Syed “SumaiL” Hassan is professional Dota 2’s “young prodigy”. At 20 years old Hassan has already placed first at The International 2015 (TI) and finished third at TI6 and TI8.
Not only is he one of the youngest players to enter the scene, he is also the youngest esports professional to cross a million dollars in prize money. Tournament winnings alone have net Hassan over 3.5 million dollars, making him one of the most successful esport athletes in the world.
SumaiL began his journey at 8 years old, playing out of the local internet cafes in Pakistan. His brother and future Dota professional, Yawar “YawaR” Hassan, frequently accompanied him. By the age of 13 SumaiL became a complete Dota fanatic, going so far as to sell his bike to afford more hours in the cafe.
In 2012 the Hassan family relocated to the United States. Here SumaiL competed in the North American Elite League, grinding the game for an average of 10 hours a day. His efforts quickly made him the highest rated player in the league.
The young teen’s insane work ethic and uniquely aggressive midlane playstyle attracted the community’s attention. Many referred to SumaiL as the best unsigned North American talent of his time.
Mid-Lane star stumbles through debut
In early 2015 a tier 1 team named Evil Geniuses (EG) lost their mid laner and one of the best players in the world, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev. The team’s offlaner, Saahil “Universe” Arora, convinced EG to take a gamble on SumaiL and sign him to replace Arteezy, despite his lack of actual team experience.
EG’s first major debut for the new roster was at the Dota 2 League Season 5 finals. Arteezy’s absence left some massive shoes to be filled and the team performed poorly as a result.
SumaiL received the harshest blows from critics with some claiming he should have never been signed in the first place.
SumaiL’s aggression improves EG momentum
EG made their comeback a month later at the Dota 2 Asia Championships.
The team decided to double down on SumaiL and center the hero drafts around him. SumaiL used this support to famously bring out a Eul’s Scepter of Divinity Shadow Fiend build.
This build transforms Shadow Fiend into a powerful nuker which meshes perfectly with SumaiL’s aggressive playstyle. Utilizing their newfound tactics EG blitzed through groups and making the top 4 with a 11–4 record.
The team’s momentum continued until they lost to Vici Gaming (VG) 2–0 in the upper bracket finals. As a result EG played Team Secret, the tournament favorites, in the lower bracket finals.
Against all expectations EG 2–0’d Team Secret to claim a rematch against VG in the grand finals. During this match SumaiL played an insane series on Storm Spirit, ending every game with dominant stat lines.
Hassan’s exceptional gameplay paved the way for EG to win the tournament and established himself as one of the best mid laners in the game.
An international champion
In the following months SumaiL entered TI5 with EG as the tournament favorites alongside Team Secret. Team Secret ended up choking early in the tournament and finished in an unexpected 8th place.
This allowed EG to freely roll through to the upper bracket finals where they faced “Chinese Dota Elite Community” (CDEC) Gaming. CDEC managed to take a 2–0 upset victory and knock EG into the lower bracket finals.
EG quickly stomped their lower bracket opponents, LGD Gaming, and returned to the grand finals for a rematch against CDEC. SumaiL came in clutch for EG yet again, playing another insane series on his signature Storm Spirit to carry his team to a 3–1 victory.
The win cemented 16 year old SumaiL as the youngest player to win an International. In addition, EG went home with over 6.5 million dollars as prize money, making Hassan an instant millionaire.
SumaiL played with EG for the next 3 years placing third in the Frankfurt Major 2015 and the Shanghai Major 2016. EG automatically qualified for TI6 and stomped their way through the group stages.
Despite playing well all tournament long the team choked against Wings Gaming in the upper bracket final and lost 2–0. EG then lost again and got knocked out in the lower bracket finals by Digital Chaos, finishing the tournament in third place.
Following TI6, SumaiL next played at TI8 with a shuffled EG roster which caused them to place third again after being defeated by LGD gaming. TI9 saw even worse results for EG as they struggled to leave groups and got knocked out early in the double elimination bracket.
In September 2019 SumaiL left the Evil Geniuses roster. He then joined Quincy Crew (QC) with his brother YawaR in early October.
Many were eager to see how SumaiL would perform on a team that wasn’t EG. The new roster ultimately played together for only 2 weeks during the Dota Pro Circuit Season qualifiers and saw mediocre results.
SumaiL left immediately afterwards. QC’s manager later tweeted that SumaiL simply did not feel like he fit well with the team.
Despite his free agent status, SumaiL is only 20 years old with the potential for a much longer career.
SumaiL has stated that he has no plans to retire, or even taking a break, and intends to get back to competing as soon as possible. With a TI win and two more TI placements under his belt he’s proven himself to be the gold standard for mid lane talent in Dota 2.
However, the most important factors in SumaiL’s search for another TI-ready team will be his reputation as a teammate and his capability to operate outside EG.
Written by Jash Rai
Originally published at www.esportznetwork.com on October 22, 2019.