Won by Evil Geniuses, The International 2015 broke records with a mind-blowing prize pool of $18,429,613. If you thought that there’s no way to go further, the organizers of the event, Valve, are laughing at you right now. $19,528,384. That’s the prize pool for The International 2016. Yeah, I know. Absolutely, ridiculously, fabulously bonkers.
The format for the tournament remains the same as it was in 2015. Six teams, OG, Team Liquid, Newbee, LGD Gaming, MVP Phoenix, and Natus Vincere, were invited to compete, the rest had to battle through Regional Qualifiers and a Wild Card Tournament. Evil Geniuses and Digital Chaos from the Americas, Wings Gaming and Vici Gaming Reborn from China, Team Secret and Alliance from Europe, and finally, TnC Gaming with Fnatic from Southeast Asia qualified through Regional Qualifiers. Rounding up the sixteen team line-up through the Wild Card event, the Chinese team EHOME and European Escape Gaming also found their way to the tournament.
The Group Stage is starting today, finishing on August 5th. The whole sixteen team lineup was divided into 2 groups of 8. Over the next three days, teams will play the rest of the squads in their group in best of 2s. The top four teams of each group will move to the Upper Bracket of the Main Event, while the bottom four will have to battle through the Lower Bracket.
The Main Event will start on August 8th, with the Grand Final set to take place on the 13th. The Upper Bracket will be played in best of threes until the Grand Final, which will be best of five. The first round of the Lower Bracket will be best of one, with the rest of the matches in the bracket being best of three. The format will be double elimination. If a Lower Bracket team loses in the first round, it’s out of the tournament, while the Upper Bracket teams will still have a chance to make the playoffs by paving their way through the Lower Bracket.
Obviously, making the Grand Final through the Upper Bracket will leave the players much more rested, because they will only have to play three matches in The Main Event. If a team was to make the Grand Final from the Lower Bracket, the players would have to play as many as six matches. With the stakes set at $19.5M, that will be some stifling pressure to contend with. When the tournament is over, the players will probably take a nice long vacation. On the other side of the coin, they will get to play more, their form might improve during the tournament, while the Upper Bracket teams become… too rested, if that was possible at all.