Continuing on our series of the 4 players attending their 8th TI we have Kuro ‘Kuroky’ Salehi Takhasomi, who much like Puppey, is a name known to all throughout the Dota 2 community. Kuro’s long haul to the top has been met with many bumps – but having played among the greats of Dota 2, he has never faltered.
Kuroky – Where It All Begins – DotA
Kuro requires little introduction – the German now 25-year-old has been around the Dota 2 scene from the get go but it all started many years ago in DotA where he joined mousesports, which is where Kuro had his first run-in with Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov, a union that would recur every so often between the two players. After this Kuro would move on to KS.int, once again joining Puppey and a host of other well-known faces and names amongst the DotA community. Having made a name for himself in DotA, Dota 2 would soon be where his attention turned towards.
Dota 2 – A Less-Than-Perfect Beginning
The early days of Dota 2 for Kuro did not see much success – his debut at The International 2011 with the GG.net team saw them come last after losing all 3 of their Group Stage games before being eliminated in the lower bracket in their opening game. The team featured mainly German players such as Rene ‘Kebap’ Warner and Kuro but ultimately, even on their home turf, they did not get very far. From there Kuro would bounce around to a few smaller teams before landing at the doorstep of Virtus.pro in 2012. The team hoped to make it into TI2 but were thwarted by Kuro’s ex-DotA team, mousesports. However, with TI2 being the first held in North America, players would begin to see VISA issues becoming a problem and thus mousesports invited Kuro to replace one of their teammates. Mouse were not actually a part of TI2 originally, but once again, due to VISA problems, another team’s misfortune was Kuro’s gain and he made it into his 2nd TI. Unfortunately for the German, nothing improved at the main event – and mousesports saw themselves eliminated in their opening lower bracket game.
While Kuro did not leave the team straight away, his biggest break early in Dota 2 was just around the corner where he was reunited with Puppey as he joined Natus Vincere. This was Kuro’s first major step on his path to greatness as Na’Vi would take 2nd place in an unforgettable TI3 grand final against [A]lliance. Sadly, after this, was when Na’Vi began to crumble and Kuro departed shortly after a disappointing TI4 – and with Puppey once again at his side, Team Secret was formed.
Kuro’s Team Secret days seemed extremely promising with the team’s All-Star roster but it wasn’t to be – the team would suffer a 7th/8th place finish at TI5 and their only victory was at ESL One Frankfurt 2015 just prior to TI. Following this disappointing finish, Kuro exited Secret, leaving Puppey behind once last time and opted to form a new team called ‘5Jungz”, who would soon become the team we now know and love, Team Liquid.
Their promising start is what got them picked up by the Liquid organization and 2016 would see them moving forward with a victory at EPICENTER over Newbee – the Chinese squad who were on a 29-0-win streak. But once again, TI would be his downfall and he would see his team finish in 7th/8th place again. But this time he was not about to change squads or leave Liquid behind. 2017 proved to be the year of Liquid. While the early parts looked terrible for them, being eliminated from DAC 2017 very early on, the year took a huge swing. EPICENTER 2017 would see Liquid crush everyone in their path to retain their title from the previous year before they entered The International 2017.
TI7 was definitely the highest point for Kuro and Team Liquid who made a dominating lower bracket run after being dropped from the upper bracket by Invictus Gaming. Liquid would eliminate the likes of Secret, Virtus.pro, LGD and LFY before coming up against Newbee in the grand finals. It was a massacre and In what would be the final game of the event, Kuro on a Lich alongside his squad would rip through their Chinese opponents. Kuroky finally would hoist the Aegis of Champions high as Liquid claimed the first ever 3-0 sweep seen at The International.
After winning TI7, Kuro moved on into the DPC season, hoping to continue Liquid’s dominance – but they were met with a string of 2nd – 4th place finishes at most Majors which included losing their EPICENTER crown to PSG.LGD. But one thing remained for Kuroky for the season and he was not going to let a Major trophy evade him. The final Major of the DPC came, the China Dota 2 Supermajor, and he was prepared. The team dropped only a single game in the group stages before going unbeaten all the way through to the spectacular Grand Finals – where they would claim a 3-2 victory over Virtus.pro and Kuroky would be crowned with his first Major victory outside of The International.
Kuroky performances at The International by year:
The International 2011: Thirteenth-Sixteenth Place (Gosugamers.net)
The International 2012: Thirteenth-Sixteenth Place (mousesports)
The International 2013: Second Place (Na’Vi)
The International 2014: Seventh/Eight Place (Na’Vi)
The International 2015: Seventh/Eight Place (Team Secret)
The International 2016: Seventh/Eight Place (Team Liquid)
The International 2017: First Place (Team Liquid)
Kuroky returns to The International 2018, hoping to continue Team Liquid’s fantastic form at the end of the DPC season and be the first player to raise the Aegis of Champions twice. With 17 other teams standing in his way and a plethora of players wanting to claim glory for themselves and their teams, Kuro will definitely have a tough TI ahead of him.
His Rubick plays are still considered some of the absolute best in the world and we saw copious amounts of them during his time with Na’Vi. From one great moment where he almost raised the Aegis in 2013, through many years of sub-par performances, Kuroky has been a leader, magnificent player and proud captain – giving every bit of himself to Dota 2 and ultimately having it pay off in the biggest way possible. Can he lead Liquid to a second TI championship? Only time will tell as TI8 approaches.