KuroKy Dota 2: How He Became a Dota 2 Champion

by Fabio

Long before Dota 2 was released, Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi was already deeply invested into competitive, electronic sports. His first experience was made in the original DotA, where he already played for mousesports. When Dota 2 came around the corner, he joined most competitive players and made the transition to the new game. Ever since then, KuroKy Dota 2 has been an key player and has led his teams to success over many years. But before that, he had to start a long grind to the top. 

KuroKy Dota 2: His First Professional Teams

Kuro has actually played for quite a long list of notable esports organizations. His first professional team in Dota 2 was Virtus.pro as early as 2012, which he quickly abandoned in favor of mousesports. There, he played alongside Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier for a short amount of time. The team then left, only to be re-signed by mousesports months later. 

KuroKy Dota 2 playing for Natus Vincere in 2014 (via Liquipedia)
KuroKy Dota 2 playing for Natus Vincere in 2014 (via Liquipedia)

KuroKy would continue to play in unstable rosters and transfer between organizations. In 2013, he finally managed to secure a stable footing in Natus Vincere, where he remained for over a year. With this squad, he achieved a second-place finish at the International 2013. However, following disappointing results at TI4, he left the team in favor of Team Secret. 

This squad immediately clicked and within a year, they managed to secure seven notable tournament victories. Up until the Summer of 2015, Kuro had won XMG Captains Draft, The Summit 3, MarsTV Dota 2 League and, most importantly, ESL One Frankfurt. This was an especially remarkable result, considering that the teams there were very much of the same caliber as those who would attend TI5. Unfortunately, The International 2015 spelled the end for this roster, as the team went out much too early considering their recent success. 

But this time, KuroKy Dota 2 didn’t immediately transfer to the next organization. Instead, he took his time and assembled a roster of notable European players. It wouldn’t take long for them to be picked up by one of the biggest clubs in esports, Team Liquid. This team would go on to dominate the international scene for quite some time, before winning the most important trophy that Dota 2 has to offer.

KuroKy Dota 2: All Eyes On Him at TI7

Liquid had been a strong international contender for quite some time now. In fact, the team had already won four high-profile events in the first half of 2017. Now, at The International, all eyes were on them to win the big trophy. 

In the group stage, Liquid weren’t exactly a dominant force. While they did top their group, they gave up a few key rounds. They split games with Evil Geniuses (who at that time fielded Artour “Arteezy” Babaev) and LGD, which wasn’t a great sign – especially considering the teams from the other group. So when Team Liquid and KuroKy went into the playoffs, all eyes were on them to perform well.

Invictus Gaming awaited them in the upper bracket. This should have been feasible for the team, but nervousness started to set in after Liquid lost the first game in just 30 minutes. While they did manage to claw one round back, they lost their first match-up in the upper bracket. From there on, there was no room for failure, since they now were in the lower bracket of the event. Losing meant exiting the tournament. Again, Team Liquid lost the first game against their new opponent, Team Secret. The KuroKy Dota 2 squad were only hanging by a thread. Once heralded as the potential TI winner, they were now one game away from being eliminated entirely.

Maybe this pressure helped them focus, or maybe they felt like they had nothing to lose. Suddenly, they turned on beast mode and quickly dispatched of Team Secret. In the following encounter, they would dominate Team Empire, Virtus.pro, Team LGD and LGD.FY, before meeting Newbee in the Grand Finals of The International 2017.

KuroKy Dota 2: Winning The International

There, they achieved a historic victory over a world-class team. Beating them 3-0, they secured the Aegis of Champions. For KuroKy, it was the greatest moment of his professional career. He had worked so hard towards acquiring this trophy – and now it rested firmly in his hands. In a lengthy post on his personal blog, KuroKy Dota 2 describes his work and the feelings of competing on the biggest stages of the world. 

“At The International, it’s like you’re playing in the Super Bowl over and over. The competition never lets up and you have thousands watching your every move in a packed arena and millions more streaming the action around the globe.”

KuroKy Dota 2: What It Takes to Become a Champion

Kuro is first and foremost a team player. Just as there is no “I” in “team”, there was no KuroKy in Team Liquid. At least not in the sense of a player who wanted to have as many kills as possible. As the hard support, he was committed to helping his players develop and flourish in each and every game. In Dota 2, that means setting your own progress back. The core heroes require virtually all of the farming and during teamfights, they must be kept alive at all costs. But beyond just in-game tactics, there is a whole other level of commitment that the players have to make between each other.

Leadership, cooperation and chemistry — those are ultimately what define a champion. Do your team members trust each other? Are they going to be at each other’s throats after a bad loss? Will you be able to pick each other up when someone misses a gank or gets caught out of position? When you inevitably do fall behind, can you remain optimistic, or will your team fold from negativity? Of course all of this might sound cliché, but anyone who has competed at this level will understand the truth behind it. You can have the highest MMR in the world, but if you can’t play as a unit, you’re doomed.

It would be foolish to measure KuroKy Dota 2 by his in-game figures. His competence in the game and as a leader are apparent through his teams’ success. When all the parts are running in sync, one can create a championship-winning squad. And Kuro has certainly done that.

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KuroKy Dota 2 with his new team, Nigma (via Liquipedia)
KuroKy Dota 2 with his new team, Nigma (via Liquipedia)

KuroKy Dota 2: What Does the Future Hold?

While the team never quite managed to build on their TI performance, they have remained a force to be reckoned with. Recently, they were runners-up at The International 2019, only falling short to OG. After years of competing for the same organization, KuroKy has left Team Liquid behind. Following his dream of creating a player-owned organization, he founded his own team, Nigma. The entire roster transferred over and are now looking to connect to their past performance. 

The star-player has admitted to losing motivation after their TI win. What do you do when you have already achieved the highest possible trophy in the game? KuroKy pondered over the question after their monumental victory and, finally, he came to a conclusion:

In the days afterwards, I sat at home, trying to figure out what’s next. Eventually I turned my obsession towards another goal: Winning the next International.

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