After weeks of community anticipation, The International 7’s Arcana vote turned out in favor of Pudge—with a margin of only 8,711 votes.
To compare, such a number could be a solid underestimate of how many attendees officially attend The International at Key Arena. The stadium holds over 14,000; at least a thousand are blocked off, and there are likely extra seats left open for any number of reasons.
The vote determined what hero would receive an “Arcana” item. Such an item is not only more visually intensive than most cosmetics, but also typically comes with unique in-game traits such as ability icons, animation changes for ability, and, sometimes, modified voice lines.
According to the announcement during TI7, there were 57,585,833 votes cast in total. Battle Pass owners were allowed to vote up until August 3rd; owners with more levels received more votes.
At two points, the official Dota 2 twitter, which primarily activates during important patches and The International, shared how close the Arcana vote was. Once was late August, when it described the vote by percentage:
The Arcana vote leader currently has 50.002% of the votes— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) July 31, 2017
Hours before the vote closed, again hinting at the final outcome, they shared that the margin was thousands of votes:
Arcana vote ends in one hour, the previous vote leader has now fallen slightly behind by only a few thousand votes— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) August 3, 2017
Last year also caused outrage, when Juggernaut won the vote over Io by about five percent. However, due to public outrage on social media (as Io was considered a “meme pick” due to its formless state), they created Arcanas for each. Juggernaut’s was sold as a normal Arcana item, while Io’s has been included in the Battle Pass as a high-level reward.