The U.S. team Evil Geniuses won on Dota 2’s biggest stage last night, earning a $6.6 million prize and becoming the first American squad to win the International tournament.
All five players who competed for Evil Geniuses—Fear, PPD, Aui, Sumail, and Universe—are now millionaires. Sumail’s story is particularly fascinating—the 16-year-old Pakistani says that when he was growing up, he sold his bike so he could play more Dota. Now he’s the youngest millionaire in eSports.
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan has risen to stardom as one of the best mid players in the world. He is considered a Dota 2 prodigy. By the age of 15, his talent and drive to excel landed him the opportunity of a lifetime, when he was recruited by North American team Evil Geniuses. In his TI5 player profile, the young Pakistani player shares his inspiring life story and talks about his dream of winning The International 5.
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan first made a name for himself in 2014, when he was playing in the North American Elite League (NEL). After a short period of time playing for various lesser-known teams, the 15-year-old was recruited by Evil Geniuses in January 2015, during the big Western reshuffle.
Immediately upon joining, Evil Geniuses placed third in the Dota 2 League Season 5. However, SumaiL’s real debut would be at the Dota 2 Asia Championship (DAC), often dubbed “The International of the East”.
SumaiL and his team would take the championship title and a prize of over $1,200,000 – an incredible achievement for any Dota 2 professional player, let alone one as young and inexperienced as SumaiL.
Since then, Evil Geniuses have taken top placements in numerous premier tournaments. Their glorious season’s run culminated with a well-deserved direct invite to the most prestigious Dota 2 championship in the world, The International.
At an age when most children are playing hopscotch and learning how to read and write, Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan was already toying with dreams of a competitive gaming career. In Pakistan – where he lived for almost his entire life, gaming resources were not as readily available. He didn’t have his own computer so, in order to be able to go to the Internet Café and play, SumaiL, his cousin and other friends would often pile up on a small motorbike built for only one person. He even had to sell his bicycle once, to keep his dream alive.
I lived in Pakistan for 15 years. Growing up, I wanted to play so bad that I sold my bike just to be able to play for more hours.
SumaiL takes his career very seriously. He practices for at least nine hours a day and is grateful to his father, who has worked very hard to get him and his family over to the United States.
For Evil Geniuses manager, Charlie Yang, the most prominent thing that stands out about SumaiL is “his desire to compete at the highest level”. SumaiL’s family members echo that sentiment:
He’s really ambitious. He’s always been saying to his mom and dad: ‘let me do this and one day I will make you all really proud of me!’ And he’s doing it, he’s on his right path.
Even though this young sensation is about to compete in the most prestigious Dota 2 tournament of the year and the largest esports tournament in history thus far, he humbly admits that he still has a lot of room for improvement. Luckily for him, he has some well seasoned veterans mentoring him, including Clinton “Fear” Loomis. “Fear helped me learn just to trust your teammates. He told me that good players learn from their mistakes and not get upset, instead they just practice hard and that’s how you become the best,” SumaiL says.
I’m excited about everything in my future, but I’m possibly more excited than anything else about winning TI5. Winning TI5 is everything, you win this, you win everything.
SumaiL has now become the youngest champion in the history of The International, earning the highest pay-check ever awarded to a Dota 2 player, $1.3 million. The International 5 total prize pool has reached a staggering total of over $18,300,000 – the biggest in esports history. The International 5 champions, Evil Geniuses, have walked away with over $6.6 million dollars.