Posted in Dota 2, The International

The International will stay in Seattle despite concerns over US travel ban

Photo via Valve

For the sixth year in a row, the largest Dota 2event in the world will be heading to Seattle.

That’s in spite of concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order temporary halting immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.

The news was inadvertently revealed in apress release focused on the International 7’s cosplay competition.

The fact that Syria and Iran were on the list of banned countries raised the ire of the international Dota 2 community. Team Liquid captain Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi is an Iranian citizen, while Digital Chaos midlaner Omar “w33” Aliwi has Syrian heritage.

A number of teams and players from regions such as Southeast Asia, China, and Eastern Europe have struggled to acquire visas to attend the International since its relocation to the U.S. In 2016, LGD Gaming’s Xue “September” Zhichuan missed the event altogether after his visa application was denied four times.

In an extended roundtable discussion with PC Gamer on Feb. 10, Valve’s Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson were asked whether the executive order would influence affect the tournament’s location. “Ideally we’d run it here [in Seattle] because it has a bunch of advantages being close to our office,” Johnson replied. “But the event’s going to happen. So yes, if it became too difficult, we’d find a way.”

Launched in 2011 in tandem with the beta-release of Dota 2, the first International took place in Cologne during the annual GamesCom expo. Since 2012, however, the mega-event has taken place in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and Key Arena.

Posted in Dota 2, The International

5 highest earning gamers in the world

Virtual gaming has evolved into one of the richest tournaments globally.

Competitive video gaming has spiralled into a worldwide movement

Competitive video gaming, popularly known as eSports, has spiralled into a worldwide movement, garnering millions of spectators.

The virtual gaming platform has evolved into one of the richest tournaments globally, with the prize pool varying between $1 million and $20 million. To put that into perspective, the prize money for winning the Superbowl is USD 8.5 million, while the ICC Cricket World Cup is USD 10 million and UEFA’s Europa League is USD 9 million.

It’s also reported that eSports are likely to debut at the 2024 Los Angeles Olympics. Thus, with the increasing popularity, eSports has now attracted a number of participants from all across the world, all trying to perfect their craft. 

Here, we take a look at the five highest earning gamers in the world.

#1 Sahil Arora (UNiVeRsE)

The Dota 2 veteran was also named the MVP by Redbull at the International 2015

American professional Dota 2player Sahil Arora, who goes by the alias ‘UNiVeRsE’ is the world’s highest eSports earner with total earnings of $2,720,623.84. The 27-year-old gamer is also the highest earner in all of the United States.

The biggest cash prize ever won by UNiVeRsE from a single tournament was $1,326,932.14 at the International 2015 Dota 2 Championships held in Seattle. His 1st place cash prize made up for almost 48.77% of the total prize money of the tournamenttal prize money of the tournament.

The Dota 2 veteran was also named the MVP by Redbull at the International 2015 (TI5) for his spectacular gameplay on Clockwerk and an incredible 5-man Echo Slam on his Earthshaker in Game 4 of the Grand Finals against CDEC Gaming.

On March 25, 2016, Sahil left Evil Geniuses (EG) to join Team Secret (TS). However, in June, Sahil left TS to join his previous team, after Team Secret finished last at The Manila Major 2016.

#2 Peter Dager (Ppd)

Peter had a meteoric rise as he went on to win the TI5

CEO of the eSports organisation Evil Geniuses, Peter Dager, who uses the alias ‘Ppd’, stands second on the list of highest overall eSports earners with a staggering amount of $2,603,724. The acronym ‘Ppd’ comes from his alias “peterpandam, with which the 25-year-old gamer began his career.

Peter started gaming at a very young age, playing Heroes of Newerth, mostly with his older brother and friend. However, Peter had a meteoric rise as he went on to win the TI5 tournament as captain of Evil Geniuses. Eventually, he moved on to an administrative role in the Evil Geniuses’ organisation and later became the CEO.

Following The International 2016, he decided to leave active competition in order to prioritise his managerial role with Evil Geniuses. However, Peter has not officially announced his retirement as a professional. He has, in fact, joined WanteD for the upcoming Major as a part-timer.

#3 Sumail Hassan (Suma1L)

Sumail is the youngest gamer to surpass $1 million in tournament winnings

Pakistan-born American gamer, Sumail Hasan is the third highest earner globally, with earnings of $2,401,560. Aged just 17, Sumail holds the Guinness World Record for being the youngest gamer to surpass $1 million in tournament winnings.

On February 9, 2015, ‘Suma1L’ reached the $100,000 mark after winning the $256,831.60 cash prize for finishing first at the Dota 2 Asia Championship in 2015.

Sumail was also featured in Time Magazine’s top 30 influential teenagers of 2016 and was the first ever Dota 2 player to be included in the magazine awards.

Sumail first started playing Dota when he was seven years old. However, it was UNiVeRsE, who was really impressed with his ability and pushed for EG to recruit him in January 2015. Following TI6, Sumail was rumoured to have departed from EG, but a few days later they announced that he had indeed re-signed.

#4 Clinton Loomis (Fear)

Clinton ‘Fear‘ Loomis is an American veteran Dota 2 player from Medford, Oregon

Clinton Fear Loomis is an American veteran Dota 2 player from Medford, Oregon. The oldest Dota player until his retirement in 2016, Loomis is now a professional Dota 2 coach. Winning over a million dollars during his stint with EG, 28-year-old Loomis ranks fourth on the list with overall earnings of $2,372,459.

Chris also featured in the documentary ‘Free to Play’ alongside gamers Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin and Benedict Lim “hyhy” Han Long. However, following TI6, Chris retired from active gaming citing health issues and shifted his focus to being the team coach of EG.

#5 Li Peng (iceice)

Peng achieved great success winning ESL One Manila 2016, The Summit 5 and the TI6

Li  Peng, who uses the alias ‘iceice’ is a Chinese Dota 2 player and currently, plays for Wings Gaming. Standing fifth worldwide with overall earnings of $1,980,996, Peng started his gaming career with team Big God.

In 2016, Peng achieved great success winning ESL One Manila 2016, The Summit 5 and Valve’s sixth International, the TI6. The numero uno player from China won his biggest cash prize worth $1,827,800.40 at the TI6 which made up 92.25% of total tournament prize money.

Li Peng is most famous for his characters ‘Rubik, the Grand Magus,’ ‘Zharvakko, the Witch Doctor’ and ‘Dazzle, the Shadow Priest.

Posted in Dota 2, The International

Wings becomes a top-earning esports team after winning The International

Over the weekend, Wings Gaming took home the trophy at 2016’s The International—and with it, a hearty $9.1 million dollars. Not bad. The Chinese team won the tournament with a 3 to 1 victory over Digital Chaos in the finals.


Positioned now as the top-earning Chinese Dota 2 team, every member of Wings sits within the top 10 for highest earnings overall in esports. Wings is now the third Chinese Dota 2 team to win the The International, with the previous winners including Invictus Gaming , who won The International 2, and Newbee, who won The International 4.

Despite losing to Wings, Digital Chaos didn’t come out of the tournament empty-handed. The second place team took home more than $3 million in prize money. Evil Geniuses , who came in third, earned just over $2 million.
The total prize pool for The International 2016 ended up at 20 million, breaking last year’s record, and continues to be the highest prize pool in the esports world—topping many traditional sports prize pools as well.