As you all probably know by now, Sinister 5 were the first MGO in South Africa to start paying their players salaries, and with the recent acquisitions of Adam ‘Adastam’ Moore and Dennis ‘Dota-and-Die’ Connellan they are set to become a real force in the local Dota 2 scene.
The rise of Sinister 5’s Dota side has been meteoric to say the least. They began life in VS Gaming’s second division and quickly showed they were meant for bigger and better things by qualifying for the Mega 8 Winter Cup alongside the best teams in the country.
We asked Ivaylo Tzanev, owner of Sinister 5, how they went from not existent to one of the top teams in South Africa in a matter of months.
“Passion, hands on attitude, structure, time investment, financial investment, committed players, love of competing, unity, culture and a professional coach.”
That’s certainly quite a list, you might be thinking. And you’d be right, we might tell you. But according to Ivaylo it’s just the beginning.
“Even though there is room for improvement on all those factors, the combination has given us a good start. We are beginning to feel the support of more and more fans as well, which fuels our determination.”
That determination fire will undoubtedly be fueled even more with Adastam and Dota-and-Die, previously of xTc Gaming, joining the Sinister 5 team. At the very least their fan base just grew by one person, because wherever Adastam goes his biggest fan will be there to support him. Isn’t that right, Sargon?
While it’s always a good idea to sign the best talent when you can, it feels like there is far more to Adastam and Dota-and-Die joining Sinister 5 than meets the eye. Almost like they are a step closer to completing their puzzle.
“They will add character and experience to the team. Their most valuable attribute though, would be their commitment and ambition to achieve. We now have five players who share the MGO’s enormous goals and dreams.
Five players who are not afraid to work hard and make their esports careers a priority. In terms of commitment and expectations, they had been playing socially up to now. Today, they start playing professionally.”
Dayuuuum. That’s quite a statement. And a pretty good indication of Sinister 5’s ambitions. They’re not here to play games, although technically that is what they’re doing, they’re here to be one of the best MGOs in the country. But are they ready to take on WRG for the mantle of best Dota team in South Africa?
“Unfortunately, me thinking so won’t make it happen, but you would be silly to bet against it…”
Ah, we really do enjoy a bit of fighting talk and ambition, which Sinister 5 clearly have in spades.
They were the first MGO in South Africa to offer their players a monthly salary, but they never told anyone about it, leaving Goliath Gaming to launch with one hell of a bang when they announced they would be paying their players.
So why did Sinister 5 never speak up? Well, quite simply, they thought all the Masters teams were already paying their players. But they aren’t bitter about not getting the praise they probably deserved.
“We were pleased that more MGOs were being formed that take esports as seriously as we do. It all contributes to a healthy and sustainable esports ecosystem. Without it, none of this can exist.
As much as we love to compete, we admire and appreciate all that the owners of Goliath Gaming, BVD, xTc, WRG, Energy, APG, Exdee, VNR, Ventus, DC are doing to positively contribute (some with limited resources).
Even Mythic, Hive, DUC, PewPew, SVG, I am not being fair to whoever I am not mentioning, because all of them play an important role. What about the players, the event organizers, the casters, the fans…we need everyone to be doing well, so esports South Africa can flourish.”
Amen. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. So we’ll move along swiftly, for a change. We do like to ramble. We’re doing it again. Okay, moving on.
Let’s talk about the practicalities of paying players a monthly wage in the current South African esports climate. While optimism in the industry is high, with big-money events popping up all over the place, the ability for the teams themselves to earn consistent income is still a major challenge. So how do Sinister 5 cope?
“Between all of us, we have quite a few spare kidneys, we should make it :P. If you are asking whether it is sustainable, we are in it for the long term.”
That would be a really great article: Esports MGO Owner Sells Kidney To Pay Players. Or if you like a good pun: Sinister Turn Of Event as MGO Owner Sells Kidney To Pay Players. If someone from Sinister 5 ever does do that, we’ll be right there at his hospital bedside for the interview.
Obviously, the fact that they pay their players has had a huge impact on recruitment for Sinister 5. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to play Dota? But be warned, all you prospective pros out there, with (probably not so great compared to other industries) salaries, come some great responsibilities.
“We feel like the salaries made the organization have a more professional stance. The truth is that many want to play for us, but few are willing to meet the high expectations and put in the hours of work. Obviously some have genuine reasons for that, like work or studies. We are looking for the brave, the mavericks, who would put esports as a priority.”
Sigh, if only we were 10 years younger and way, way better at Dota.
Jokes aside, though, we have been very impressed with Sinister 5, from their brisk rise through the ranks to their continued ambition to be the best and grow the local scene. We’re looking forward to seeing how it all plays out as the truly professional era of South African esports is ushered in.