The International 2023 Cosplay Competition Rules and Guidelines

A. General

1. SteelSeries is the sponsor of the Cosplay Competition at The International (the “Contest”) which will be held at The International 2023 (“The International”) event in Seattle, Washington between 27 and 29 October 2023. Contestants must attend The International in order to be eligible to win. The contestants will be judged based on their DOTA 2 costume and presentation and SteelSeries will award a maximum prize pool of US$20,000 to the winning contestants. The Contest will occur in two phases. 10 “Winners” will be chosen based on the judge’s selection criteria at a Judging Event. Six of the Ten winners will be nominated as “runners-up” and Four “Skill Winners” will be chosen from the list of 10 which will then be announced during the Winner Presentation Event. Contestants without The International entrance tickets will be granted admission for the two Contest events.

Organizers reserve the right to change the competition requirements, format, schedule and prize pool distribution according to needs and circumstances. Competition participants will be notified via email whenever these changes are put in effect.

B. Sponsor

SteelSeries / SteelSeries ApS, Havneholmen 8, 1st floor, DK-2450 Copenhagen SV, Denmark and its contractors will manage the Contest.

PGL Esports Corporation, a Bucharest corporation, is the sponsor of the Contest. PGL Esports is located at Bd. Dimitrie Pompei, nr. 9-9A, IRIDE Business Park, Bucharest, Romania. PGL Esports.

C. Competition Location

1. The Competition will occur in Seattle Washington as part of The International Main Event taking place between 26 to 29 October 2023.

2. The Judging Event will take place on 26 October, with the possibility of extending to 28 and 29 October depending on the number of contestants.

3. The ten Winners must attend the Winner Presentation Rehearsal on 28 October.

4. The Winner Presentation event will take place on 29 October.

D. Eligibility

Contestants must:

a. Be 18 years or older as of 1 September 2023

b. Have a registered Steam account with Tax Information forms completed

c. Be in attendance at The International in Seattle Washington for the Judging Event on 26/27/28/29October. Finalist must also attend the Winner Presentation Event on 28/29 October.

d. Complete the online submission form which includes contact details, a jpg reference picture of the intended character to be cosplayed, work in progress materials. Incomplete or illegible documentation or distorted pictures will not be accepted as a valid submission.

e. Consent to the use of their likeness and other information relating to their costume or presence at the event.

2. Submission of all materials must be complete by 9 October 2023. Participants are required to provide Work in Progress and Reference pictures via the registration form or email. If no such materials are provided until 9 October, then the participant may be disqualified. Shortlisted contestants will be notified via email by 15 of October.

3. Valid submissions must contain a character or likeness to a character from the DOTA 2 game and be appropriate for all audiences.

4. No nudity or graphic content.

5. Employees of SteelSeries or other companies associated with the Contest, as well as immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members of each are not eligible to enter the Contest.

6. Organizers reserve the right to reject the registration of individuals that have broken the rules and guidelines of a previous edition of the competition or behaved inappropriately/ in a belligerent manner to their fellow cosplayers.

E. Costumes

1. Costumes must represent a DOTA 2 character.

2. The Contest focuses on craftsmanship and only costumes that are handcrafted or mostly (i.e. 80%) handcrafted will be eligible to participate. Store purchased accessories and components are allowed insofar as they represent 20% or less of the finished look.

3. Costumes and accompanying props may not include (1) edged weapons; (2) projectile weapons; (3) props made of metal; or (4) bows or crossbows with strings. SteelSeries / PGL Esports reserves the right to remove props that it deems unsafe or inappropriate.

4. No open flame, liquid, powder or “flash” paper is allowed.

5. No laser pointers are allowed.

6. No liquids, gels, or any slippery or messy substance allowed.

7. Costumes must be maneuverable enough to enter and exit the presentation area.

8. Contestants are free to use any DOTA 2 Intellectual Property owned by Valve in the creation of their costume, but If using any non-Valve IP, the contestant must be the copyright owner of the copyrighted work or have explicit permission from the owner.

9. It is not allowed to enter the competition with handcrafted costumes designed by somebody else. Handmade accessories designed by third parties are allowed in so much as they do not represent more than 20% of the finished costume.

10. If contestants are not honest and upfront about the origin of the costumes and accessories during the Judging Event, they risk elimination from the contest and may receive a lifetime ban from future SteelSeries /PGL/ TI cosplay events.

11. Contestants are not allowed to register for the 2023 edition of the Competition with the same costumes they registered and competed with at a previous edition.

F. Judging

1. The Judges will be chosen by SteelSeries, its contractors and may include PGL employees.

2. Judges will evaluate the contestants’ costumes and performances based on the following criteria. All decisions by the judges are final.

a. Quality of craftsmanship for each costume element.

b. Creativity, materials used, stitching, fit, reference images, video shots of how the Cosplay was made, attention to details, overall complexity level, and functionality of the costume.

c. Hand crafted costume elements vs. store purchased costume elements.

d. Likeness to actual characters within the DOTA 2 universe, as depicted in the registered reference materials.

e. Maneuverability and presentation while in costume.

