Riot is reportedly in talks with Major League Baseball’s media company, and CS:GO is currently airing on TBS for its second season on cable television. But while other esports race towards legitimization, broader appeal and some measure of, let’s call it normalcy, Dota 2 forges bravely onward as the weirdest goddamn esport in the world.
Well, maybe not the weirdest. But a serious contender nonetheless.
Once again, we have arrived at the Summit, the weirdest, chillest tournament of the year. This time around, the event began with an intro video that riffed on modern pop culture hits like Stranger Things and horror movie tropes so recycled that their source material is lost to the ages. It is an astounding five minutes long, with no appearance by the actual pro teams participating in the event until the last thirty seconds.
But the intro video was only the start. So far we’ve had awkward family photos, casters dressed like radio shock jocks, and absolutely no one wearing shoes. In between all the goofs, the players at the Summit have even found some time to play Dota 2.
On day one, Wings took on NP only days after beating them at the BEAT Invitational. Neither team had miraculously changed in the interim, so history repeated itself. Meanwhile, Virtus.Pro seemed to be absolutely dominant. While a close match with EHOME pushed them to a third game, they took Wings apart 2-0.
Yesterday, OG turned what everyone expected to be a long, drawn out series against Digital Chaos into a tidy sweep. For the second match-up of the day, the exact opposite happened: Faceless put up a better fight than anyone expected, collecting a bushel of heads early on thanks to Black’s Slark. Eventually, though, Sumail hit both his stride and several dozen arrows on Mirana, winning EG the first game. In the second, Faceless held off long enough to leverage their late-game team composition, beating EG with a tide of a zombies and some very sweet singing from Naga Siren. In the tiebreaker match, the Evil Geniuses played a slower, more deliberate game, taking safer engages over and over until eventually snowballed and won. Finally, OG beat EG in the semi-finals, despite giving up early kills in both matches.
Despite the Summit’s predictable strangeness, it has a healthy prize pool that the teams will be vying for—so healthy, in fact, that the League of Legends teams competing at Oracle Arena this weekend for IEM Oakland will be playing for the same prize pool as the Dota 2 teams playing out of the kitchen of a production company. That might just be the weirdest part of this tournament altogether.
The Summit is ongoing today and the rest of this weekend. You can watch it on Twitch.