Last night, ESL and Valve announced the eight teams being invited to The Frankfurt Major—the first of Valve's new series of 'mini-Internationals' spanning the year-long gap between Dota 2's world championships. The European Major will be held in Frankfurt (if that wasn't obvious) from the 16th-21st of November. This is a world championship-level event, by anyone's standards, and if you're in the area then you can attend for free. Only the Saturday, when the finals take place, will require a ticket.
The invites are, for the most part, fairly predictable. International champions EG are a given, as are CDEC, LGD, Vici Gaming, EHOME and Virtus.Pro—in that order, these teams make up the top 6 places at TI5. Team Secret's new roster gets the next spot, followed by Vega Squadron—the surprise winners of last weekend's ESL One New York 2015 tournament.
Instinctively, it feels like the plan was always to invite the TI5 top six and then settle on the last two places based on ESL One New York: given how early Vega were eliminated from the International, it'd be an amazing act of foresight to invite them prior to this most recent result. Similarly, Secret's 2nd-place finish in New York proved the potential of their new lineup, something that wasn't guaranteed before.
The remaining eight places will be determined by four regional qualifiers—Americas, Southeast Asia, China, and Europe. There are open spots in each of these qualifiers, with anybody able to enter a massive bracket this week to compete for a space. The odds of a Cool Runnings-type result where a group of unknowns enters the open qualifier and goes on to sweep the entire thing are incredibly low, but if you're entering your team—good luck!
The prize pool is $3m and not, as the image above might suggest, some kind of giant golden bust of a peacock. That peacock is, in fact, supposed to be an eagle, and the thing that it's attached to is an item from Dota 2 called an Eaglesong. You may think that it looks like the top of a recurve bow, but it is, in fact, a horn—a horn that grants bonus agility, for some reason. This is confusing because, in DotA 1, Eaglesong was called Eaglehorn—a reference to, of all things, a bow from the Diablo series. That's right! The bow named after a horn became a horn that looks like a bow, and nobody in this process figured out what an eagle's neck looks like.
This is arguably the least confusing thing about Dota.