League of Legends tends to get a lot of the credit for paving the way for professional esports. However, Dota 2 events have been around for just as long. Valve has gone all out of the past decade or so to promote its flagship MOBA, with the first Dota 2 tournament held back in 2011. While some events attract millions of viewers online, others are modest affairs. Below, we’ll spotlight five of the best Dota tournaments you should think of adding to your viewing schedule.
The Pinnacle Cup is usually associated with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Although this annual event doesn’t come close to matching the viewership and prize pools of other tournaments, it does have a reputation for championing less established teams. It’s particularly popular in Latin American territories and recently added a Brazilian circuit to the schedule. Another new initiative is the addition of Dota 2 events. You won’t find the usual big hitters playing here, but you may just see a star roster of tomorrow make history.
ESL is one of the most important names in professional esports. The organizer has been active in esports circles since 2000. It was also responsible for one of the first major Dota tournaments, the ESL One. That inaugural event took place at Madison Square Garden in New York, giving you an idea of the kind of clout this company has. It has continued to support professional Dota 2 events, with the ESL One being one of the most anticipated events in the annual esports calendar. Although frequent winners OG can be called on to deliver the goods in the final rounds, the ESL One remains thrilling viewing for Dota 2 fans.
European Pro League
The European Pro League was only founded in 2022, but it’s become a favorite with Dota 2 fans. This tournament caters to less established teams from Tier 3 and Tier 4, although prize money is fairly generous. Recent seasons have offered prize pools of $10,000, with D1 Hustlers taking home the top prize at the Season 8 final. What’s more, because this is an online event, it’s incredibly accessible. While you want to see the leading lights of Dota 2 do battle here, it’s packed to the rafters with exciting talent.
Dota Pro Circuit
The Dota Pro Circuit runs throughout the year. It’s organized by Valve itself and serves as the seeding process for The International. Before the first Dota Pro Circuit tournament in 2017, The International operated on an invite-only basis. Although it’s the points and standings that really matter here, the Dota Pro Circuit offers some pretty substantial prize money to participants.
Few tournaments get fans as excited as The International. As well as being the premier Dota tournament, it’s also one of the largest annual esports events on the planet. It’s been going for as long as the League of Legends World Championships, with the inaugural International taking place in Germany in 2011. Prize money has always been generous, with more than $1.6 million up for grabs at the first-ever event. Today, prize pools hover around the $40 million mark. Fans love the round-robin group stage, but it’s the double-elimination drama of the main event that really draws in the crowds. Although The International attracts plenty of top-tier teams, all bets are off when it comes to predicting a winner. Only one team, OG, has secured more than one victory in this tournament.