The International 10 is coming in October. 18 teams will be competing for 40 million USD. The biggest prize in Esport history. 12 teams made it through the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) while the remaining six teams made it through the Regional Qualifiers.

The International originally began with 16 teams and 4 regions, China, America, Southeast Asia, and Europe competing back in 2011. This was expanded to 18 teams in 2017, along with the inclusion of the South American region and splitting Europe into East and West Europe. Since then there have been no changes in the number of competing teams or regions for The International.

With no changes in the last three Internationals, why should Valve consider adding more teams now?

More opportunities for teams

Dota 2, Prizepool
Credit: Sheever

It’s no secret that Dota 2 is extremely top-heavy in regards to prize distribution. The prize pool for the Majors is US$ 400-500 thousand. While the International 10’s prize pool is 40 million USD. It’s literally 100 times more.

Having more teams could lead to a better distribution of the prize money. With 1st place getting 45% and the last place only 0.25%, Valve could introduce a new format with more teams and a more balanced prize distribution.

It helps develop new regions

TI10, The International 10, Arena Nationala, Bucharest, Romania, Dota 2
Credit: Wykrhm Reddy

When South America first got their first Regional Qualifier, Infamous won it and secured their spot in The International 7. Infamous didn’t have the best tournament and exited in the 13-16th placing.

Fast forward to The International 9 and Infamous greatly improved, placing 7-8th. A much better showing for the region. And South America has only improved since. In the upcoming International 10, South America will be sending three teams to represent the region.

South America is tied with North America and Western Europe for the region with the 2nd most representatives. China has the most with five teams while Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe are only sending two teams.

South America having this much representation is a testament to the local talent as well as Valve’s investment in the region. If Valve wants Dota 2 to continue to grow, adding more teams from new regions could represent the biggest growth opportunities.

More Dota 2 is always good

Let’s face it, the main reason people want more teams in The International is because the Regional Qualifiers were incredibly exciting. Watching how different regions approach the game, their different playstyles, and hero pools was a lot of fun. So why not make it even bigger?

The International would then give viewers more of what they want, great Dota 2 games. More teams would also make The International last quite a bit longer, truly making it the Esport event of the year.

Are there any downsides?

It’s a lot more expensive

Dota 2, TI venue
Credit: SBP

We can only speculate how much money it takes to arrange such a massive tournament. It’s fair to say it’s at least a couple of million, if not a lot more.

Adding a couple of teams doesn’t just add an extra match to the tournament, it will probably add at least a couple of days per team. That’s money spent on the venue, the crew, the talents, and the equipment. Not to mention the cost of flying in additional teams, their staff, and all the accommodations.

Teams can take advantage of new Regional Qualifiers

If Valve decides to allow more teams to compete in the International by opening up new competitive regions, we might see some teams abuse that to qualify.

It’s very possible for a team to move to Australia, Africa, or the Middle East and qualify to The International through those Qualifiers. Such a tactic would slow down the growth of new regions.

The International 10 Regional Qualifier dates
Credit: Wykrhm Reddy

There are more pros and cons for having more teams at The International. While the potential downsides are substantial, I believe it is better for the long-term health of the game to have more teams. Especially for less developed regions.

Having a tournament named “The International” include teams from every continent would add to the grandeur of the biggest Esport event of the year. Dota has grown a lot from the first International and its past time more teams were given a shot at taking home the Aegis

READ MORE: Dota 2 TI10: Schedule, results, format, prize pool, and where to watch