Your Complete Guide To DOTA 2 Tournaments

With DOTA 2’s popularity continually increasing in the esports gaming world, it is not surprising that it has many tournaments, events, leagues, and championships. Teams from different regions of the world compete in tournaments and battle for the mouthwatering grand prizes on offer. Esports gamblers also have the opportunity of betting on their favorite teams during these tournaments. Hence, they get the chance to win big while supporting their teams.

Most of the DOTA 2 tournaments have grown bigger and attract players from several regions worldwide. Most of these tournaments are held annually. They also take place within the DOTA 2 Pro Circuit. This article provides you with all the information you need about DOTA 2 tournaments. If you seek to partake in these events, you will also find out how you can do so.

DOTA 2 Tournament Types

There are many DOTA 2 events, but each one of them has its distinguishing features. DOTA 2 tournaments are classified into the following types:

Online Tournaments

These are events where players don’t have to assemble at a specific location to compete. These tournaments hold online and generally have a small prize pool averaging $50,000.

LAN Tournaments

These tournament types are hosted on a Local Area Network (LAN). Hence, participating players assemble at a specified location. These venues are usually stadiums or massive arenas and attract huge crowds. Players usually sit in special glass rooms during gameplay while the cheering fans view the game on a big screen. LAN tournaments have higher prize pools than online tournaments. The prize pool for each tournament depends on its nature but is usually above $50,000. Besides the fans watching at the event venue, other fans can also stream it live online from wherever they are.

DOTA 2 Tournaments

The Qualifiers

In DOTA 2, there are many tournaments held each year. Some of these tournaments are major, while others are minor. Before players qualify for majors and minors, they must go through a qualifying phase. In these qualifiers, stronger teams get separated from weaker teams and advance to compete in the main tournament. One commendable thing about qualifiers is that it allows lesser-known teams to prove themselves and stake a name for themselves as they try to defeat the stronger teams and progress to main events.

There are two stages in the qualifiers. The first phase is the regional qualifiers. Here, hundreds of teams from several regions compete against each other to qualify for the second phase. The second qualifying stage is the closed qualifiers. There, the teams emerging from the regional qualifiers and the teams with a direct invitation to the qualifiers slug it out for a chance to get to the main tournament. Teams don’t gain any cash reward for playing in the qualifiers. Their only reward comes from successfully qualifying for an event.

DOTA 2 Minor and Major Tournaments

DOTA 2’s creator, Valve, partnered with third-party tournament organizers in 2017 to increase its popularity and competitiveness. Following the collaboration, DOTA 2 became very popular, with several minor and major tournaments springing up. These competitions are hosted using the LAN-tournament format. To compete in them, teams have to go through the qualifiers.


Minors are tournaments that have prize pools ranging from $150,000 to $300,000. Teams who win Minors don’t just walk away with the prize money. They also earn valuable DOTA 2 Pro Circuit points. With these points, they increase their chances of making it to “The International,” which remains the biggest DOTA 2 Tournament globally.

DOTA 2 Premier Tournaments

These are the DOTA 2 major tournaments. They are DOTA 2 championships with a lot of prestige. These events come only second to “The International” when it comes to ranking and offers mouthwatering prize pools ranging from $300,000 to $3 million to winners. Winners also win high DOTA 2 Pro Circuit points to boost their chances of qualifying for “The International.”

Format And Schedule For DOTA 2 Tournaments

Every DOTA 2 championship has its respective format. The format for each tournament depends on their nature and the number of participating teams. Most adopt the following DOTA 2 tournament schedule for games:

  • Best of 1: With this format, teams get to play a game. Whoever wins the game is the match-winner.
  • Best of 3: When using this tournament, teams play three games at most. Any team that emerges victorious in two of the three games wins the match.
  • Best of 5: A minimum of three games and a maximum of five games are played using this format. Any team that wins three games is the match-winner.

The Group Stage

Many DOTA 2 tournaments use a group stage format for their preliminary rounds. In the group stages, teams that qualified from the respective regional qualifiers compete to make it to the next round of the championship. They are placed in several groups and play against each other using one of the following systems:

  • The Swiss System
  • A Round-robin system
  • The GSL system

Teams that qualify for the group stage make it to the next tournament round known as the playoffs.

