[click_to_tweet tweet=”It’s only a month left before The International, but the time in between then and now seems excruciatingly long. BeyondTheSummit spends this time by forcing bots against each other in a ‘meme’ tournament, to find out who is the strongest teamfighter of all.” quote=”It’s only a month left before The International, but the time in between then and now seems excruciatingly long. BeyondTheSummit spends this time by forcing bots against each other in a ‘meme’ tournament, to find out who is the strongest teamfighter of all.”]

A lot of us are having a hard time waiting for The International to come. The time in between the qualifiers and the main event is more than one long month. It’s typical for the qualifiers and the main event to have a large gap in between them. But this year’s late start for TI makes it feel like the wait is longer.

With no official Valve matches in hand, media and content creators are only able to cover games and tournaments by local and regional organizers. These include the recently concluded MPGL Asian Championships, the ANGGAME China vs SEA tournament, and the TNC Cup 2018. Without any content to make, creators BeyondTheSummit asked the question, “What is the easiest way to fill the time between the last DPC event and TI without involving any pro players and having a $0 prize pool?”

Their answer, to put simply, is to have bots battle it out against each other.

More specifically, the tournament BTS came up with was a 128-seed tournament bracket, involving all the heroes of Dota 2. (Some heroes had a free win on the first round, since the bracket cannot be filled up completely.) 16 heroes battled it out in the double-elimination playoff main event, with only one hero emerging as winner. The seeds were determined based on their winrate, according to Dotabuff.

Bot TI Banner, the international
The Bot TI Banner, with a Liquipedia rank of Show Match.
Special format for special players

Watching bots fight in a regular Dota 2 match would have been boring, and BeyondTheSummit knew this. Instead, they used a custom map that pitted two teams of five identical heroes off the bat. All matches were done in a single teamfight, with three different teamfights determining the outcome of the series. On the first teamfight, the heroes fight at level 5, equipped with only one ironwood branch. On the second teamfight, they fight at level 15, with a gold budget of 10,000. For the last teamfight, they go at full force at level 25 and with 20,000 gold.

The bots followed the most popular builds of the heroes, according to Dotabuff. Custom logic was applied for skills such as Sacrifice and Arcane Aura, which are useless for these teamfights, such that the bots will not pick them up. Black King Bar is banned, and any skills or talents that makes use of reincarnations were not allowed.

High quality memeposting

Despite its nature as a meme tournament, BeyondTheSummit didn’t hold any brakes in production value. They treated it with all the fluff that a normal tournament would have. This added to the humor of the event, highlighting the ridiculousness of the idea. They had a player profile for Enigma, who ‘saw’ Bot TI as his path to redemption. Mock press conferences by a fake commissioner, played by David “Blaze” Dillon. The commissioner would make announcements on bans, rule changes, and sometimes on absolutely nothing. The over-the-top acting and pre-recorded sounds of an ‘audience’ gasping at every announcement he makes adds to the hilarity of the videos.

Side-by-side by actual commentary and analyst desks, post-match interviews with the ‘players’, and an actual fantasy game for the whole tournament, puts Bot TI on par with other tournaments in terms of content and entertainment.

Bot AI Analyst's Deck
The Bot TI had some of the leading figures in Dota 2 to commentate and analyze their matches.
Elder Titan: Strong as a world new-formed.

Most of the coverage BeyondTheSummit made of the Bot TI lasted for about three hours per VOD, with the Main Event lasting almost four hours. Elder Titan eventually came up top, bouncing back after being defeated by Abaddon in the winner’s bracket finals, exacting their revenge in the grand finals.

Easy, but not open

As entertaining the matches have been, cracks in strategy and tactics appeared from these heroes. This is due to the fact that the bots used for the tournament are just easy bots. This tournament opens up the question: “Would bots of higher difficulty make up a different result?” Last year’s International unveiled the OpenAI Bot, a learning bot that is capable of taking on professional players. The OpenAI Bot right now is only available for a handful of heroes. The bot takes a lot of time to learn how to optimize the game. If BeyondTheSummit continues on with this trend, it would be interesting to see the OpenAI duke it out.

This tournament also opens up a lot of discussion on hero mechanics. The tournament answered many what-ifs, but it also makes more questions. The bracketing itself affected the outcome greatly, as some heroes are better fit to fight against particular heroes.

Creative community content

BeyondTheSummit made a great job in the presentation of the tournament, exercising their prowess in content creation. Content such as this makes for a fresher scene which keeps things exciting. It makes up for a healthier community. Content like this shows the diversity and flexibility of the medium.

Community-created content has always been integral in Dota 2’s scene. In the grassroots level, the Dota Workshop exists to cater to those who want to create and share their own custom skins. Using the same engine, filmmakers also get a chance to showcase their short films in the annual short film contest.


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