In the first year of its separation as a region, the CIS Open Qualifiers have completely filled up. All 1024 slots of the Faceit brackets have been filled for the first of two Open Qualifiers, which has begun as of the time of writing.
This is the first TI with the CIS region’s teams, meaning Russia plus the Commonwealth of Independent States (or former Soviet regions) in Eastern Europe, separated from the rest of Europe. The split in regions began with Valve’s Boston Major in December 2016 after fans and players requested it; players and fans often found the prior combined European qualifiers to be highly competitive and stacked.
The Open Qualifiers for The International 7 are a way for any team (yes, any team) to try to qualify for the largest Dota 2 tournament, and possibly esports tournament, in the world. These qualifiers feed into the Regional Qualifiers, which fill out the final slots for the main event in Seattle in August. The crowd-funded prize pool is currently above $16 million, and last year’s top team took over $9 million.
The CIS region is known as one of the, if not the, highest populations of players in Dota 2. Still, the regional popularity for the TI qualifiers is quite unprecedented.
The Faceit Twitter account confirmed the full tournament slots:
Milos “Mikey” Nedeljkovic, one of the admins for the Faceit website, also confirmed the occasion on his account.
CIS 1024/1024 teams for Open Qualifiers and 30 minutes left.— Milos @ ECS London (@Faceit_Mikey) June 22, 2017
This is the first time #dota2 region (since separation with EU) achieved this.
When asked whether this has happened, he confirmed that EU has filled in the past when it still included CIS, but “barely:”
EU (EU+CIS) did it before, but it was barely reaching 1024. Since the split, both regions have been getting more and more teams playing.— Milos @ ECS London (@Faceit_Mikey) June 22, 2017
Does this mean Dota 2 is getting more popular in this region? Or are these regions’ teams getting more enthusiastic and confident? Either way, players are still reaching for the dream of millions of dollars, the Aegis of Champions and worldwide fame.