The Playoffs

In the playoffs, teams emerging from the group stage vie for a chance to make it to the later stages of the competition. This stage is tough and keenly contested. Most minor tournaments use the “One Bracket” system for their playoffs. With the system, a team crashes out once it loses a playoff match.

Major tournaments tend to adopt a “two brackets” system for their playoffs. This means teams don’t crash out after losing their first playoff match. Instead, they move to a lower bracket, while the victorious team advances to the upper bracket. If the losing team fails to win its match in the lower bracket, they crash out of the competition. With the two brackets system, a lower bracket team meets a team in the upper bracket in the final.

DOTA 2 World Pro Invitational

Notable DOTA 2 Series and Organizers

Some of the major DOTA 2 tournaments include:

The International

It is the biggest championship in DOTA 2 and is the event all teams look forward to. Only the best teams in the world compete in “The International.” Since its inception, the competition has grown bigger every year and set the record of having the biggest prize pool in esports’ history in 2019. Then, the prize money totaled $34 million.

Teams go through a rigorous qualifying stage to make it to The International. There are two ways in which they can qualify. One way is by going through the regional qualifiers. Another way is by receiving a direct invitation if they have high DOTA 2 Pro circuit points. The 12 best-placed teams in the pro circuit receive direct qualification to The Tournament. Hence, many teams do their best to perform well in the majors and minors to increase their accumulated points.

Mars DOTA 2 League

Mars Media, a company based in Shanghai, China, organizes a series called the Mars DOTA 2 League. These series are held majorly in China, though the company recently started organizing tournaments in Paris, France, to boost the series’s popularity.


The DreamLeague is organized by DreamHack. It comprised of majors and minors and kicked off in 2013. Since then, it has continued to attract more participants and is usually hosted in Sweden.

Electronic Super League

ESL is one of the world’s biggest esports leagues. It has been in existence since 1997. Within the ESL, there are different series, including the EMS One and ESL One. The ESL One hosts multiple majors and minors and attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers watching its tournaments.


Since 2013, WePlay has been hosting DOTA 2 tournaments. These tournaments are not as popular as Mars DOTA 2 League or the Dream League, but WePlay’s focus on informational-entertaining activities helped boost its popularity.


Alisports organizes of series of tournaments called WESG, which houses many small events worldwide. Most of these competitions serve as qualifiers for teams to qualify for main events.

Asia Pacific Predator League

DOTA 2 teams from Southeast Asia participate in this league. The Asia Pacific Predator League has a host of major companies such as Xbox, Intel, Microsoft, sponsoring, while Predator Gaming is the organizer.

DOTA Summit

The DOTA Summit comprised of a series of mid-level tournaments and was founded in 2014. Its organizer is the American company, “Beyond the Summit,” which is one of esports biggest companies.

ONE Esports DOTA 2 World Pro Invitational

The esports company, ONE Esports, founded in 2019, organizes the Major Tournament, ONE Esports DOTA 2 World Pro Invitational. This tournament has a sizeable prize pool of about $500,000 and attracts many teams.

This year, the coronavirus pandemic caused many DOTA 2 events, including The International, not to hold. The International has been rescheduled to take place next year. A few upcoming DOTA 2 tournaments left for the year include:

  • The OGA DOTA PIT Season 4, with a prize pool of $150,000.
  • The BTS Pro Series Season 4, with a prize pool of $35,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions people usually ask regarding DOTA 2 tournaments:

How Much Is The Total Prize Pool DOTA 2 Tournaments?

The prize pool for each DOTA 2 championship is dependent on their respective levels. Minor tournaments have lower prize pools compared to majors. However, The International remains the tournament with the biggest prize pool in DOTA 2 and esports history. In 2019, its prize pool was $34 million, a mark it is set to surpass in 2023 when the rescheduled The International 2023 takes place.

How To Join DOTA 2 Tournaments?

To join a DOTA 2 event, you must be a member of a team and visit the page of the tournament you want to join. Register your team’s details and confirm that you will participate in the tournament. Some competitions require teams to have a special invite. Hence, you have to start playing in lower-ranked tournaments and work your way up the ladder.


Fans enjoy watching DOTA 2 Tournaments while players love the thrill the game gives as they battle for top prizes. For punters, there is nothing more enjoyable than winning their wagers while enjoying the game. These events are great spectacles for everyone involved. Therefore, don’t hesitate to join in on the fun whether you are a team player, fan, bettor, or neutral. There is always something for everyone to savor!

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