Jorien "Sheever" van der Heijden is lively when we sit down to chat. A five-time veteran of The International, this event isn't quite the same as the previous ones. In May, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sitting on the concourse floor in Key Arena in August, several weeks into the Dota 2 tournament that annually consumes Seattle, you might think it was her first day there.
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The first thing I felt after the conclusion of The International 7, the seventh annual Dota 2 event that caps off every season of play, was whiplash. The day had gone by so fast, I had barely noticed it. As I walked in through the press entrance in the morning, I saw Team Liquid in the loading bay, laughing as a few players had a smoke and talked strategy. Eight hours later, they would hoist the Aegis over their heads, solidifying themselves as the best of the best.
The International 7 has come and gone, crowning a new victor in Team Liquid along the way. Whether you were on the ground in Seattle at the Key Arena or watching from home, there were plenty of sights and sounds to take in, as well as a few good signs.
The players on Team Liquid just won the most money for a single match in the history of esports, but at the staged champagne celebration they stumbled around like sleep deprived zombies.
The best play so far in this week's Dota 2 International tournament was a steal that was both skillful and reckless. As Malaysian player Tue "Ahfu" Soon Chuan snuck into a pack of opposing Russian players and grabbed the loot they were going for, the crowd watching at Seattle's Key Arena lost their minds.
More than $29 million in prize money is on the line this week in The International 2017, a tournament for the video game Dota 2 that can leave new spectators baffled. We're here to help, in case you want to watch one of these matches and be able to tell a core from a support, or just want to be able to enjoy what's actually an intense, exciting, but often inscrutable competitive experience.
Dota 2 commentator Henrik "AdmiralBulldog" Ahnberg was tapped to provide live commentary for The International 7, one of the world's biggest annual esports tournaments. This year, TI7's prize pool climbed to a historic $US23 million ($29 million), the largest in esports history. Unfortunately, Ahnberg won't be at the event after being turned away at the United States border.