In August 2011, the esports landscape changed forever with the very first The International. At the time, a $1 million prize pool was unthinkable, and this iconic tournament has grown with leaps and bounds ever since.
Out of The International tournaments and the Dota Pro Circuit, some of the greatest Dota 2 players ever emerged. Here, we take a look at the top 10 Dota 2 players of all time.
Please note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer.
Johan "N0tail" Sundstein, also known as BigDaddy, or simply "a beautiful flower", is the greatest Dota 2 player of all time.
Sure, it is a bold statement to make, but looking at the facts, one simply cannot deny N0tail a top spot on this list. He is the player with the highest esports earnings, not only in Dota 2 but in esports as a whole, with over $6.8 million in prize money alone.
N0tail led his team, OG, to two consecutive The International wins (2018 and 2019). OG became the first-ever team to win two The International tournaments, and doing it back-to-back just puts the icing on the cake.
His first tournament win came with Fnatic at the StarLadder ProSeries Season 2 all the way back in 2012. Since then, N0tail has lifted dozens of trophies, including a record-breaking four Dota 2 Majors. His achievements speak volumes but his attitude and approach to Dota 2 are what truly makes him a legend.
N0tail current plays PO5 support for OG and is the coach of OG Seed.
Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi is a Dota 2 genius. His drafts, strategy and leadership make him one of, if not the best Dota 2 captain ever.
KuroKy is the highest earning Dota 2 esports player not just from the two-time TI winning OG squad. He has hundreds of tournaments and dozens of podium finishes under his belt.
KuroKy has made it to two The International grand finals, once with Na'Vi in 2013, where they lost against Alliance, and one with Team Liquid, where he led his team to victory against Chinese juggernauts Newbee in 2017.
Something you might not know about KuroKy is he suffered from disabilities in his legs, which is one of the reasons he started playing video games.
KuroKy is currently the captain of Team Nigma and plays PO5 support.
There is no denying Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi is one of the greatest Dota 2 players ever, even though he only burst onto the scene in 2015.
Back in 2015, he had a four-month experience with Balkan Bears, before being removed from the squad. However, Miracle- took to the ranked matchmaking and impressed everyone, becoming the top-ranked player (based on MMR) in Europe and then, the world.
Miracle- was invited to join OG (then called Monkey Business) shortly afterwards. The team then changed its name to OG, and in the first ever major Miracle- played at, the Frankfurt Major, OG lifted the trophy after a series of upsets.
With OG, Miracle- went on to win the Manila Major in 2016. Then, he won The International 2017 with Team Liquid, to name just a few accomplishments. He also made it to The International 2019's grand finals with Team Liquid, where they lost against OG.
Miracle- is currently playing with Team Nigma in the carry role.
If you are a fan of Rubick players, then you might have a poster of Xu "fy" Linsen hanging on your wall.
Widely considered to be one of the best Rubick players ever, Xu "fy" Linsen has been crushing it in the Dota 2 esports scene since 2012. He first played for Vici Gaming and after two years with the squad made waves in the Chinese Dota 2 scene, he reached the grand finals of The International 2014, where VG lost to Newbee.
While lifting the Aegis of Champions has always eluded Xu "fy" Linsen, he has seen great success with his current squad, PSG.LGD. Xu "fy" Linsen managed to make it to the grand finals of The International 2018, but his team simply couldn't close out the match against OG.
With that being said, his ability to captain the PSG.LGD squad under this type of immense pressure, and his amazing support plays throughout the years, makes Xu "fy" Linsen one of the best Dota 2 players ever.
Xu "fy" Linsen is the current captain and a support player for PSG.LGD.
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov is undoubtedly one of the greatest Dota 2 captains ever, alongside KuroKy.
Puppey and KuroKy actually played alongside each other with Na'Vi during The International 2013 grand final, suffering a heart-breaking loss against Alliance.
From the very first The International (which Puppey won with Na'Vi) all the way to The International 2019, where he placed fourth with Team Secret, Puppey has been a superstar, and the teams he has played in have seen great success.
