Written by Eric Soejatno
The International is on its seventh year and it's still as exciting as it has ever been, with new narratives emerging from this year's big tournaments, and a brand-new legacy to draw on.
Here are nine things you may not have known about this year's The International:
Remember The Titans
Out of the 6 Aegis-holding teams in the history of Dota 2, only three organizations return to The International: Invictus Gaming (TI2), Newbee (TI4), and Evil Geniuses (TI5). Storied organizations Natus Vincere (TI1) and Alliance (TI3) did not make it this year, and worst of all the defending champions, Wings Gaming (TI6), will also be absent.
While China once again sees the largest representation in TI in terms of players (22), the Philippines sends the second-largest delegation of 11 players. These are the entirety of Execration, all but one member of TNC Pro Team, DJ from Fnatic, and Abed from Digital Chaos. For the Filipinos who have loved the game for so long, it's about damn time.
Started From The Bottom...
Two teams attending this year's The International fought their way up from the bloodbath of the open qualifiers. These are Execration and Planet Dog. Interestingly, these two teams have rosters finalized just before The International 7 -- perhaps they've been built specifically for TI? Definitely keep an eye out for these two.
Brothers and Sisters
Two organizations have both fielded two Dota 2 teams into this year's TI. The first is LGD Gaming with LGD and LGD Forever Young. The second is Invictus Gaming with IG and IG Vitality. This doesn't quite mean however that these Chinese organizations have already doubled their chances of claiming the Aegis -- the teams still have to prove themselves, perhaps even against their own partner team.
Only four players remain who still have perfect attendance for all The Internationals whether as a starting player or as a stand in. These are Puppey (Team Secret), Kuroky (Team Liquid), DDC (LGD.FY), and Universe (Evil Geniuses). Sadly leaving the list are Dendi, iceiceice, Misery, and Hao.
Opposite the veterans are two teams that have never attended The International before. These are Infamous and Planet Dog. Wait for Dog's veteran support Milan MiLAN Kozomara and Infamous' young prodigy 16 year-old Enzo Timado Gianoli to make some waves at TI7. Not bad for brand new teams on the scene!
Old Friends, New Rivals
With The International being basically a big reunion for all the world's best players, some old flames are being revived. Miracle and Cr1t will be running into ex-teammates in OG. Arteezy, EE, Pieliedie, and Bulba will all hopefully get to face Puppey, the last remaining member of their Team Secret squad. Even the disbanded MVP Phoenix gets a reunion with MP in Secret, QO and Febby in Fnatic, and Forev and Dubu in DC.
There are five teams at this year's The International whose members all hail from different lands. These are OG, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Team Secret, and Planet Dog.
The International is on track for beating its own record for largest esports prize pool of all time, last year's 20,770,460 USD. As of this writing (July 7, 2:10pm SGT), the prize pool has already reached 20,121,375 USD and looks to keep growing. That's a very big pie, no matter which piece you get.