Better: A Process

Scraping The Prizepool

Ibrahim Saberi

June 24, 2019

Grabbing Cash From TI9

Okay. I’m not actually taking anything from The International 2019 prizepool (if I could, I’d detail that in a separate blog post probably). However, in the OpenDota discord someone did pose this question:

guys, any idea if theres an API for the international price pool?

If you follow TI at all, you’ll likely know about the prizepool trackerIn writing this blog post I learned that this website is served over HTTP. For shame. that’s run by Cyborgmatt. I had always assumed that he had access to some internal API that allowed him to poll and collect that data in half hour increments:

The hourly prize pool tracking comparison graph. Seems like there's data for every half hour of every day up until each year's respective TI.
dota 2 prizetracker

I actually got curious to see what would happen if I tried to access this page over HTTPS instead of HTTP. The results, are, well…

This sort of thing is what I like to call very very bad.
uh oh

And since dota2 is a subdomain, I wondered what would happen if I went to the regular domain.

uh oh


i guess

As an aside, LetsEncrypt is very free and also incredibly easy to use! Please! Use it! Also setting up a default homepage is also, like, easy.


I didn’t spend too much time figuring out how exactly the data is populated on the site. My first destination was the Network tab in Chrome DevTools. The only data loaded via XHR were some milestone related data and another set to be used for searching(?) different tournaments:

literally nothing


The prize tracker website uses HighCharts for its interactive charts. I checked the actual page source to see how the data was being inserted into the charts:

high chart 1

And lo and behold:

high chart 2

So I’m guessing that either server-side there’s something pulling the dataFrom… somewhere… and then embedding it before the page is served or the webpage (aka the internal array) is being updated literally every half hour. Probably the latter?

Finding Another Way

So you could probably just take this data from the prize tracker site if you wanted, especially since I’m not sure where else you could find historical prize pool data for every half hour.

What I want to do is take The International Battlepass pageAlso served by default over HTTP? What the heck Volvo? At least it redirects properly when forcing HTTPS… , scrape that page for the prize pool presented there (you have to wait about half an hour before the actual number displays even though it’s already in the DOM tree… because reasons), and then populate it here.

Scraping it is pretty easy. The div holding the prize pool doesn’t have an id, but it does have a unique class with a data-text attribute that holds the amount:

dota 2 website prize pool

Assuming I have access to the DOM tree because I’ll be able to grab a valid XML documentI’m told this is called foreshadowing. I can simply just:

const dota2website = //some XMLHttpRequest responseXML object
const prizepoolElement = dota2website.getElementsByClassName("prize_pool_headline")[0];
const prizepool = prizepoolElement.dataset.text;

Next question is how you get past all those pesky cross-origin request “HEY THAT’S ILLEGAL” shenanigans. There’s a cool proxy that allows you to append whatever website that will bypass all this stuff for you; it’s called cors-anywhere. So, uh, I’ll use that.

I set up my script:

let getPrizePool = (url) => {
  if(!window.XMLHttpRequest) return;

  let xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();

  xhr.onload = (event) => {
    if(callback && typeof(callback) === 'function') {

const url = '';

getPrizePool(url, (res) => {
  const dota2website = res;
  const prizepoolElement = dota2website.getElementsByClassName("prize_pool_headline")[0];
  const prizepool = prizepoolElement.dataset.text;

And with that you should have the prizepool! You open an XMLHttpRequest to the battlepass website, pass the XML Document response object to a callback, and then do all the other stuff.

Except. Well. This doesn’t work.

As it turns out, responseXML doesn’t ever get set because the return object isn’t considered valid XML! Definitely didn’t see that one coming. I tried reparsing the basic response object as XML using the DOMParser interface, but it breaks pretty early into the file and I get this:


That’s pretty early on? What’s happening in this document?


Uhhhhhhh… What the hell?


Oh. I see.

A note to all web developers out there. Please put trailing slashes where needed in your web documents. You know, so I can scrape them easily.

Pretty please.

Anyway, I don’t believe that was the actual issue that DOMParser faced, and it more had to do with the <script> tag that appears where it stops parsing. Can’t do much about that.

Alright… What Now?

You know what they say you do when all else fails?

Yeah, that’s right. It’s regex time.

The regex here is actually incredibly simple. Like so simple that I figured it out. And I straight up bombed the regex unit in my Rapid Prototyping class. That’s the one unit you’re not supposed to fail. Like ever.

Enough reminiscing.

Our expression prize_pool_headline appears twice in the response object. The first time is for some dumb javascript stuffIn fact, the same dumb javascript stuff that broke the XML doc in the first place! How quaint. , and the second is the one we want. So we simply match that plus the end of the div:

const regex = /prize_pool_headline">/gm;

But we need all that junk after the headline too. We can use a capture group for this:

const regex = /prize_pool_headling">(.*)/gm;
const match = regex.exec(xhr.response);
let prizepool = match[1]; // this will give you '$25,XXX,XXX</div>'

And then you strip out that last </div> and then you’re done! You can throw the resulting prizepool into whatever as needed:

prizepool = prizepool.substr(0, prizepool.indexOf("</div>"));
let poolDiv = document.getElementById("prizepool");
poolDiv.innerHTML = prizepool;

The current prizepool for The International 2019 is:


If you’re interested, you can see the full script in the source of this page!

© 2019 - The Galleria By Ibrahim Saberi