Enlarge / The aegis of champions. (credit: Valve)

The biggest competition in all of e-sports is about to kick off in earnest: the Dota 2 International 2017 starts on Monday. Sixteen teams will compete in Seattle’s KeyArena for a prize pool of more than $23 million dollars, with the winning team alone picking up more than $10 million.
For reasons that aren’t remotely clear to me, there are still a few people out there who don’t play Valve’s free-to-play masterpiece, Dota 2. Sure, you’ll have to sink a casual couple of hundred hours into the five-on-five action real-time strategy game to really have a good grasp of it, but it’s the most richly rewarding (and occasionally frustrating) gaming experience in the world.
Dota 2 has a large professional competitive scene, with several million dollar competitions over the year, and Valve’s The International is the biggest of them all—the highlight of the Dota 2 calendar. The group stage is already underway, with the main event starting in front of the live crowd on Monday August 7th at 10AM Pacific (you can track the progress at the Flying Courier).
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