New Format for The International 4 Announced
The biggest tournament in the history of eSports is getting a new format to reflect the bigger scale of the event. To win the first place prize that is closing in on $5 million dollars for the winner, the winning team will have to go through each of the 15 other teams en route to the championship.
Last year, the field was split into two groups in which each team played the other seven teams in their groups in a two-game set. The top-four teams in each group then went on to the upper bracket playoffs and the remaining teams entering the lower bracket in a double elimination playoff for The International 3 title.
This year, there is no separation of the groups. Once the 16th team qualifies in the regional qualifier runner-up showdown, teams will be grouped into one 16-team group and will play each other once. Once all the group stage (officially called Phase Two) games are played. The top two teams qualify straight to the winner’s bracket semi-finals. The next eight teams go to Phase Three qualifications for the playoffs. The bottom six teams go home early.
The Phase Three bracket is as follows:
Only eight teams get through to the Main Event (playoffs) so the teams that lose the 7/10 and 8/9 Best of Three series are eliminated from the tournament straight away. From there, the remaining teams advance to the Main Event. The team that wins each bracket goes to the Winner’s Bracket Semi-Finals against one of the top two teams. The teams that lose the second and third matches go to the Loser’s Bracket.
The Main Event bracket looks something like this:
It’s a double-elimination bracket but the four teams who start in the Loser’s Bracket are deemed to start with one loss. So the bottom four teams could be one and done. The teams starting in the winner’s bracket must lose two series to be eliminated.
As you can see from the bracket above, the teams in the winner’s bracket have an easy go of it. Win two series and go to the final for millions of dollars. However, losing out of the winner’s bracket at the Semi-Finals gives you the longest road to the Finals and nearly $5 million.
As of writing, the prize pool for The International 4 is about $9.65 million. The initial prize pool set by Valve was $1.6 million but has since been increased with 25% of the revenue from purchases of The International 4 Compendium. If the prize pool reaches $10 million and the split remains 50% to the winners, that means someone will actually be an eSports millionaire overnight as the winning team would win $5 million.