The International 2018 was the eight iteration of Dota 2's flagship annual championship. Hosted by Valve Corporation, it took place at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, being the first to be celebrated outside of the United States. The tournament began on 14 June 2018 with the Open Qualifiers and closed on 25 August 2018 with the Grand Final, where underdog team OG defeated Chinese group PSG.LGD 3-2, becoming the first Grand Final since 2013 to feature five games.
With a prize pool of over US$25.3 million, The International 2018 is the largest tournament to ever take place in eSports, breaking the record held by its previous iteration, The International 2017, which accumulated over U$24 million. The majority of this sum is collected through several in-game items released by Valve, including the The International 2018 Battle Pass, a digital tournament pass and features bundle tied to the event that included many activities and cosmetic items. 2018 marks the fifth consecutive year that The International's prize pool outgrows its previous-year record.
The International 2018 became the first time a non-Chinese team had won the tournament in an even year, breaking the tradition of Western and Eastern teams alternating the championship which had been maintained for the previous seven years. The tournament also saw the first time a team went from the Open Qualifiers to TI champions, as OG lost their spot after being forced into a late-minute roster change. For a second consecutive year, champions Natus Vincere (2011) and Alliance (2013) failed to qualify.
In the All-Star match of 2018, two teams, Team BurNIng and Team rOtk, faced each other in a best of one, playing Mutation Mode. The teams' players were decided by Compendium owners, who were able to vote for 5 players for each team. Just like in the previous year, there was no secrecy between the teams. The playing booths were completely open, so that both teams could hear each other, the casters and the crowd.
On the previous day, both teams were gathered to draft their heroes and mutations before-hand. Unlike in regular Mutation Mode, the teams were allowed to choose three mutations, which would then only affect their team.
Super Blink Dagger: All players on the team start with a Blink Dagger that does not go on cooldown when taking damage.
Hero Glyph: When used, Glyph applies to all heroes on the team as well.
Death Explosion: When heroes on the team die, they cause a 1-second delayed, 300 radius explosion doing 150-775 pure damage (based on hero level). Looks like Pugna Blast.
Pocket Tower: All players on the team start with a consumable item that, when used on a location, creates a Tier 1 Tower there.
Team Runes: All non-bountyrunes apply to all heroes on the team. Includes usage from a Bottle.
Pocket Roshan: When Roshan is killed by the team, he also drops a consumable item that, when used, spawns a Roshan under control of that team that lasts for 60 seconds.
In addition to the chosen modifiers, the following modifications were active for both teams:
Tilting Tips: When tipping a player, the tipping player's hero deals pure damage to the tipped player's hero, based on the tip amount. If the tipped player is an ally, their hero gets healed instead.
In the Group Stage, all 18 teams are divided into two groups of nine. Within each group, teams competed in a best-of-two round robin tournament, with the top four teams (denoted in Green) advancing to the Upper Bracket of the main event, the teams ranked 5-8 (denoted in Yellow) advancing to the Lower Bracket of the former, and the team in last place (denoted in Red) being eliminated.
The Main Event is a double-elimination tournament with the top four teams from each group starting off in the Upper Bracket whilst those who received 5th to 8th place starting off in the Lower (The teams that received 9th place in each group were eliminated). Most matches in the tournament are best-of-three, with the only exceptions being the matches in the 1st round of the Lower Bracket being best-of-one and the Grand Finals being best-of-five.
If any team in the Upper Bracket were to have lost their round, they will be placed within the Lower Bracket, giving them a second chance to make it to the grand finals. If any team were to be eliminated from the Lower Bracket, they are eliminated from play.