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2015 was such an amazing year for the Dota 2 competitive scene, and 2016 is looking to bring more of the same. The first international event kicked off this week, so let’s take a look at what’s happening in the first half of 2016 so you don’t miss any of the action.

SL i-League StarSeries:

The SL i-League StarSeries (which started on Wednesday this week) has 12 teams participating for a chance at a total prize pool of $300,000, and with this event happening a few months before the Shanghai Major it gives teams a chance to put their knowledge of patch 6.86 to the test. The tournament runs all weekend with the finals being held on Sunday, so you’d best let everyone know you’re busy this weekend before you’re dragged away from your screen to do unimportant things with annoying relatives.

The Shanghai Major:

Another 16 teams, another $3 million prize pool – surely a sight that will never get old. The Shanghai Major (or “Winter Major”) is the second event in Valve’s Dota Major Championships and will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in March. The teams have been decided, with the group stages still to be announced. All teams and updates will be revealed closer to the event.

Looking at some stats here, during the qualifiers for the Shanghai Major only eight heroes were unpicked out of the available pool of 109. Some were obviously more viable than others, with Gyrocopter, Tusk and Invoker being the most picked during the qualifiers. Along with all the drastic hero changes, the Shanghai Major is surely going to be fun to watch particularly for the map changes done in 6.86, which make jungle heroes viable again (Puppey’s Chen is my all-time favourite).

ESL One Manila:

Hosted in the capital of the Philippines, Southeast Asia have their opportunity to host two huge Dota tournaments just a few weeks apart, with ESL from 23-24 April followed by the third and final Major (apart from The International) three weeks later. The prize pool stands at a healthy $250,000 with a total of eight teams battling it out.

The Manila Major:

Another $3 million and another 16 teams. It kicks off in May with group stages, after which it heads into the main event starting early June. A few issues regarding both Manila events were raised by some pro players, particularly the American ones. According to ppd from Evil Geniuses, travelling to and from Manila for both events in such a short time span will be a complication for their team. I understand their concerns since the tournaments are just three weeks apart. Team managers will have to make the difficult decision whether or not to attend either event at all.

ESL One Frankfurt:

The second ESL tournament for the year is held in Frankfurt and is happening in June soon after the Manila Major – which means more travelling in such a short space of time. Let’s work out the numbers. If a team departs from Los Angeles and arrives in Manila, the flight distance according to Google Maps is 11,736 kilometres. Should they choose to stay in Manila until the end of the Major in June and depart for Frankfurt immediately, that’s another 10,269 kilometres. After they’re done in Frankfurt, they would likely return home, which is around 10,000 kilometres away. That’s a total of 30,000 kilometres in the span of one and a half months. It’s going to be interesting to see how the teams cope.

The prize pool for ESL Frankfurt is $250,000 and there will be eight teams participating.

More events are set to be announced and updated for the second half of the year, including The Summit and The International 2016. Are there any specific events coming up that you’re excited for? How do you think teams will adjust to the new patch?