Over Dota 2’s lifespan as a competitive esport, there have been several players who have stood out for their contributions and achievements to the scene. Today, we’re counting down the top seven Western players.
To create the list, we considered longevity, accolades, and impact on the scene. If a player has consistently succeeded over a long period of time, and yet are still growing their legacy? They are probably on our list.
Let’s take a look at our list of top Western Dota 2 players:
Ceb has always been a difficult player to understand, from his early tirades on Twitter to now being one of the first two-time The International champions.
He spent his early career jumping from team to team and never really achieving much. His best achievement during those times was winning Dreamhack Summer 2012 with Danish player, Troels “Synderen” Neilsen. However, Ceb’s resurgence as OG’s coach, his move to the offlane in early 2018 after being a lifelong support player, and winning two Internationals shows the versatility, accolades and longevity needed to be considered a great.
If not for his own accolades, then Ceb's contributions to the scene in the form of the new defunct OG.Seed initiative would cement his place on this list. Was he the best player mechanically? No. But was an integral part of the OG machine that dominated the scene 2 Internationals in a row and continues to be a high-level player since his first professional match in 2012.
The fittest person in the Dota 2 scene takes the number six spot. Fly will not only outwork you in the gym but will out draft you in-game. Fly has been in the scene for a long time. He was a part of the first iteration of Fnatic in 2012 when he and his well-known friend, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, transferred from Heroes of Newerth into Dota 2.
After Fnatic, Fly was a part of one of Dota 2’s most interesting superteams - the first iteration of Team Secret with other notable names such as Gustav “S4” Magnussen and Clement “Puppey” Ivanov. This as a team that had one of the best collections of talent in Dota 2 history, but eventually faltered and split without winning The International.
Most of Fly’s legacy will be cemented as one of the founders of esports’ most stable organizations, OG. It was the first organization in Dota 2 history to win three Majors in a row: the Boston, Frankfurt, and Kiev Majors. OG was one of the first few organizations, in 2016, that was willing to take on young talent and develop them. Some of the best players who have blossomed playing on the same team as Fly are Andreas “Cr1t” Nielsen, Jesse “Jerax” Vainikka, Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barqawi, and Anathan “ana” Pham who was eventually part of the OG team that was able to win 2 Internationals in a row, a feat that had never been done before.
Fear is one of the most decorated North American talents to ever play Dota 2 competitively and is still playing to this day. Fear has served many different teams, but his legacy is largely entrenched with his time on Evil Geniuses. He was on the team from 2012 - 2018, with a few breaks in between, but the rise of his career is directly tied to the rise of Evil Geniuses, one of North America’s greatest esports organizations.
Fear is a veteran presence on any team, who is able to play almost any role. His career began in 2005, with the original DotA, when he made the Plug Pullers, one of the first Dota teams to be sponsored. Throughout Fear’s long career he has: played anything from position 1 carry to position 5 support and has excelled in every position, won an International, and he continues to play the game at a competitive level to this day.
After Evil Geniuses’ 2015 International win, the team placed in the top three at the next two Tis, winning several tournaments in between. Even now, in what is the twilight of Fear’s career, he continues to play and develop young players on his current team, business associates.
The son of Magnus takes the spot of the fourth greatest Western player. Another player who transferred over from Heroes of Newerth, s4 continues to dominate in the Dota 2 scene today. He is a rare combination of a player who has the conceptual understanding to lead a team as captain/drafter and has the mechanics to match the best players in the world in the middle lane.
The first arc of s4’s career was with the Swedish organization, Alliance, with players such as Jonathan “Loda” Berg and Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg. That roster did not lose a tournament up to the Grand Finals of The International 2013, where they took the tournament 3-2 over Natus Vincere. S4 made one of the most famous plays in Dota history, “The million-dollar Dream Coil.”
