It all starts here. Dota 2's world championship, The International 2014, begins in earnest today. While the group stages of the 16-team tournament won't begin until tomorrow, today marks the start of the event's wildcard playoff. There's a single spot remaining on the 16-team docket and four qualifying teams will have to battle it out to until only one remains. Virtus.Pro, MVP, CIS Game and Liquid have each earned second place in their respective regional qualifiers, but for three teams the path to greatness ends here.
Running consequently with the wildcard playoff will be The International's Solo Tournament. It's a one versus one tournament featuring eight of the best carries and semi-carries in Dota 2. What happens when their teams are stripped away from them and they're forced to rely solely on their creep waves and a bottle? Sound like the premise of a very depressing film, but in practice it means great fun.
Of course, all of The International 2014 is livestreamed for free via multiple means. The games can be watched in-client via Dota 2, on Dota2.com, or via Valve's Dota 2 Twitch channel. Those are the outlets, but Valve has stepped up its game with regards to how everyone watches in terms of presentation too. This year Valve has added a few different things. First is a noobs stream, which helps new players pick up on the complexities of the game. Second is a multi-cast stream which will displace all ongoing games at the same time, never losing a second of wonderful International gameplay. Finally, every single game will be available on the Dota 2 website, organized into spoiler-free videos on demand. It's like Valve knows what it's doing or something!
Let's go over the teams that will be playing today and the brackets they'll be facing. Starting off will be the wildcard playoffs:
- CIS Game
There are the two matchups to start the day off. Each matchup will play a best of three, including the final between the winners of the above matchups. That means we could have as few as six games or as many as nine.
Next up is the 1v1 line-up, which as of right now I'm not certain is best of three or just single elimination. Either way, here are the brackets:
- Dendi - Natus Vincere
- Arteezy - Evil Geniuses
- s4 - Alliance
- iceiceice - DK
- fy - Vici Gaming
- Resolution - Empire
- Mushi - DK
- Ferrari_430 - Invictus Gaming
Two DK members tells you a little about how well-respected that team is, yeah?
Let's stop rambling here, because the first match in the wildcard playoffs has begun! Everyone have a great The International and expect more news here from Neoseeker as the tournament progresses round by round. Make sure to find the livestream with your favorite commentator. Personally, I enjoy Tobi, because he's awkward as heck, but calls the in-game action better than anyone. Ah, the professionalism when $10 million is on the line.