Photos: Fans at The International 2016

Momma Moo

Veronica Hull, mother of Digital Chaos' David "Moo" Hull, said she's in awe of the Dota 2 experience. This is her first time watching her son play in person and said the event is much bigger than she thought.

"David's been into games since he was five and supports himself with the money he makes from gaming," she said. She allowed him to take six months off to professionally pursue gaming and within three weeks, he signed with a team. David now lives in the team house in Arizona.

"We had no idea how big this is and he's been very intelligent about it," she said.

Veronica, who lives outside Dayton, Ohio, understands the basic elements of the game but is surrounded by fans who are teaching her. She has two other children who are not gamers.

Not a fan of magic

Jamison Stone, a 31-year-old fantasy novelist, is a big Dota fan and plays about five days a week with his younger brother who lives in Massachusetts. Jamison says, "We've created a little community with other players, even one from Peru. I've met them in person."

He's spent almost $800 on his Compendium recently.

Fan of precision

Thea Steele, a 31-year-old Seattleite who works as a software engineer, is a big Dota fan and plays about five days a week.

Like the wind

Keegan Sullivan, a pizza shop manager in Sacramento, CA, poses for a portrait. Sullivan, 21, has invested about $400 to get to a level 100 Compendium in the game.

"It's good to know that you contributed and are part of the community."

Secret fan

Kevin Metan, 28, flew to Seattle from Germany to cheer on Team Secret. After an early elimination for Team Secret, Kevin then moved on to pulling for Team OG, the two-time Major champion. He met two friends from South Africa and one from Singapore at the Dota2 International competition in Seattle.

It is unclear for whom Metan is now cheering after OG's early exit.


Blake Seiber wore an American flag cape and shorts during the Dota 2 International competition in Seattle, WA on August 11, 2016 at Key Arena. Seiner, 19, is a student in Seattle.

His "Make America Great Again" hat, often seen in support of Donald Trump, doesn't reflect his political views. He's a Bernie supporter and is not planning to vote this election season.

He's here to support Evil Geniuses, an American team. He'll watch the Olympics next week and cheer on his country there as well, but for now, he's focused on The International.

An ancient for the ages

Reinessa is known for her online personality and helps host the TI6 Today morning show at The International, but she finds dressing up as one of the characters as another great way to be part of the event.

"Cosplaying is how I can give back to and be a fun part of the community," she said. "I'm not artistic in the traditional sense, so this my version of fan art! The [cosplay] competition lets us display our hard work and be a part of an event we all dream about all year long."

In addition to Ancient Apparition, she is also competing in the cosplay competition as Rubick, and she spent a great deal of effort making the costumes.

"[Ancient Apparition] was a year of mental work to figure out the concept, [then] about a month of five-to-six hours a week to make it. The Rubick I'm in the contest for was about three weeks of six-to-seven hours a week to make."

Stay frosty

Eighteen-year-old Sammy Abikoff plays about five Dota 2 matches per day and came to the tournament from Washington, D.C. with her friend Josh Evans, left.


Raffi Kurbe, 21, from Los Angeles, CA made the trip to celebrate the players as heroes and celebrities.

Raffi says, "The nerd community has grown together throughout all these years in order to establish our heroes. Not all of us can play sports. Personally, I have a leg injury. I can't run for a long distance. I used to look up to Kobe. I lost the love of the sport but I sat in front of the computer all the time. I want these people to represent us as a group."

Best friends

Jen Miyashiro (left) sits with her best friend Brittani Wargin to watch The International on the lawn outside of KeyArena. Best friends since high school, Jen introduced Brittani to Dota2. Brittani admits she doesn't like playing but really enjoys watching the competition.


Michael Dureska, 21, stands at a food truck outside KeyArena. Dureska got help from his mom when making his costume.

Living in Illinois, he's pulling hard for Team Evil Geniuses as they are the American team. "It becomes more fun when it's a battle between two countries and not just [two teams]."

Staging a comeback

Andrei Eremenco, 23, works with his dad on construction and remolding projects.

"This is the highlight of the year," says Eremenco. "It's a big deal living close to the biggest tournament of the game that I love. It's relaxing to watch. It's a departure from yourself and from the real world. I don't have to talk to people every day and get dirty on a construction site."