Valve have announced the teams getting a direct invite to its Dota 2 competition in the Philippines; the Manila Major [official site].
The Manila Major is the final Valve-sponsored uber tournament for Dota 2 before the massive annual event that is The International. It's the first year the Majors have taken place and some have worked out better than others but they've been a big deal and mark an attempt by Valve to be slightly more hands-on in terms of guiding the development of the pro scene.
So here's who's definitely off to the Philippines:
Four remaining spaces will go to qualifying teams from the Americas, China, Europe and South-East Asia. If you're interested in watching those qualifiers they're all taking place 3-6 May. If you're interested in trying to take part in the major there are also some open qualifier spots.
If you're wondering how Valve decide on the direct invites just imagine me making wafty hand movements and shrugging. But for a less facetious answer, they've always been kind of opaque when it comes to who they invite to their tournaments. It's an ongoing source of irritation for the pro scene that there isn't a transparent process to follow in order to get a direct invite rather than fight for a spot.
The broad idea is that Valve invite teams which are excelling now or which have a strong history to back them up, but the exact criteria for this - how many wins, which third-party events are weighted more strongly, which other factors are involved - are where it starts to get hand-wavy and shruggy.
Of interest (if you're me, anyway) is that they sign off their most recent post about the Manila Major by saying:
"We are always thinking about the mechanisms that create a healthy competitive environment in the long term, and are interested to hear what you think."
I wonder whether that feedback could feasibly lead to more transparency or whether the opacity is some kind of strategy for making every single event have the potential to matter?