Pakistani, 15, becomes Dota 2 world champ

SumaiL Dota 2

This is old story. If the search engine has landed you here, go to the latest stories from TI5 here:

Sumail, richest esports player by age in history, bags $6.6m online game championship

Exclusive backstage photos of Sumail, richest esports player by age

A 15-year-old Pakistani online gamer from Karachi, Sumail Hassan Syed, inspired by my son, Danyal Zahid, and once his team member, today won $1.2 million in Dota 2 Asia Championships in China and became the world’s best Dota 2 player. DAC15 is the world’s biggest tournament in Dota 2 after TI5.

Dota 2 EG Sumail

Sumail (game name: SumaiL) plays for Evil Geniuses, the likely Number 1 Dota 2 team in the world. The $1.2 million is a team prize, which will go to five team players equally.

Our Danyal (game name: Danger) became the Pakistan champion of Dota at age 13, in a championship held at World Cyber Games (WCG) in Lahore, Pakistan.

See also by Danyal Zahid: 6 things that made Sumail world champ in Dota 2

Sumail says he was attracted to the game by watching Danyal style of play. He later became part of Danyal’s Dota 2 team with his brother YawaR (game name) and played for two years until Danyal headed to Canada for his BBA at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.

Danger Danyal Sumail Dota 2

Sumail (middle) and Danyal (right) at a Dota 2 tournament at Procom 2013 at FAST University, Karachi

Sumail (@SumaaaaiL) has nearly 6,000 followers on Twitter and today’s win would mean thousands more would follow him in a matter of hours. Within a few minutes of his win, he became the 7th biggest Twitter trend globally.

Sumail trending Twitter

Sumail is currently in China for the DAC15 and will return to the United States to a hero’s welcome! He now resides in Chicago.

Dota 2 video-games

e-sports are a serious business now. The US grants these players visa in athletics category. China, soon to be the world leader, has full curriculum based around online games. In UK, online games are expected to replace examinations and BBC is analysing games potential to be an education fit for the future.

Dota 2 International now has bigger prize money than the T20 cricket and Tour de France. Last year’s graphic from The Economist magazine, above.

By Wali Zahid (@walizahid)

Also by Wali Zahid

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Aviation enthusiast with eye on 2050

MH370 apology: Technology is so overrated!

Shall I? Shall I not?

Good to see good coming out from a public-sector entity

Humanize medical: The movement begins!

Pakistani passport ranks at 71, with 46 visa-free countries


  1. The article though well written, does contain a few factual inaccuracies. Sumail, though a brilliant talented player, is certainly not “World Champ”. That would be decided within the upcoming TI5 during the solo championship. Secondly, EG is not the “Number 1 Dota 2 team in the world”, That would would be decided in the Ti5.

    Having said that, I have seen every single game he played within the DAC and he leaves one speechless. People are comparing him to Dendi which in its self is quite a compliment. Having seen him destroy Dendi in Navi vs EG, I would now say that he is by far one of the best Mid solo’s in the game at the moment.

    I was rooting for him during the mid solo championship but it would take a little more practice for him to rival the likes of Mushi & S4. Would love to see him in the solo championship in Ti5.

    Funny thing, everyone at work today was asking me about how Sumail did (sparing no expense to talk our desi boy up). Hell even my dad asks me every day, how is our Pakistani kid doing. Sumail you have made us proud!

  2. It does not matter if he is the best mid player. What matters is that he is part of EG, currently the best team in Dota. However, the oncoming Chinese reshuffle might change that fact, but for the moment, EG is the best team in Dota, along with VG. He has been playing very well along with all his teammates – Universe, PPD, Aui and Fear. With PPD’s drafting, It wouldn’t be surprising if they managed to snag the Aegis in TI5.

  3. PROUD TO BE PAKISTANI …….It was around TI4 when i checked the solo MMR of america or EU i guess an saw Pakistani flag at the top and was shocked with joy Player name DEMON toping the MMR a mystery which was than solved when TEAM EG showed up with their new roster .I was feeling quite jubilant seeing TEAM EG DAC INtro ……..Listening to the name PAKISTAN an seeing a PRO Pakistani player at the age of 15 its absolutely mind blowing….Playing and following dota for the last 8 years last 2 weeks are the best and will be remembered for last in my DOTA memories……HOPE to see Suma1L do well in the TI5….best of luck……

  4. I’m really happy for this guy but we need to understand one thing , not every dota player go this far and hardly any of Pakistani player has yet gone so far but if you count number of people who ruined there studies for dota are un-imaginable , Moreover according to the coach of team Na’vI (champions of ti1) an E-gamer can only play til age of 25 after that there reaction time gets lower. I would highly suggest everyone of you not to compromise your studies for this game ,yes you can always play when you get free time. 🙂

  5. From the Greek (this what it is to me) the only thing I understand in English is that the Kid has done something phenomenol. Kudos to him, his inspiration and his exploits.

