On June 9, the opening ceremony of Epicenter: Dota 2 took place in VTB Ice Palace in Moscow. The EPICENTER tournament has attracted thousands of viewers who came to watch the world’s ten best teams fight for the $500,000 prize pool.

Dota 2 participant Artour “Arteezy” Babaev who plays for the Evil Geniuses team. Artour is of Russian-Armenian descent and lives in Canada with his parents. He has been playing video games since his childhood.

He first heard about Dota 2 in 2012 when he watched a video of one participant named Danil “Dendi” Ishutin.

“I watched a video, I think it was after The International or The International 2, Dendi released a video how he was playing on the mid lane. I watched this video and something hit my head or something! I realized that it was what I wanted to do. I remember I said out loud: ‘I want to be the best mid player,’ so I started right away,” Babaev said.

After that there was no looking back for him. He used to wake up early in the morning to play before going to school. He was active in North American leagues and played in the most popular forums.

“I was thinking at the time when I was going to the 12th grade, how I could play Dota competitively. This really helped me and I was able to join Evil Geniuses,” the participant said.

Talking about the sacrifices he had to make for his passion of gaming, Babaev said, “I had really close friends. I really miss a chance to hang out with them, to go to parties or simply to spend time with them. I guess socially I wasn’t really active. My parents thought I should go out but when I committed to Dota, I barely went out.”

Babaev has made over $1 million in his total career earnings, he has bought a house for his parents and he actively tours a lot for various e-sports conventions.

Currently, Babaev is in Moscow for the EPICENTER: Dota 2. On Saturday the winners of the quarterfinals are set to fight against the group winners in the semifinals.

The group stage held on June 4-7 determined which teams would enter the grand finale. The play-off features six teams.

The opening ceremony on Sunday will be followed by a spectacular match and the cosplay  show final.

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