The list of the highest earning Dota 2 players are dominated by TI winners. But TI11 champions are far down the list.
Dota 2 is renowned for its grand tournaments that offer a surreal amount of prize money. Its annual peak-of-the-year tournament, The International, is especially massive, with millions of dollars on the line. Valve has hosted 11 The Internationals throughout history and numerous official events with big prize pools. But which players have grabbed the biggest slice from this lucrative esports? Here is a list of the richest Dota 2 players by tournament earnings.
The five richest Dota 2 players by tournament earnings go to former OG who currently holds the record for back-to-back TI wins with the same roster. The majority of their earnings came from the victory at TI8, which earned them $11.2 million, and TI9, with $15.6 million.
#1 N0tail : $7.1 million
The richest Dota 2 player by esports earnings is Johan "N0tail" Sundstein who is the most decorated Dota 2 player in history. The Danish player was a part of the original OG which grabbed 4 Major wins and these each offered more than one million USD to the winners. With the additional two TI wins, N0tail climbed ahead of all other esports and Dota 2 players to become the richest in tournament earnings. After cementing the record, he took a long break and returned to the scene with Old G in 2023.
#2 JerAx: $6.5 million
Renowned support player, Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka started early in esports and was very consistent in his career. The Finnish had a great run with Team Liquid in 2016, finishing 2nd in two Majors and in the top 8 at TI6. He would then become the first player to reach a Valve Major grand final four consecutive times, half with Team Liquid and the other half with OG. He then made history to win two TIs back-to-back and immediately retired. But he returned to play with rivals Evil Geniuses and proceeded to coach Team Liquid. However, in late December 2022, he announced his departure from the role.
#3 ana: $6 million
Carry player, Anathan "ana" Pham started his esports career only in 2016 but he skyrocketed to success fast. The young player began in the Chinese region with Invictus Gaming and then moved to play in Europe with OG. His debut year sees him grab a victory at his first Dota 2 Major, the 2016 Boston Major. The Australian has in total won two Majors and the back-to-back TI in 2018 and 2019. After an on-and-off retirement period, ana played as a stand-in for Team Liquid at the 2022 Riyadh Masters which saw the team grab $100,000. His last stint was a short one with T1 and he is currently inactive.
#4 Ceb: $5.9 million
Sébastien "Ceb" Debs started competing early in 2011 but was met with disappointing results. He then had a long period of retirement as he moved into broadcast and coaching. But he took OG's call for help in 2018 and helped the team win TI back-to-back. In 2022, despite not committing to pro Dota anymore, Ceb won his first Dota 2 Major as a stand-in with the new generation of OG. He then formed Old G with N0tail and Topson to compete in the DPC qualifiers. However, their run fell short and the team is currently inactive.
#5 Topson: $5.7 million
Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen has the shortest career span out of all the players in the top 10. He started competing in 2017 and was practically a nobody when he won TI8 with OG. Due to this, he is also deemed the greatest underdog in esports. After winning two TIs and placing top 8 at TI10, Topson went on a long break and focused on streaming. He is now playing with Old G.
#6 Kuroky: $5.3 million
At sixth place is Kuro "KuroKy" Takhasomi, one of THE Dota 2 veterans with numerous achievements in his career. His first big achievement was with NAVI where he earned a 2nd-place finish at TI3 and a top 8 at TI4. At TI5, KuroKy played with Team Secret and finished top 8. He then collected two 2nd-place finishes in Valve Majors in 2016 and finished top 8 at TI6. But his biggest wins were from the victory at TI7 and a 2nd place finish at TI9.
The next players on the list consist of Team Spirit players who won the biggest prize pool in esports history. These Eastern European stars grabbed $18.2 million following their triumphant TI debut in 2021.
Recently, on July 30th, Team Spirit grabbed a whopping $5 million victory at the 2023 Riyadh Masters. Coupled with previous earnings like the $200K Arlington Major win and $750K from 2022 Riyadh Masters, Team Spirit surpasses the rest of Nigma Galaxy players' total tournament earnings. This excludes Larl, who had only joined Team Spirit ahead of the 2023 season.
