Dota 2 is by far and away the most lucrative esport and it accounts for the 39 highest earner competitive gamers of all time. That is mainly down to the huge prize pools at The International, the biggest tournament of the year. It reached $25.5 million in 2018 and this allows Dota 2 to blow the likes of League of Legends, CS:GO and Call of Duty out of the water when it comes to players’ earning power. Here are the top five highest earning Dota 2 stars in history:
Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi suffered from leg pains from an early age when growing up in Berlin, Germany, and he preferred video games to playing outside. He found his niche with Defense of the Ancients, a popular multi online battle arena title, and signed with mousesports in 2008, aged 16. He was named Carry of the Year in his debut season, and he then moved around a few different teams before joining Natus Vincere as a Dota 2 support player in 2013. He was part of the team that finished runner-up at The International 2013 and he netted $156,581 that year. In 2014, he took home prize money of $189,893, and then he formed Team Secret along with Puppey, Fly, N0tail and s4.
After disappointing in The International 2015, KuroKy left Team Secret to form another new team called 5Jungz, along with FATA, Matumbaman, JerAx and MinD_ContRoL. Team Liquid signed this team up and KuroKy has since enjoyed enormous success with the organization, where he serves as captain. He made $333,892 in prize money in 2015 and $362,813 in 2016 as Team Liquid won a number of big events. Then in 2017 it signed Miracle and GH and embarked on a long winning streak that culminated with success in The International. That saw him net a cool $2.4 million in 2017, making him the highest earning esports star of all time.
Liquid went on to win the China Dota 2 Supermajor in 2018 and finish fourth at The International, and his career earnings now stand at more than $4.1 million. He has competed in every International, and he was the first player to reach 1,000 Dota 2 wins in his pro career. He is also the only pro to play every hero in the game. Liquid won the $300,000 MDL Macau last month and it will be among the leading contenders for The International 2019, so KuroKy has a good chance of holding onto his title as the top earner of all time.
Denmark’s Johan “N0tail” Sundstein began his esports career by playing Heroes of Newerth as a teenager and he then switched to Fnatic’s Dota 2 team ahead of the 2013 season. He took on the support role and earned plaudits for his performances as Chen and Wisp, and for his strong micromanagement skills. He briefly played alongside KuroKy at Team Secret, until Puppey decided to axe him in preparation for the Dota 2 Asian Championships. In 2015, after a brief stint at Cloud9, he founded Monkey Business, which was renamed as OG and gained a lucrative sponsorship deal with Red Bull.
Since then N0tail has developed into a world-class Dota 2 player, displaying great versatility to flourish in a number of different positions. He has been handsomely compensated for his endeavours too. He earned $350,000 in 2015 and $583,000 the following year. That dipped to $402,000 in 2017, but last year he led OG to victory at The International 2018 and walked off with almost $2.3 million in prize money. His total career earnings now stand at $3.75 million, so he is hot on KuroKy’s heels. He has won four Majors with OG and The International, and some fans now believe he is the greatest player of all time. He said he has no interest in spending all of his money, and he simply wants “a house without neighbours” and lots of dogs.
Jordanian star Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi shot to prominence in 2015 after he reached an in-game MMR of more than 8,000, making him the world’s highest ranked player. N0tail’s Monkey Business team promptly snapped him up just before the OG rebranding and he helped them win the Frankfurt Major in 2015. The following year, he became the first Dota 2 player to reach 9000 MMR and he left as free agent to link up with KuroKy at Team Liquid. He helped the team win The International 2017 and he took home prize money of $2.4 million that year. He topped it up with another $64,000 in 2018 and he now has prize money of $3.73 million, leaving him just behind N0tail in third.
Ivan Borislavov “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov is another lynchpin in the hugely successful Team Liquid. He signed for the team in time for the 2016 season, in which he won the EPICENTER LAN in Moscow and finished second at the Shaghai Major and the Manila Major. He held onto his place during a reshuffle after the team’s disappointing showing at The International 2016 and – alongside KuroKy, Miracle-, Matumbaman and GH – he secured a famous victory at The International 2017. MinD_ContRoL is just 24 years old, but his career earnings now stand at $3.52 million. The Bulgarian remains hungry to win more titles with Liquid and he will be a formidable opponent for many in 2019 and beyond.
The Unikrn esports betting shows that Team Liquid are still among the favourites heading into big tournaments and it has the skill, experience and desire to add to its collection of silverware.
Lasse Aukusti “Matumbaman” Urpalainen made a name for himself by displaying superb mechanical skills on the likes of Ember Spirit and Tinker back in 2014. The Finn joined 5Jungz along with compatriot JerAx just before it became Team Liquid. He emerged as a key player as Liquid dominated the scene in 2017, and fans recently rated him as the seventh best player of all time, behind only Miracle-, GH, fy, KuroKy, JerAx and SumaiL. He has thrived as carry and solo middle, and he has racked up career earnings of $3.5 million thanks to his successes with Liquid. The International 2019 is sure to cause this list to shift, but there is every reason to think that Matumbaman and co can do well there.