Professional players have said for years that in Dota 2 all that matters is The International. Majors are a nice addition to a year of competitive play, but the $2.2 million OG’s roster made from winning two Majors — the first ever team to win multiple Valve events — was nothing compared to the $9,139,002 Wings Gaming made last August, not to mention the prestige that comes with winning the biggest esports event of the year. Once the International is over, all the teams that lost tend to break up and try to find a winning combination; however, this is just one shuffle of many more.
Ken “Hot_Bid” Chen once wrote that “The life of a Dota 2 fan is like adopting a puppy that you know will die in six months.” I feel that more than ever after The International, watching all these rosters form knowing that after January very few of those teams will look the same. Why do we care? Very few tournaments won at this point in the year will be considered when Valve sends out invitations for The International 2017 anyway. For top tier players this is just a warm-up period, where they find out which players they feel comfortable with and who they want to drop before they begin their road to The International. Some players, like Zhang “xiao8” Ning, prefer to take breaks after The International concludes and then come back fresh with a new roster the next year. If their earnings from other areas or winnings from earlier in the year are sufficient, and their level of skill is high enough to ensure them a spot on a top team whenever they want it, why not?
Valve’s Majors are a decent enough way to get players and fans invested in teams that will probably not have the same players by the time The International rolls around, but the massive prize pool and prestige of The International make it so that players would rather approach the first half of the season as a test run.