Dota 2 - Valve
* Fixed Night Stalker's scepter hitting invisible units and units in FoW
* Fixed Heavenly Grace removing some debuffs it shouldn't
Dota 2 - Valve
* Reduced the TI Battle Pass Shovel cooldown from 60 to 20 seconds
Dota 2 - Valve
Over the next few weeks we'll be experimenting with toggling strict solo queue on and off, to see the impact it can have on match quality and matchmaking times. The primary reason we initially added this feature was because there was a much larger discrepancy in motivation between players competing for solo MMR and players competing for party MMR, resulting in a poor experience overall. This discrepancy is not as pronounced now as before, and each option that does a hard split of the matchmaking pools has to be considered carefully as it has a direct influence on the matchmaker's ability to find the best matches available.
Dota 2

OG's decisive 3-1 victory over Team Liquid in the final round of The International 2019 was Twitch's most-watched Dota 2 event ever, according to a site that tracks viewership stats.

GitHyp reports 1.1 million viewers tuned in to the championship finals on Twitch, which took place in Shanghai and began at 10 a.m. local time. But Shanghai is literally on the opposite side of the world from the US' Eastern Time zone, meaning that for most of Twitch's western viewers, the Sunday morning tournament in China started late Saturday night.  In the western hemisphere, the tournament stretched on into the wee hours of Sunday morning and beyond.

That didn't seem to impact the viewership numbers, though. According to Esports Charts (which adds in viewers from other streaming platforms) the overall peak viewership for the tournament passed 1.9 million during the final round between OG and Team Liquid, and that's without factoring in Chinese streaming platforms. 

According to GitHyp's figures, this year's International saw a 51 percent increase over last year's TI8, which was held in Vancouver and saw a 100,000 decrease in viewership over the previous year's finals in Seattle.

That translates to more than a quarter million more viewers tuning in to this year's finals to see OG hoist the Aegis of Champions for the second time in a row.

Dota 2

Valve has revealed the next two heroes coming to Dota 2: Snapfire, a grandma goblin who rides a lizard, flings cookies and fires a giant shotgun, and Void Spirit, the fourth spirit brother.

Both were unveiled at The International 2019, where OG Dota claimed the biggest esports prize ever by winning the competition for the second year in a row. Snapfire and Void Spirit will arrive in Dota 2 at some point in the fall/autumn, and Void Spirit is also coming to autobattler Dota Underlords.

Snapfire is by far the more intriguing: we don't know her exact abilities but in the trailer below you can see her baking cookies and then chucking them to allies, presumably for healing or a buff. She rides a fire-breathing lizard on a saddle with a mounted machine gun, and carries a weighty shotgun to boot. Check her out in the trailer below.

Void Spirit is a gruff spirit brother, and his trailer gives away less about how he might play. He carries a mean-looking double-sided energy sword and uses a teleporter in the video, below.

Both will arrive in Dota 2 as part of the The Outlanders update, which doesn't yet have an exact release date.

Dota 2

Reigning Dota 2 champions OG have just won the ninth International (TI9), taking the trophy - sorry, Aegis of Champions - home to Europe from Shanghai, China alongside a cool 15m in prize money. They also set a new record, becoming the first team - and first individual players - to win the championship twice.

Earlier in the day, after technical issues made for a delayed start, PSG-LGD, part-owned by oil-rich football club Paris Saint-Germain, saw themselves knocked out in the semi-finals by runners up Team Liquid. Had they gone through, PSG-LGD would have faced OG in a rematch of last year's final. The Chinese team's status as the last remaining "home" side in Shanghai meant their earlier best-of-three match played out in front of a raucous, packed-out Mercedes Benz Arena, and despite their team being knocked out in the morning that atmosphere continued throughout.

Both finalists were previous winners of the tournament, guaranteeing us a record-breaking two-time winner. Team Liquid won the tournament two years ago at TI7 in 2017, earning $10.9m, while OG came out on top last year for TI8, earning $11.2m along the way - that was despite OG's status as huge outsiders, when they lost half of their team to a rival side, EG, a few weeks before the tournament. OG's two wins in a row means the players have amassed nearly $27m (approximately 22m) between them in the last 13 months.

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Dota 2

In a first of Dota 2 history, OG Dota have become the back-to-back champions of The International—and, once again, bring home the largest prize in competitive video gaming. 

An intense best-of-five finals saw the European team persuasively take the series three-to-one for the championship over Euro rivals Team Liquid. Both teams already set the stage for a historic match of Dota 2, as it was the first grand finals of The International to feature solely TI finalists, and nine out of ten players had already won a TI in the past. They met an enthusiastic crowd in Shanghai, China, where TI had been held for the first time off the North American Continent.  

