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Dota 2: How to spectate The International 3

4 min read

Wednesday, 7 August marks the beginning of The International 3 (TI3) in Seattle, Washington, USA.  They are already well into the prelims, and some of you have been watching closely – especially if you already have a fantasy team picked out.  For those who don’t have the first clue about Dota 2, here’s a crash course so that you can follow along.


  • MOBA: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
  • Lanes: The paths that run along the bottom, top and middle of the map
  • Creep: AI monsters or minions that spawn regularly and move down the three lanes
  • Farming: Killing creeps to gain gold or EXP
  • Carry: A type of hero that can overpower the enemy in the late game, yet require large amounts of gold and EXP to reach that point
  • Support: A type of hero whose primary function is to help their team with heals, buffs, and debuffing of the enemy heroes
  • Laning: Heroes stay in their lanes, killing creeps and occasionally other heroes while pushing towards the towers – sometimes equated with farming
  • Jungling: Killing of creeps in-between lanes. Can also refer to when heroes move between lanes to help with a gank
  • Gank: Shortened from Gang Kill, ganking is a strategy where a group of heroes kill one player by surprise
  • Feeder: A player who “feeds” the enemy gold and EXP by frequently getting killed


Spectating Dota 2 is a lot easier than playing it.  It’s not necessary to fully understand build orders or hero differences to still follow along and enjoy.  The goal of the game is for the five players to get across the map and destroy the enemy’s Ancient.  The route to the Ancient is guarded by turret-like Towers, creeps and enemy heroes.
Most of the early to mid game is spent with heroes laning, levelling up and acquiring items to improve attack speed or defence.  During this phase, most teams follow what is called the “metagame”.  Metagame can differ between pros and casual players, with various teams or clans preferring different “meta”.  Most games have two players in the bottom lane, two in the top lane and a single player in the middle lane.  However, this can be swapped for one top, two bot, a jungler and a mid.  Some teams even opt for three bottom, one top and one middle.  This will affect how the heroes farm, push for towers, and even manage to gank the other heroes.
During this early to mid game “meta” phase, the primary goal is levelling up heroes and taking out enemy towers.  Heroes are levelled up in two ways: traditional levelling through EXP, as well as by attaining key items.  The towers serve as an excellent overview on which team is dominating on the map – the team that has destroyed more towers is generally “winning”.  However, it’s important to remember that MOBAs are dynamic and surprising – the tide can turn in an instant!
Particularly in the end game, we can see massive brawls among the heroes – ganks, ganks that go wrong, and tons of hero death.  This can be a climatic time that will make or break a team’s chances.

The International 3

The top 16 Dota 2 teams in the world compete for the Championship Title.  Five days of double-elimination bracket matches will culminate in the best-of-five Grand Finals on Sunday 11 August 2013.  All matches can be viewed through the Dota 2 client, or online at Dota2.com.  For more information on viewing the event, go here.
The prelims and solo matches are already underway; prelims are used to determine seeds (pools) for the main event.  The All-Star Match will take place at the end of the day on Wednesday 7 August 2013, while the Solo Championship Grand Finals will be fought at the end of the day on Thursday 8 August 2013.
The week of Dota 2 matches are not just for pride, although I’m sure that is a big part of it.  No, it isn’t just about which team is number one – there’s also a lot of money at stake.  The top prize is currently $1 406 981.  Most of that was funded through purchases of the Interactive Compendium.
The compendium is a must for any Dota 2 fan.  Compendium owners were able to vote on which players should participate in the Solo Championships and All-Star games, as well as received a variety of in-game bonuses.  Additionally, they were able to build fantasy teams, earning compendium owners points and items depending on their fantasy performance.

Now go watch!

I’m sure Dota 2 enthusiasts will all come and shout at me for missing out ALL the finer details of the game.  However, the best way to learn is to watch the pros.  So, boot up your Dota 2 client or head over to twitch.tv and watch a few matches.  You’ll pick it up and soon be shouting at the screen, or gasping at surprise choices.  Or, like the rest of the Lazygamer staff, you’ll use it as an awesome excuse to make up a new drinking game… with chillies.

Last Updated: August 5, 2013


  1. Admiral Chief Minion 47

    August 5, 2013 at 11:23

    “rebuffing the enemy heroes”
    Or do you mean de-buffing?


    • The Green Min-tern

      August 5, 2013 at 11:27

      It’s a support class. It just doesn’t specify which team he/she is supporting 🙂


  2. Slade Boender

    August 5, 2013 at 11:25

    There was some really rad games going down, most of all, Fnatic against Na’Vi. Man, was an epic weekend, so naturally super amped for this week 😀


    • Admiral Chief Minion 47

      August 5, 2013 at 11:35

      So THAT is why I saw you nailed to the Dota 2 screen.



      • Slade Boender

        August 5, 2013 at 11:53

        Haha yeah pretty much, played some games too, didnt do too bad. Eventually kicked off tomb raider and witcher 2 too, plenty gaming ahead of me for the long weekend 🙂


        • Admiral Chief Minion 47

          August 5, 2013 at 12:16

          How good is that Tomb Raider eh? Very enjoyable. Must still get into W2


          • Slade Boender

            August 5, 2013 at 12:53

            Im just taken back its so ludicrously real. You get drawn into that game on a completely different level. Probably because the lead char seems to be quite naive/green, you can imagine you doing the same things caught in the same situation +-

          • Admiral Chief Minion 47

            August 5, 2013 at 13:00

            I know, I feel the same. Really, really good

    • TiMsTeR1033

      August 5, 2013 at 11:37

      sup man, was looking into Dota 2 more recently just a pitty games like 9 gbs. and sadly I dont have uncapped. 🙁 Seems I may have to go buy in store. Seems Dota 2 has alot more to it than I thought and checking out some of those heroes whoa they look insane


      • Slade Boender

        August 5, 2013 at 11:55

        Jeesh, it should really not be that big to DL though, should be about 5gb or so, still thats a mission to DL if you dont have uncapped. I highly doubt theres gonna be retail versions, maybe the best option is to hit up a mates house and DL there, also anyone you know who has Dota 2 can just shove the game files onto a USB drive using steams backup games utility, that should be a lot quicker


  3. SolitudeSA

    August 5, 2013 at 11:33

    Nice! I’ve needed an article like this for a while now. 🙂


  4. I am John's smirking revenge

    August 5, 2013 at 11:44


    Oh yes. And I hate Mondays.


    • TiMsTeR1033

      August 5, 2013 at 12:56

      wanna get high?


  5. hairyknees

    August 5, 2013 at 13:45


    Everybody go watch, especially you EK, you Dota 2 deserter ^_^


  6. Mark Hewitt

    August 7, 2013 at 18:52

    Not a bad article, just one adjustment I’d suggest – the metagame isn’t a phase of the match, it’s really about what goes on *outside* the match (hence “meta”). It’s the ongoing chess game of which heroes are picked and banned, which game strategies and counter-strategies are chosen.

    For example, Spirit Breaker is currently creeping into the professional metagame for the first time because his abilities were buffed, making him more viable, so he’s getting picked now and then.

    How you lane your heroes is affected by the meta, but that phase of the game is generally just known as the laning phase.


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