  6. In Karachi there used to be a gaming cafe called Gravity. Many of the best Dota and Counter Strike players in Pakistan used to play there; Danger and Demon included. At the time, it was one of the only places that offered such access (as computers were expensive to buy as were stable internet connections) and so an atmosphere of LAN-style gaming developed. There used to be a main lobby, and two sets of ‘match rooms’ where mini tournaments and scrims used to be held in both Dota and Counter Strike 1.5. I remember the adrenaline and passion of the games as if it were a real sport. The cold bottles of coke and 7up, the steaming biryani, and the endless chicken rolls.

    It used to be located in an affluent commercial market area called, “khadda market”, literally meaning the Hole Market. Through the big black door (often with blue lighting) and up a very dark staircase, Gravity was often entirely submerged in darkness, with little lighting throughout. Most of it came from small coloured LED lights. It often felt like entering a cave, as occasional rainwater and other pipe leakage left a lingering smell of dampness and claustrophobia.

    In Dota 1, one of the biggest drawbacks was being unable to rejoin a game after disconnecting. There was a tiny grace period in which you could rejoin a game, but quite often because of power outages, electrical failure, and curfews in the city the electricity would be shut off for interminable durations. This often happened at the most inopportune moments, and any gamer from Karachi can tell you about how much they loathe KSE/KE (Karachi Electric) and the ‘load-shedding’. The feeling goes, a special place in hell is reserved for the people who administered the electricity. More often than not, the prolonged electrical outage would be during the summer months, when temperatures could reach upwards of 40 celsius. As a result, all games would come to an end. We would lounge around inside in total darkness, swimming in the heat (as the mighty air conditioners were off), or head down outside for the occasional breath of the cool evening air. It was fascinating to see how people looked at the gamers sitting on the steps leading up to Gravity. There would be heated discussions about the games, theory crafting, talks about fights, discussions on how best to maximise gaming/study time. As a gamer’s ego generally directly corresponded to their skill; and the finest players had the pleasure of carrying the biggest ego (it was the reward of being so skilled).

    Many of the kids (including some adults with proper jobs) were extremely bright and were successful at school already. The others who, as someone above says, ‘wasted their life’, would have found one way or another to waste their time and their life. It’s unfair to point the finger at gaming. This was generally uncommon and kids who came from more privileged backgrounds were prone to do so, as they had the safety net of their families. The others had the oppurtunity to meet people and make friends that they wouldn’t normally at school. As you will often hear Sumail say in his interviews, “he has no friends in school.”

    It’s sad to see that many of the gaming cafes have now closed down when e-sports is just beginning to thrive. Mostly because they were no longer profitable, as computers and stable internet connections became much more accessible.

    I remember Danger’s innovative mid builds, including his iconic Priestess of the Moon, Crystal Maiden, and Tiny. With multiple null talismans, Arteezy’s biggest fear. For all the attention that is now going to Sumail, it is probably good to acknowledge that the aggressive style of mid that he plays, was initially pioneered by Danger.

  7. Well its really nice to hear good things about e-Sports and that remarkable kid Sumail. I want to share my experience about computer gaming in Pakistan and about the players as well because i have seen them so closely for past 16 years.

    Firstly i have to mention that i am privileged to play with both Danyal and Sumail and If i talk about Danyal (Danger) imo “He” was MashAllah the best solo mid player in Pakistan better than Sumail as well (some of my friends will disagree). We picked him in our team when He was like 13 yrs old. The first tournament we played was in Lahore (World Cyber Games) and won that as well. After that we won numerous tournaments but due to lack of opportunities we weren’t able to compete internationally like many other teams.

    Gravity Gaming Zone owned by Sameer Abbasi was the first man who break the norm and realize the potential of DotA and sponsored the first ever DotA team in Pakistan (Titans) which was quite shocking for many of Counter-Strike players as well.

    By ending this comment i just want to Congratulate Sumail for the remarkable achievement and also i would like mention that there are hundreds of talented players who are neglected just because they do not have good internet connections or some parents don’t realize that e-Sports is after all a Sport which can earn hell lot of a money.

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