Posted July 31, 2014 by Chloe Cabrera in Gaming

THE INTERNATIONAL 2014: A Milestone In Competitive Gaming

TI4 NewBee

One week later and many are still left in awe at the amazing spectacle that was The International 2014 (TI4), which marked some astonishing achievements in e-Sports history and brought the worldwide competitive gaming industry to a whole new level.

TI4 proved to be quite the bumpy ride for both players and fans, becoming a flurry of intense matches and largely unexpected twists that made Valve’s historical Dota 2 tournament experience all the more gripping.

In the end, it was China’s representative team NewBee that bested all other TI4 contenders – including past champions Na’Vi (2011), Invictus Gaming (2012), and Alliance (2013) – to take home the Aegis of Champions and a $5,028,308 prize.

The all-Chinese team of Zhang “xiao8” Ning, Zhang “Mu” Pan, Chen “Hao” Zhihao, Wang “Banana” Jiao, and Wang “SanSheng” Zhaohui secured the championship win after taking three straight games from their opponent Vici Gaming, ending the finals with a win-loss record of 3-1.

While rewarding its champions with roughly $1 million each was already an amazing feat on its own, the whole tournament managed to spur excitement within the gaming community countless more times with huge triumphs and upsets from its competitors.

What the 2015 tournament will have in store for these competing teams is now a question on every fan’s mind, and, as the world anxiously awaits TI5, we take a look back at this year’s multi-million dollar tournament that marked the biggest event in e-Sports history to date.

Setting the world standard

TI4 prize pool

The International is no stranger to record-breaking moves, with its first-ever tournament in 2011 making headlines across the e-Sports industry by announcing a $1 million prize pool. Sporting what was then the largest prize pool in any e-Sports tournament, The International 2011 quickly catapulted Dota 2 and e-Sports into the world spotlight.

Only three years after its creation, Valve surprised everyone once more by announcing a staggering near-$11 million prize pool for The International 2014 – nearly over three times as big as last year’s roughly $2.8 million prize pool.

It became so popular that the main event – held at the Seattle KeyArena last July 18-21– was broadcast by major sports network ESPN, causing fans worldwide to celebrate a significant triumph in the fight to recognize competitive gaming globally as an official sport.

Crowning of a new champion

TI4 NewBee 2

Amidst all the hype surrounding the tournament, fans grew ever more anxious to see which team would take home the largest championship prize in e-Sports to date. While most were rooting for fan favorites such as the past three TI champions, it was the all-Chinese team NewBee that managed to climb to the top of the tournament ladder.

NewBee’s road to the finals wasn’t an easy one, having faced near-elimination during the pre-main event playoffs. The team landed itself at the bottom of Bracket B in Phase Three of the playoffs, where they had to face Titan in a best-of-three elimination match. NewBee managed to eliminate Titan and blaze through the rest of their bracket, landing a spot in the main event’s winners group while pushing Na’Vi and Invictus Gaming into the losers group.

TI4 Main Event Bracketsimage from Liquipedia

Their winning streak lasted all the way up until the eight-team main event, where they defeated both Vici Gaming and Evil Geniuses to secure the first grand finals slot. Doing so proved to be quite advantageous to the team, giving them a few days of while the remaining seven teams fought through four grueling rounds in the losers group for a shot at the second grand finals slot.

NewBee faced fellow Chinese team Vici Gaming once more in the grand finals, taking one loss before crippling Vici Gaming’s pushing capabilities in game 2. The team went on to win the next two matches, overwhelming Vici Gaming with well-executed early rotations in game 4 to seal their TI4 victory.

Legends fall as China dominates

TI4 Main Event Teams

Spectators were treated to quite a handful of unexpected losses all throughout the TI4 playoffs and main event – the first massive upset being when 2013 champion team Alliance was booted out of the tournament early on in the 16-team playoff stage, placing 12th with a disappointing 6-9 record.

Even more surprising for fans was the fact that neither of the remaining previous champions (Invictus Gaming and Na’Vi) managed to make it past Round 1 of the losers bracket in the main event. Eternal fan favorite team Na’Vi was eliminated by Cloud 9 2-1, marking the first-ever The International tournament where they would not be competing in the grand finals and finishing in at least second place.

Along with the shocking fall of these TI legends came the impressive performance of China’s five representative Dota 2 teams, who all managed to qualify for the main event – leaving only three spots for international teams. China has long been well-known for being one of the best-performing nations in the history of Dota, producing legendary teams  such as EHOME, Invictus Gaming, Team DK, Nirvana, and LGD.

With a very powerful level of play compared to the rest of the world and a notion that Dota is not just a game but a real sport, it’s no surprise that this year’s Chinese representatives – NewBee, Vici Gaming, DK Gaming, LGD Gaming, and Invictus Gaming – all delivered and brought some amazing games to the tournament.

Opening new doors for e-Sports


While some fans may be riddled with disappointment after witnessing a not-so-close-fight final and the fall of some favored Dota 2 legends, the story of this year’s champions rising from near elimination is truly one for the history books. That, along with China’s exemplary performance, the setting of a record-high nearly-$11 million prize pool, and ESPN’s choice to broadcast the tournament are all noteworthy moments in e-Sports history.

According to The Daily Dot, ESPN was so delighted with the high viewership for their TI4 broadcast that they are reportedly looking into broadcasting more e-Sports events and venture more into the up-and-coming industry. “ESPN have seen enough recent successes with esports and are about to double down.The numbers they hit with The International have only cemented the view that the time is right,” explains a source close to the matter.

The overwhelming response to The International 2014 has proved yet again that e-Sports is growing, and that the industry is here to stay. The tournament has turned many heads thanks to its exciting matches, enormous prize pool, and very passionate fan base – all of which have left fans hungry for more of The International’s amazing action.

With a track record of pushing the boundaries for e-Sports like The International’s, it’s pretty clear that fans of gaming and e-Sports alike can expect no less from this roller coaster ride of a Dota 2 tournament.

So, will you be tuning into next year’s Dota 2 action at TI5? Did you enjoy the spectacle at this year’s TI4? Let us know!

Chloe Cabrera

Chloe is an ally of the Swarm and the Horde, loves video games, and is determined to help eSports grow infinitely stronger both locally and internationally. If she's not lounging about Orgrimmar, she'll be sipping tea or coffee at a cafe like any other college student - no plate armor, just dresses.