G. Prizes

1. The International 2023 Cosplay Contest has a total prize pool of US$20,000.

2. US$6000 of the prize pool will be awarded to six Finalist Winners at US$1000 each.

3. All finalists participating in the Winner Presentation Event will receive 2 General Admission tickets for the Grand Finals held on 27-29 of October.

4. Finalist Winners must be

a. in attendance at the Judging Event;

b. if chosen, claim their spot for the winner selection event within 60 minutes of their notification of being one of the ten Finalist Winners;

c. attend the Winner Presentation Event for consideration as a Skill Winner.

Finalist Winners who fail to claim their spot for the winner selection within the 60-minute time frame or fail to attend the winner selection event, forfeit their status as a Finalist Winner and are not eligible for the $1000 prize. In the case of a contestant forfeiture, contest organizers will offer the slot to the next placed contestant in the judging event or allow participation for the slot to lapse.

5. The Skill Winners will be awarded an additional US$14000 in the following denominations:

a. Best In Show Award = $5,000 + Full set of SteelSeries Gear + 2 General Admission Tickets

b. Best Technique Award = $3,000 + Full set of SteelSeries Gear + 2 General Admission Tickets

c. Biggest Transformation Award = $3,000 + Full set of SteelSeries Gear + 2 General Admission Tickets

d. Judges' Choice Award = $3,000 + Full set of SteelSeries Gear + 2 General Admission Tickets

6. Organizers reserve the right to alter, modify or rename the Skill awards depending on contestant line- up and judges feedback.

7. In order to redeem their prizes, all Winners must be in attendance in costume at both competition events: Judging and Winners Presentation.

8. Prize money will be paid within 60 days of the Winners Presentation event. Winners must submit necessary information to redeem their prizes within 30 days of the Winners Presentation event.

H. Taxes

1. Prize winners will be responsible for taxes associated with their prize winnings and for filing any governmental documentation required by taxing authorities. Contestants must provide the Sponsor with sufficient information to notify the contestant regarding potential tax filings.

I. Publicity Rights/Release

1. Contestants grant SteelSeries / PGL Esports Corporation and its agents the right to distribute, exhibit, publish and otherwise utilize throughout the world in perpetuity their appearance, performance, name, biographical information, statements and any other aural or visual effect relating to their role as a contestant in the Contest (collectively, “Likeness”) in any and all manner and media, including without limitation, the marketing, publication, syndication and distribution of materials containing the Likeness to third parties and the public.

2. Contestants expressly waive, release, and discharge SteelSeries / PGL Esports from and against any and all claims, demands or liabilities of any and every nature, arising at any time from or in connection with its use of their Likeness.

J. Applicable Laws

1. The Contest is subject to Seattle Washington law. Contestants may not participate if the laws of their jurisdiction prohibit this activity. SteelSeries / PGL Esports reserves the right to decline access to the Contest to any potential contestant for violation of these rules or based on its belief that the contestant’s participation would be inappropriate or harmful.

K. Disqualification

1. Any participant who does not comply with one of the articles from these rules or with the regulations will be automatically disqualified.

2. Any participant that has been found to lie about the origin of his or her costume will be disqualified immediately.

3. Any contestant found guilty of vandalism, theft, verbal or physical aggression, online bullying, shocking behavior or any other crime during the competition will be immediately and irrevocably disqualified.

4. Organizers reserve the right to retract prizes from Winners if they have broken the rules of the competition. In such cases, the prizes will be transferred to other contestants that have fulfilled the necessary criteria.


1. Who can register and compete in The International 2023 Cosplay Competition?

Any individual who can be in Seattle Washington for the Judging and Winner Presentation Event dates and construct a Dota 2 cosplay can sign up to participate in the Cosplay competition at the event. You do not need to be an event attendee.

The contest organizers will make sure that all registrants have access into the area designated for judging. Subsequently, all finalists will be provided with two General Access tickets to the Grand Finals of The International on 28th and 29th of October.

2. When do I need to be in cosplay for this Competition?

You will need to be in full cosplay with all your props for the Judging Event on 26 thru 28 October and, if you qualify, for the Winner Presentation on 29 October.

3. Do you allow groups to sign up for the competition?

No. This is an individual competition. We do not allow groups to compete against individuals. Human “props” will only be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

4. Is there a limit on how many people can register?

As of yet no, but organizers reserve the right to put a cap on registrations.

5. What is the best way to keep contact with the organizers?

Please send all queries to [email protected]

6. What are the Skill Awards?

Best In Show Award ($5,000 + Full set of SteelSeries Gear + 2 General Admission Tickets) - Offered for the highest overall score for a participant following the Judging Event.

Best Technique Award ($3,000 + Full set of SteelSeries Gear + 2 General Admission Tickets) - offered to the cosplayer with the cleanest most precise work; the cosplay needs to impress through design, maneuverability and resistance.

Biggest Transformation Award ($3,000 + Full set of SteelSeries Gear + 2 General Admission Tickets) - Cosplay must represent a complete outfit that impresses in scope and construction. Strong visual impact will play a key role but it must also be well made and wearable.

Judges’ Choice Award ($3,000 + Full set of SteelSeries Gear + 2 General Admission Tickets) - offered to the cosplayer who impresses the judges the most with their showmanship and portrayal of the character.