#7 Miposhka: $5.3 million
Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov, the cheerful captain of Team Spirit is at seventh place on this list. Prior to his time with the successful Team Spirit, he was a part of multiple iconic CIS teams including Team Empire. With Empire, Miposhka grabbed a top 8 placement at TI in 2017, bagging $617K in prize money for the team. Miposhka has slightly higher tournament earnings than the rest of his teammates in Spirit as he participated in more tournaments before.
#8 - #10 Yatoro, Collapse, and Mira: $5 million
Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk, Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov, and Myroslav "Mira" Kolpakov are young players who experienced their TI debut in 2021. Which they also fashionably won. Following their explosive debut, these players continued to deliver in tournaments and stack their tournament earnings. With the recent $5 million victory at Riyadh Masters, they manage to break into the top 10 of the list.
Nigma Galaxy and Puppey round up the top 15
Following the top 10, former Team Liquid players, now mostly under Nigma Galaxy, fill in the list. This legendary roster won TI in 2017 and earned $10.8 million. The team’s carry player, MATUMBAMAN, would then depart the group two years after, but they manage to consistently rake in earnings and stay in the top 10 altogether.
#11 Miracle-: $4.9 million
Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi is one of the most popular Dota 2 players following his rise to stardom in 2015. Initially a pub star, he was picked up by OG and the team saw immediate success. The Jordanian won three million-dollar Majors with OG and emerged triumphant with Team Liquid at TI7. He would then stay with Team Liquid and consistently perform in tournaments, grabbing a $500,000 win at the China Dota 2 Super Major, $1.7 million at TI8, and $4.4 million at TI9, among many others. Miracle- is currently on a health break and stays as an inactive member of Nigma Galaxy.
#12 MATUMBAMAN: $4.9 million
Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen is the third Finnish player in the top 10. He has recently retired after his last hurrah with Team Liquid at TI11. His first big achievements were with Team Liquid, where he secured many top 3 placings in 2016 and finally claimed the Aegis at TI7. MATUMBAMAN left the team a few months before TI9 and was caught in a rough timeline. But he found immense success in his final years with a third-place finish with Team Secret and Team Liquid at TI10 and TI11 respectively.
#13 MinD_ContRoL: $4.7 million
Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov began competing in 2014 but got his big break with 5Jungz which would later be picked up by Team Liquid due to their successful performance. The Bulgarian stayed with Team Liquid's roster, now under the Nigma Galaxy banner. He had a consistent run in 2017 - 2018, winning TI7 and getting another big 2nd-place finish at TI9.
#14 Puppey: $4.3 million
In the midst of the TI7 winners, Clement "Puppey" Ivanov stands in 14th place with $4.3 million total tournament earnings. Puppey is the first TI winner and is the only player to have attended all TIs in history. He has had numerous successful runs in his career, mainly with Team Secret. He holds the International records for most grand finals appearances (4), most top 4 placements (6), and most top 8 placements (9).
#15 GH: $4.3 million
Lebanese player, Maroun "GH" Merhej, played for only four teams in his career, two being Team Liquid and Nigma Galaxy. Known as one of the most positive Dota 2 players on the planet, GH began his career in 2013 but would find flawless chemistry with his teammates in Liquid. With a TI win in 2017 and a 2nd place finish at TI9, GH secured enough prize money to make it in the top 15 of the richest esports and Dota 2 players of all time.
TI11 winners are not in the top 20
The list then sees many notable players that have been consistent throughout their pro careers. The top 25 includes names like Wang "Ame" Chunyu , which collected $3.9 million, and Syed "SumaiL" Hassan with $3.8 million.
But the recent TI champions, Tundra Esports, do not appear in the top 20 on the list. This is understandably so as TI11 offered much lower prize money compared to the previous TIs. Tundra Esports grabbed $8.6 million at TI11 putting their players at respective rankings: Martin "Saksa" Sazdov (#24), Neta "33" Shapira (#34), Wu "Sneyking" Jingjun (#36), Oliver "skiter" Lepko (#45), and Leon "Nine" Kirilin (#50).
You can browse the list of top-earning esports players here.