His achievements are without question, but you probably didn't know he can play the clarinet, violin, and a few other musical instruments. There's a whole lot more to Puppey than just being one of the best Dota 2 players ever.
Puppey is the captain and support player for Team Secret.
The name Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei still gives many Dota 2 fans chills to this day. He is arguably one of the greatest, and most experienced Dota 2 carry players of all time.
BurNIng begun his DotA career all the way back in 2008 with his first big win being the 2009 G-League DotA tournament, where his team 7L beat down the strongest Chinese Dota team at the time, EHOME.
BurNIng's list of achievements is longer than Puppey's arm, but unlike many others on this list, he has never won a TI. However, one cannot deny his immense presence every single time he played in a tournament.
My personal favourite is where Invictus Gaming (with BurNIng) beat OG 3-0 in the Dota 2 Asia Championship 2017, even while I'm a massive OG fan.
BurNIng is currently the coach and co-owner of Team Aster.
Space created. That's one way to describe Gustav "s4" Magnusson's Dota 2 career.
He isn't like the flashy carry players out there, or the iconic captains on this list. Instead, S4 is a solid powerhouse that creates space and sometimes sacrifices himself for the teams he plays in. The result, however, is pretty clear. S4 wins games.
S4 has been in several teams over the years, with his most notable achievement at Alliance being winning The International 2013. At one stage, he was regarded as one of the best mid players in the world.
With OG, S4 won two Majors, and with his current team, EG, he placed third at The International 2018.
S4 is currently playing as the offlaner for Evil Geniuses.
Starting his esports career with StarCraft 2 in 2010 and transitioning to Dota 2 in late 2011, Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang is an unstoppable Singaporean force of nature.
He attended the very first The International and made it to third place with his team at the time, Scythe Gaming.
Since then, iceiceice has been crushing it in the offlane position (and sometimes carry). In a mostly sacrificial offlane position, iceiceice makes decimating his opponents look easy. Some notable achievements (of a very long list) includes a fourth place at The International 2014 with Team DK, then another fourth-place finish at The International 2015 with Vici Gaming.
While iceiceice hasn't claimed the Aegis of Champions as his own, he is a true The International veteran and arguably the best offlaner of all time.
iceiceice currently plays in offlaner and carry roles for Fnatic.
6 Million Dollar Echo Slam! That's the type of clutch plays Saahil "UNiVeRsE" Arora is used to making.
He is an absolute legend of the Dota 2 esports scene, having competed in nearly all The International events. His sacrificial offlaner role, combined with his excellent mechanical skills and calmness under high-pressure situations makes him one of the greatest Dota 2 players ever.
UNiVeRsE is a TI winner, having lifted the Aegis of Champions with Evil Geniuses during The International 2015. At 30 years of age, UNiVeRsE is still considered one of the best players out there.
UNiVeRsE is currently playing for Ninjas in Pyjamas in the support and offlaner roles.
Danil "Dendi" Ishutin is one of the most well known Dota 2 players of all time, and one of the best. Sure, many fans and players might argue he’s past his prime and not currently one of the top players out there. However, his legacy with Na'Vi lives on, and it is hard to argue that the prolific mid player doesn't deserve a spot on this list.
Dendi is one of the few players who has made it to, as Gabe "GabeN" Newell would say, more than two TI grand finals, but less than four. To be clear, Dendi played in the grand final of the very first International (and won it) then again in 2012 and 2013.
While Na'Vi lost to Invictus Gaming in 2012 and to Alliance in 2013, the iconic squad will never be forgotten. His personality, play style and character have "fountain hooked" his way into our hearts and minds forever.
Dendi currently plays mid for his new organization B8.
With list such as this one, it is important to remember this is based on the opinion of the writer, as well as player statistics and achievements.
Some might just want to throw the entire OG squad in a list and call it a day, while others might have very different views on who is worthy of being in the top 10 Dota 2 players of all time.
Honourable mentions go out to the rest of OG's TI winning squad, SumaiL, Zai, Mushi, Loda, Bulldog, Fear and dozens of other top Dota 2 players who barely didn't make this list.