SumaiL starts the next chapter of his career with OG
At just 16 years old SumaiL won The International. Now four years later he joins the team that has dominated the competition in recent times to try and win another Aegis of Champions.
When it comes to superstars of Dota they don’t come much bigger than Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan – or more prodigal. At just 15 years old he joined Evil Geniuses, one of the biggest esports teams in the world, as a complete unknown and turned out to be one of the most naturally talented Dota players ever seen. In his rookie season he won the two biggest events in the world, the Dota Asia Championship and The International 5, and was heralded as the leader of a new generation of Dota talent that would revolutionise the game.
While the subsequent years weren't quite as successful, he stayed with the same organisation with multiple teams being built around him as the star. Every year he made it to TI, with some mixed results including multiple top-three finishes, and won a number of large tournaments with several different rosters, all while still being one of the youngest players in the scene. His support from the fans has never wavered and the respect he commands is impressive.
But this off-season he made a change, initially joining a team alongside his brother Yawar ‘YawaR’ Hassan and other top North American talent hoping to rise to the top of the Dota scene once again. On paper it looked like a pretty strong line-up, and the thought of the two brothers playing together was very exciting, but it didn’t work out and, just a few weeks after the team started, SumaiL decided to leave. “The fit wasn't right, there were a lot of role swaps and the synergy just wasn't there,” he says.
This left one of the best players in the world without a team when most of the top-level organisations had already settled on their rosters for the upcoming season. Many players would perhaps have panicked at being in this position, but SumaiL knew that he only wanted to play with a handful of players, and fortunately for him one of those players came knocking on his door.
“After I left that team I only wanted to play with one of three captains in West and luckily OG was one of them and invited me to join them,” says SumaiL. “I wanted to play with Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein and I got the opportunity to do that. I like the way the team is right now, I’m wishing for the best.”
He joins an OG roster rebuilding after back-to-back TI wins – this week it was announced that star player Anathan ‘ana’ Pham will be sitting out the season, while Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka is permanently retiring from pro Dota – and he will certainly bring a lot to the team. But there is one sticking point.
I'll be playing carry because I feel like it fits my mindset more
The two-time TI champion mid player Topias Miikka ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen is sticking around on OG, and has no plans to give up the mid role that he's excelled in over the past two years. This means that SumaiL, one of the greatest mids the game has ever seen, is moving to a new position, but it’s one that he is happy with and wants to play. “I'll be playing carry because I feel like it fits my mindset more,” he says.
Moving away from the mid lane is something SumaiL has done before with mixed results, but he's confident that playing the one position on OG will be the perfect fit for him. He has an incredible mid player to work with, and some of the best supports the game has ever seen to keep him safe until the can grow into the most-farmed player in the match and take over the game.
It's definitely possible to win another TI and I'm pretty positive going into this season with the boys
In fact, the team SumaiL has around him seems to be one of the strongest he's ever been a part of, with superstar players in every single position. If you were trying to come up with a Dota 2 dream team, you probably wouldn’t even put the new OG roster together due to (on paper) overlapping roles. But here we are, with five of the best players the world has ever seen joining forces to take a shot at becoming back-to-back-to-back world champions, and that's what SumaiL is aiming for.
“It's definitely possible to win another TI and I'm pretty positive going into this season with the boys,” says SumaiL. “It’s too early to say anything really, but there’s chill vibes right now – new team, new mindset. It's a good mix of skills and strats, and on paper it looks like a great roster.”
Another TI win for both Sumail and the OG organisation is clearly what everyone's hoping for and something SumaiL has been wanting for quite some time. After getting a taste of that success in his rookie season, he's been trying to get back to that point ever since, but that isn’t all he is looking to achieve in the world of Dota. His career is already illustrious, but SumaiL plans to keep adding to his legacy for some time to come, even if he isn’t exactly sure just how that will play out.
“I can't say for certain [what the rest of my career will look like], but when I just don't enjoy playing the game is the day I will stop. Age or time won't affect my decision in that regard,” he says.
With such an impressive career full of achievements, world firsts and a TI win, SumaiL brings a ton of experience with him to OG. He may only be 20 years old, but he is already more experienced than many other top players, and that will be invaluable when playing with OG. Of course with experience comes hindsight, and SumaiL is now starting to look back on things he could have done differently. With such success there aren't too many, but he says if he could have done one thing differently in his career it would have been to “not play Brewmaster in game three against Digital Chaos at TI6.” It’s clear the game still sticks in his mind, but another TI win, this time with OG, might make that hurt a little less. Only time will tell.