Upon victory, OG earned a record-breaking $15,603,133 USD, now the largest first-place prize earned in an esports organization. It’s about 45.5% of a whopping $34,292,599 prize pool, a purse crowd-funded by Dota 2 fans and that breaks its own event’s record of the largest in esports. Team Liquid takes home their own pretty coin, too, winning $4,458,038 as the second-place squad. All nine contenders for a repeat Aegis are now the highest-earning players in esports history, with the OG players topping the list. 

Perhaps most importantly to the players of OG, they’ll have their names inscribed on the Aegis of Champions for the second time, a first for any team in Dota 2 history. As Dota itself dates back over 15 years and maintains a reputation as a deep and complex game, The International is likely one of the, if not the, most coveted titles in esports. It’s especially so for Dota 2 players, as the game requires thousands of hours to come close to mastery — and many have been playing for nearly or over a decade, including some of OG’s players.

With both veterans and young legends, OG Dota is a recent team with an intriguing story and penchant for strong, entertaining performances. The organization was created in 2015 as a more formal version of the squad Monkey Business, and the team took plenty of massive tournaments, but never a TI. When their performance faltered in early 2018, three of their players were suddenly poached for a number of other teams, and they were only left with founding members Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein. 

As TI is an open event, OG managed to pull together a squad for last year’s TI8 with a mix of veterans and relative newcomers to qualify. They brought back the young Anathan “ana” Pham, a former OG player, and brought on Sébastien "Ceb" Debs, who had been substituting as a temporary player throughout the season. Meanwhile, mid-laner Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen, at that point only a semi-pro, had won less than $17,000 total over his career.  

At TI8, OG managed to create what the community and professional scenes agree to be a Cinderella story. Fans didn’t know what to expect, but OG blew even the most optimistic expectations by breezing through the upper bracket of the event in incredible fashion and taking the Aegis. Their performance in the year since has been less persuasive, but through the Dota Pro Circuit, they earned enough points to make their return to this year’s championship event. 

A less-than-stellar season was made up for by a dominating performance at this TI. They earned the top seed through the group stages and won their way through the upper bracket to the grand finals. Throughout the event, OG was praised for their innovative drafting and considered an easy favorite pick for such. 

Their grand finalist rivals also have quite a history behind them. Comprised of Dota veterans and backed by a famous and wealthy organization, Team Liquid is comprised of four out of their five players that won under the Liquid banner at The International in 2017. At that event, they dropped their first series in the upper bracket and had to make a similar run through the lower bracket to reach the championship title. In a first for TI, they’d won the best-of-five finals without dropping a game. 

At this year’s event, Liquid were also considered favorites to win, as they’d performed fairly well during this year’s circuit. They didn’t have a stellar group stage performance during the championship event, but they kept fans’ hopes up by running through the lower bracket with only one game dropped in the lower bracket finals, the same day as grand finals. 

Both teams’ skill shone in the grand finals of the event as Team Liquid did their best to keep up with OG’s dominant gameplay. During the grand finals, OG picked 14 unique heroes out of a possible 20 picks, and Liquid picked 16. Team Liquid drafted Meepo in their first game, which was an unusually popular pick (and ban) during the event as it’s considered highly difficult to execute. However, in Liquid’s hands, the hero quickly helped wrap up the game from the brink of defeat. 

From there, OG became a much more difficult obstacle to overcome. Liquid struggled to keep up in the middle two games, but the final game of the event was far more tense and close between the two teams. Most notably, OG saw ana playing Io in a non-traditional role for the character, playing the more passive “support” hero instead as a hard-hitting “carry,” which was one of OG’s most popular and innovative strategies during the event. OG eventually saw an opportunity to take the lead and came out on top to take the series and the championship.

The International is over for the year, and both teams at the event and fans watching at home get a few weeks’ respite before the Dota Pro Circuit boots back up for the year—and teams start their year-long quest for the Aegis of Champions once again. 

Exact details on the 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit are yet to come. 

Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jay Castello)

Dota 2 s mega esports event The International has wrapped up, with OG lifting the aegis for the second year running. The team will take home a cool $15 million ( 12.2m), as well as the honour of being the first team to win the event twice, let alone twice in a row.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jay Castello)

Another new Dota 2 hero has been announced at The International, hot off the heels of Snapfire, the elderly lizard-riding goblin announced earlier this week. They should have lead with this one. Snapfire is not an easy act to follow. Still, Void Spirit will also be joining the MOBA this autumn, though he seems somewhat reluctant to do so in his introductory video, which you can see below.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The next hero coming to Dota 2 is Snapfire, an elderly goblin who bakes cookies, carries a shotgun, and rides a giant lava-spewing lizard. She seems a lark, as long as you stay on her good side. Valve announced Snapfire today during their huge Dota tournament, The International, to arrive in a future update for the free-to-play MOBA. It’s a mystery for now how she plays and what her abilities are, but come watch her introduction video and you might have a few guesses.

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