Valve has revealed the ten teams to receive direct invites to the prestigious annual Dota 2 tournament, The International, with a current prize pool of $6.3m.
Alongside the ten professional teams heading straight to KeyArena in Seattle, WA, this August 3-8, Valve has opened the doors for any team to join the pros in a public qualifier for the first time.
The qualifiers, to be held next weekend, May 16-17, will be run in partnership with organisers FACEIT (Americas, Europe, SEA) and Perfect World (China) and can feature up to 1,024 teams per region.
Winners of the open qualifiers will join their respective regional qualifiers, to fend off the remaining pros who have been forced to compete for the remaining 6 places in The International. The winners of each of the four regionals will see themselves in the final brackets, and the runners up will be placed into wildcard matches in Seattle to determine the remaining two slots.
If lucky enough to make it that far, it is possible an amateur group of friends could see themselves facing off against the direct invitees (returning champs Newbee, Vici Gaming, Invictus Gaming and LGD gaming from China; Team Malaysia from South-East Asia; Evil Geniuses from America; and Team Secret, Cloud9, Empire and Virtus Pro from Europe).
Tournament sign-up is open now on the FACEIT website and is on a first-come-first-serve basis, so for a chance to life the Aegis of Champions yourselves (and a share of a potential $15m prize pool) register now.