S4 then continued on to play on the first iteration of Team Secret, where he teamed up with some of the players that appear on this list such as Tal “Fly” Aizik and Clement “Puppey” Ivanov. They won a string of tournaments only to be out at 7-8th in The International 2015. He then moved on to OG and won 3 Majors in a row along with Fly and N0tail, an impressive feat. S4 spent some time with Evil Geniuses, frequently placing highly at tournaments, including The International. Now, he is back on Alliance captaining his own team of players such as Simon "Handsken" Haag and Nikolay "Nikobaby" Nikolov, looking to contend in the European scene for the next few years.
KuroKy is one of the most decorated and long-lasting players that the Dota 2 scene has He shares that quality with everyone on this list, of course. He has played Dota since the days of original DotA and started his career in 2008 with Mousesports. His first real chance to contend at The International was with the legendary 2013-2014 iteration of Natus Vincere with players such as Clement “Puppey” Ivanov and Danil “Dendi” Ishutin. They traded tournaments with Alliance all of 2013-2014, culminating in the International 3 Grand Final, which saw Natus Vincere lose to Alliance in an extremely close game.
He then formed the first iteration of Team Secret with Puppey. They dominated several tournaments but were never able to win an International, which KuroKy had been chasing for close to a decade at this point. After leaving Team Secret, he formed the team 5Jungz with up-and-coming players such as Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen and Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov. This squad was picked up by Team Liquid and in 2017, added star mid-lane/carry player Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barqawi and Maroun “GH” Merhej. These additions finally pushed KuroKy over the top. They won The International 2017.
KuroKy now continues with more-or-less the same team and has formed his own organization, known as Nigma. He is still active in the highest levels of competition today, facing OG in the finals of last year’s International.
The multilingual Estonian player takes the second spot, a former teammate of KuroKy who took the spot below him, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov is another player who has been playing professionally since the original Dota and is now currently the captain of one of the best teams in the world, Team Secret. In many ways, Puppey shares the same story as KuroKy before him, except Puppey found his first international win early in his career, in the first-ever International. He competed with the Natus Vincere roster that won the first International and went on to captain the team as through 2014. In that year, 2014, Puppey and KuroKy formed the first version of Team Secret.
Post-2014 is where the paths of KuroKy and Puppey divide. As the initial Team Secret roster broke up, KuroKy chose to form 5Jungz, and Puppey chose to stay in Team Secret to build his own team. Through several iterations of Team Secret, players such as Johan “Pieliedie” Astrom, Lee “Forev” Sang-don, and Maurice “Khezu” Guttman came and went, and yet Puppey stuck through and continued to try and make the team as good as possible. This eventually led to the current, best version of the team, with players such as Yazied “YapZoR” Jaradat and Ludwig “Zai” Wåhlberg.
Despite many trials and tribulations, Puppey has remained at the top of the heap and has continued to adapt to the ever-changing meta. He has maintained his competitive edge and given opportunities to up-and-coming players.
The funny, charismatic, leader of OG takes the number 1 spot as the greatest Western Dota 2 player. In terms of accolades alone, N0tail stands tall on the list as having as won two Internationals.
N0tail started at the same time as Puppey and KuroKy, but was first a professional player for Heroes of Newerth with Tal “Fly” Aizik before eventually moving into Dota 2 and joining Fnatic in 2012. They were also part of the first iteration of Team Secret along with Puppey and KuroKy. N0tail eventually branched off of Team Secret and created OG with Fly, which is now one of the most successful Dota 2 organizations of all time, winning 3 Majors in a row. Multiple iterations of the team have allowed many players to have their career highlights playing with N0tail and OG; those players include Sebastien “Ceb” Debs, Anathan “ana” Pham, and Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen, just to name a few.
N0tail’s place as the greatest Western Dota player of all-time is determined primarily by his accolades. He has won two Internationals and has participated in every International since he entered the scene in 2012. He has continued to excel as a pro and has provided lots of opportunities to different players in order to develop the scene, including the OG.Seed initiative. That project recruited players like Zakari “ZFreek” Freedman and Petu “Peksu” Vaatainen, allowing players of a high caliber to work with the main OG members to improve their play. N0tail’s versatility and longevity are unmatched, which is why we have to give him the first spot on our list.
Agree? Disagree? Tell us on Twitter who you would add or remove from our list of Western greats!