 May, for which they contributed an initial $1.6m. A quarter of those sales go toward the final prize pool. The compendium includes in-game items which are unlocked via stretch goals as the prize pool grows.
The pool is split between all teams who reach the final stage, with a larger slice going to the best teams. The champions will get a 36% share of the prize pool (currently around $6.5m). The runners-up will get a 15.5% share, third place 12%, and fourth place 8.5%.
The Tournament So Far
The preliminary group stage ran between 27-30 July, during which 16 teams competed to earn a favourable placement in the main event brackets. They were divided into two groups of eight, with the top and bottom four teams splitting off into the two Main Event brackets.
The Upper Bracket features the eight top performing and most favoured teams, who have a run of fewer games to reach the grand final. The eight teams in the Lower Bracket will have to compete more often and face teams from the Upper Bracket along the way to stand a chance of making the grand final.
This is all engineered to create a fair tournament, but also one with masses of potential for drama.
Games of Dota 2 take place between two teams of five players each which typically compete in best of three matches. The grand final is competed in a best of five format, while the first round of Lower Bracket matches will be determined by a single, one-and-done game. All other matches will be best of three.
Each player plays as one of 110 "heroes" who begin each match at level one and grows from there, adding abilities, skills, and equipment up to a maximum level of 25. The objective of each match is to destroy the opposing team's 'ancient' - the main structure in each team's base.
The Main Event
The first round Upper Bracket matches (prefaced with match code) are:
UB1A - LGD Gaming vs Team Empire
UB1B - CDEC Gaming vs Cloud9
UB1C - Evil Geniuses vs compLexity
UB1D - Team Secret vs EHOME
The first round of Lower Bracket matches are:
LB1A - MVP Phoenix vs Newbee
LB1B - Vici Gaming vs Natus Vincere
LB1C - Virtys.pro vs Fnatic
LB1D - Invictus Gaming vs MVP HOT6ix
The losers from the four Upper Bracket matches will then meet the winners of their counterparts in the Lower Bracket in the second round. So the loser of UB1A will meet the winner of LB1A and so on.
Bet 365 currently has Team Secret as their favourite with Evil Geniusesbehind them. Then comes LGD Gaming and CDEC Gaming. The full list of odds is as follows:
Team Secret - 10/11
Evil Geniuses - 4/1
LGD Gaming - 4/1
CDEC Gaming - 14/1
Cloud9 - 18/1
EHOME - 18/1
Team Empire - 18/1
Vici Gaming - 25/1
compLexity Gaming - 40/1
Virtus.pro - 50/1
Invictus Gaming - 66/1
Newbee - 200/1
Fnatic - 300/1
Natus Vincere - 500/1
MVP HOT6ix - 750/1
MVP Phoenix - 1000/1