Dota 2 win makes N0tail the top-awarded e-sports star

Johan "N0tail" Sundstein holds trophyImage copyright
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Johan “N0tail” Sundstein held the Dota 2 contest’s trophy aloft after his team’s victory in Shanghai

A European team has become the first to win one of the highest-profile and most lucrative video games competitions for two years in a row.

OG triumphed at Dota 2 tournament The International, defeating runner-up Team Liquid 3-1 in the final on Sunday.

OG’s five teammates shared the $15.6m (£12.7m) top prize.

It made team captain Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, 25, the top prize-winning e-sports player of all time, according to statistics site Esports Earnings.

It has calculated the Dane has earned about $6.9m to date.

The sum excludes money he has made from sponsorships and online Dota 2 tutorials.

Furthermore, his four OG colleagues fill out the other five rankings in the Esports Earnings’ list.

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OG overwhelmed its opponent in the final games of the match

It was the first time the annual competition had been held in China in its nine year history.

It was organised by Dota 2’s developer Valve, but much of the prize pool was crowdfunded by fans buying a “battle pass”, which unlocked a new game mode and other items in the title.

This year’s winnings pot totalled a record $34.3m, trumping the $30m shared out among the victors of the Fortnite World Cup in July.

Team Liquid walked away with a $4.5m share of the prize.

Huge audiences

Dota 2 – an acronym for Defense of the Ancients 2 – is a fantasy-themed multiplayer battle-arena game that pits two teams against each other. The goal is to take down the opponent’s towers and destroy a structure known as the “Ancient” on the other side of the map.

Players have more than 100 characters to choose from, each with their own abilities that can be augmented within the game, which adds complexity to the challenge.

OG and Team Liquid – which is also Europe-based – had both won the competition once before.

Along with 14 other teams, they battled for glory over the six-day-long contest held at Shanghai’s Mercedes Benz Arena.

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This was the second year in a row that OG had won the competitions

It had seating capacity for about 18,000 spectators. And many more watched online via the event’s official Twitch and SteamTV streams, where commentary was provided in English, Mandarin and Russian. Footage has also been published to YouTube.

This was the first time that a Chinese team had not qualified for the grand final since 2013. Home-team PSG.LGD had been knocked out by Team Liquid in a prior round after a closely-fought 2-1 match.

Team Liquid looked like it might repeat the trick in the competition’s final stage when it beat OG in the first game of the best-of-five match.

But a change of tactics saw OG dominate the next two games before going on clinch the title.

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Thousands of spectators bought tickets to watch the game on giant screens

N0tail had disclosed that his pet dog had died prior to the competition, leaving him feeling at a low. And after the victory, he tweeted his thanks to those who had helped him overcome the loss.

Valve has said that next year’s International will be held in Sweden’s capital Stockholm.

It will be the first time the fixture has been hosted in Europe since 2011’s original contest, which was held at the Gamescom conference in Germany.

Competitors will have a wider choice of heroes to choose from next time round, including a dragon ridden by a biscuit-baking woman and a purple-eyed spirit with huge eyebrows, who were both teased last week.


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