The International 2018 for New Viewers

This course is here to help you to get a better understanding of what you will be seeing as a viewer when watching The International 2018 (TI8). TI8 will be taking place from August 15 to August 25, 2018 and currently has a prize pool of $19,662,125 USD. The format for the event is split into a group stage and the main event. The group stage is a round robin format with two groups. The teams will play best of 2 matches against the rest of their group for a chance to progress to the upper bracket of the main event. The top 4 teams in each group move on to the upper bracket while the bottom team in each group is eliminated. The remaining teams move on to the lower bracket of the main event. If you make it to the upper bracket you have two chances to continues but starting in the lower bracket means one loss and you are eliminated from the tournament. The stakes are high, the action is intense, we hope you enjoy watching The International 2018!

What is Dota 2?

What is Dota 2?

Dota 2 at it's simplest is a team game where 5 players fight with 5 other players to destroy the enemy teams Ancient (the giant structure in their base). In a Dota 2 game, heroes will go to the three lanes. Minions will march down these lanes and heroes will kill the minions to get gold and experience points. Heroes will use this gold and experience points to purchase items and level up to make their abilities stronger.

What is the goal of Dota 2?

  • To collect gold!
  • To kill enemy heroes!
  • To destroy the enemy Ancient!

The Basics

The Map

The Map

This is where the game is played. As you can see there are 3 main lanes leading from the bases in the bottom left and upper right corner of the map. There are also pathways from the lanes into the jungle, in the jungle there are different monster camps that heroes can kill for gold. Running across the middle of the map, from the top lane to the bottom lane, is the river. In the top part of the river you can see the pit where the monster Roshan spawns. Killing Roshan provides your team with uniquely powerful items that will help end the game. Each lane has 3 towers on each side, and once you destroy these and get into the enemy base there are barracks that you must destroy. Once those are destroyed there is a final set of towers by the enemy Ancient. After destroying those you can destroy the Ancient.

Basic Terminology

Dota 2 has a lot of terminology unique to the game. If you've played or watched other games like Dota 2 before then you may be familiar with some of it. Knowing these terms while listening to the casters will help you understand what they are talking about.

  • CS - Creep Score: The number of enemy minions and jungle monsters a hero has killed or denied.
  • Farm - Killing a group of creeps.
  • CC - Crowd Control, spells or items that prevent movement. There are multiple types of CC (also called disables).
    • Stuns - prevents heroes from taking any action 
    • Slows - slows a heroes movement speed
    • Silences - prevents heroes from using abilities
    • Roots - prevents movement & mobility based skills
    • Hexes - turns a hero into a small creature, preventing use of items and spells
    • Cyclone - lifts the hero up in the air becoming untargetable 
    • Banish - essentially removes the hero from the game for a duration of time
    • Mutes - prevents item usage
  • Gank - Going to another lane and attacking the enemy hero there.
  • Pulling/Stacking - Attacking a jungle camp so that a new group of monsters spawns while it is chasing you. 
  • Buyback - Heroes can spend gold to respawn immediately instead of waiting their full death time. Once used this ability has a cooldown of 8 minutes.

What is a CC?

  • Killing a minion wave to gain gold.
  • Crowd Control
  • Attacking a jungle monster to cause another set to respawn in its place.

The Teams

The Teams

18 teams from around the world will be gathering in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada to prove that they are the best Dota 2 team. 8 of these teams earned a direct invite to The International by doing well in Dota Pro Circuit events during the year and earning more circuit points than their competition. The other 10 teams played through regional qualifiers to earn their spot. The following section provides a brief overview of all 18 teams.

Virtus Pro

Virtus Pro

Virtus Pro is the top contender for The International this year. They finished first in the Dota Pro Circuit and have won first place in 5 of the last 6 Premier or Major events that they attended. This CIS team is looking unstoppable.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid

Team Liquid took 2nd place in the DPC standings and are last years International champions. The European team is looking to defend their title against a surging Virtus Pro and PSG.LGD.

