The International has made headlines each year for having the biggest prize pool in the entire esports industry. The most serious of Dota fans, however, also look forward to the grand reveal of the Secret Shop, featuring exclusive merchandise for TI9.
For those unable to attend The International 2019 event in Shanghai - ticket touting has been a serious issue for this year’s final - Valve offer a web store with TI9 merchandise for sale. As fans await the TI9 schedule, they are also looking forward to seeing what's in store at The International Secret Shop, which offers a whole range of Dota goodies, from peripherals to clothing.
If 2018 is anything to go by, fans are in for a real treat at The International 2019 Secret Shop. While peripherals sales are still strong, with mousepads being one of the most popular items, Valve offers a wide range of lifestyle goods, too, including shirts, hoodies, hats, bags and mugs. The star of the Secret Shop in recent years has the been the Dotakins series of miniature heros, with blind boxes offering a lucky draw for which you'll get.
While Nendoroid Techies is being released during the Shanghai event, it isn’t actually part of the official TI9 Secret Shop collection. Many fans are hoping techies makes no appearance at all this year.
The 2019 Secret Shop
So far only two items have been put into the 2019 secret shop - a mousepad and T-shirt featuring the Dota heroes Zeus, Nature’s Prophet, Rubick, Magnus and Ember Spirit. For those that do not recognise this iconic team, it is the deciding game draft by OG in their final vs LGD at last year’s TI8.
These five heroes have a clay-like feel to them, perhaps sculpted to stand there and protect the Aegis trophy won in fairy-tale fashion by OG last year. The incredible underdog story from Vancouver last August has lodged itself in the consciousness of the Dota community.
2019 is China’s Year
Dota’s annual extravaganza has had a history of being a battle between East and West, with the greatest prize in this esport travelling back and forth between China and the Western world.
Last year OG broken the pattern by winning in a Chinese year. While Team Secret remain favourites, many analysts are looking towards Vici Gaming and PSG.LGD to lead the charge for China in the first ever TI on Chinese soil.
Can't get to Shanghai? Don't worry, you can find all TI9 live streams on our Dota 2 matches page.