PSG.LGD

PSG.LGD

PSG.LGD is a Chinese powerhouse squad that recently was sponsored by Paris Saint-Germain of Football fame. The team has taken several first place finishes and other high placements in the last 3 months.

Team Secret

Team Secret

Hailing from Europe, Team Secret placed 4th in the DPC this year. Despite this, all their major finishes came at the beginning of the year, and the team has not been looking great recently. 

Mineski

Mineski

Mineski was the 5th place DPC team from Southeast Asia. They haven't placed above 5-6th since their 1st place in April at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018, and things are looking grim for the team.

Vici Gaming

Vici Gaming 

Vici is a Chinese squad that is just being overshadowed by PSG.LGD lately. They have not placed highly in too many events this year but they still managed to secure their invite spot.

Newbee

Newbee

Yet another Chinese squad that secured a place at TI8, Newbee has had an abysmal year since taking first at the ESL One Genting Major. They are not looking good going into the group stages.

VGJ.Thunder

VGJ.Thunder

The final team to qualify based on DPC points, VGJ.Thunder barely squeaked into its invite slot. They are by far the worst invited team and if they had not made it to TI the team probably would have broken up. Expect little to nothing out of them.

OG

OG

OG's current roster formed specifically for the TI8 qualifiers, as two of OG's star players transferred to Evil Geniuses at the end of May. The change worked out for OG though as they stomped through the EU qualifiers only losing 2 games to secure themselves a TI spot.

Winstrike Team

Winstrike Team

Winstrike Team is the CIS team formerly known as FlyToMoon, they were signed immediately upon qualifying to TI8, which they did in style only dropping 3 total games throughout the qualifiers.

Team Serenity

Team Serenity

Team Serenity is the first team to qualify out of China. They're a smaller team but certainly could cause some upsets.

Invictus Gaming

Invictus Gaming

One of the biggest names in Dota 2, Invictus Gaming was oddly absent this year. They had no real standout performances but they had a solid qualifier run only losing to the first place Chinese qualifier Team Serenity.

Fnatic

Fnatic

Fnatic came fairly close to getting an invite to TI through DPC points, but ended up falling short. They did smash their way through both TNC teams in the SEA qualifiers though despite a middling group stage. With players like Eternalenvy, Universe and Pieliedie this team always has the potential to make waves.

TNC Predator

TNC Predator

This Southeast Asian team went through the SEA qualifiers in second place. They didn't really have any big placements this year and probably won't have much of an impact in TI8.

VGJ.Storm

VGJ.Storm

The North American arm of VGJ, this team made waves recently with a second place finish at the MDL Changsha Major. Unfortunately they followed that up with a 9-12th place finish at the Supermajor. Still, the team demolished the North American qualifiers, only losing one game to Complexity in the Round Robin group stage. VGJ.Storm could definitely knock some people off of their pedestals at TI8.

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses

A far cry from what they used to be, many expected this to be the first year EG did not go to The International. Those people were to be disappointed though as EG managed to take second place in the NA qualifiers.

Optic Gaming

Optic Gaming

The favored team from NA, Optic were the closest team to knocking VGJ.Thunder out of their 8th place invite slot to TI8. Unfortunately they fell short, and then even in the NA qualifiers they barely squeaked out a spot coming in 3rd. That being said Optic does tend to show up when it counts and they can certainly be a contender this year.

paiN Gaming

Pain Gaming

It's really a surprise to no one that Pain Gaming is the South American representative at TI8 as they are the only South American team who has done okay internationally. They probably won't make much of an impact but they are not to be underestimated.

Which teams have the best shot of winning TI8?

  • VGJ.Thunder
  • TNC Predator
  • Team Liquid
  • Virtus Pro

Heroes

Hero Basics

Heroes are the core of Dota 2. They are the player controlled characters, and there are 10 in every game. Heroes have 3 attributes, and every hero has 1 attribute that is considered it's primary attribute. The attributes are:

  • Strength - Affects Maximum Health Pool, Health Regeneration, and Magic Resistance
  • Agility - Affects Armor, Attack Speed, and Movement Speed
  • Intelligence - Affects Maximum Mana Pool, Mana Regeneration, and Spell Damage Amplification

Heroes have 4 or more abilities that they use to affect the game around them. 

Strength affects armor, attack speed and movement speed.

  • Strength affects armor, attack speed and movement speed.

Common Heroes

There are currently 115 heroes in Dota 2, and going over them all would not fit within the lines of this guide. Here are a few of the most common heroes that you will see in many games at The International.

Axe

Axe is a strength hero that commonly goes in the offlane. His core abilities are a taunt in an area around him, and a counter attack that has a chance to automatically happen when he is hit.

Clockwerk

Clockwerk is another strength hero that commonly offlanes. He is excellent at catching enemy heroes with his Hookshot which pulls him toward a unit from a long range and his power cogs, which trap a unit in a small area with him.

Ember Spirit

Ember Spirit is an agility hero that can go in many different positions. He is most commonly in the mid lane. His signature abilities are the Sleight of Fist and Searing Chains combo where he dashes to all units in a targeted area and roots them.

Slark

Slark is an agility hero who is usually played in the safe lane. He is a very mobile hero who can quickly take over games. His signature ability is Pounce where he jumps forward, grabs and leashes a hero.

Jakiro

Jakiro is an intelligence hero. They are most often played as a support but rarely are seen mid as a counter pick to an enemy hero. Their signature ability is Ice Path which creates a wall of ice that stuns heroes caught in it and prevents movement through it.

Warlock

Warlock is an intelligence hero who is played as a support. He has a heal and an ability called Fatal Bonds which causes every bound unit to take a % of the damage every other bound unit takes. His signature ability is Chaotic Offering, where he summons a giant golem to fight for him. The summoning itself causes an area stun.

Which of these is an agility hero?

Items

Item Basics

Items are tools that heroes buy with the gold they get from killing enemy heroes, minions, monsters and structures. Items can give heroes more attribute points or special abilities. Heroes have 6 active item slots and 3 backpack slots. Items that are in the backpack do not provide the hero with any benefits. There are two types of items, basic items and upgraded items. Basic items provide small benefits and can be combined to form upgraded items with better abilities or more attribute points.

Common Upgraded Items

Power Treads

Power Treads provide the wearer with +10 attribute points to whichever attribute they have selected, and wearers can switch between attributes at will. They also provide +25 attack speed and +50 movement speed.

Tranquil Boots

Tranquil Boots are the primary boot choice for support heroes. They provide +90 move speed and +13 health regeneration but these are put on a cooldown when the wearer is attacked.

Black King Bar (BKB)

Black King Bar provides the wearer with +10 strength and +24 attack damage. The primary use however is an active that makes the user immune to spells and grants 100% magic resistance.

Linken's Sphere

Linken's gives +13 strength, agility and intelligence, along with +5.5 health regeneration and +2.25 mana regeneration. It's primary use is that the item has will block a spell cast on the owner once every 13 seconds. The owner can also choose to place the spell blocking ability on an ally, but they lose the ability for 13 seconds if they do.

Blink Dagger

Blink Dagger allows a hero to teleport a short distance immediately. It is commonly used for engaging enemy heroes unexpectedly. It cannot be used within 3 seconds of taking damage from an enemy hero.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity

Eul's provides +10 intelligence, +2.25 mana regeneration and +30 movement speed. This item also allows the owner to target a hero with a cyclone CC.

Scythe of Vyse

Scythe of Vyse gives +10 strength, +10 agility, +35 intelligence, and +2.25 mana regeneration. This item also allows the owner to target a hero with a hex CC.

Shadow Blade

Shadow Blade provides +30 attack speed and +22 attack damage. When used it turns the owner invisible for 14 seconds and provides +20 move speed. The effect ends when the owner casts a spell or attacks and that attack will deal 175 bonus damage.

Which of these is a Black King Bar (BKB)?

What does a Scythe of Vyse do?

  • Turn a hero invisible and give them bonus move speed and damage.
  • Allow the owner to target a hero with a cyclone CC.
  • Allow the owner to target a hero with a hex CC.