It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the top entries on a list of the highest prize pool-earning esports players for 2021 are the top three teams from this year’s Dota 2 International, or TI10. T110’s unbelievably massive $40 million prize pool was far and away much higher than any other event this year and even higher than previous TIs.
With that being said, here are the highest-earning esports players of 2021 in terms of prize pool winnings.
Team Spirit’s Dota 2 roster – $3.68 million per player
- Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk
- Alexander “TORONTOTOKYO” Khertek
- Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov
- Miroslaw “Mira” Kolpakov
- Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov
Team Spirit’s triumph at TI10 was nothing short of spectacular. The CIS roster had been signed by Spirit less than a year prior and hadn’t accomplished much before their TI10 run. They didn’t even earn enough DPC points to be invited, they had to qualify through the Eastern European qualifier. At the event, they narrowly qualified for an upper bracket spot and were immediately sent down to the lower bracket by Invictus Gaming. But then, Spirit went on a miraculous run through the grand finals with a five-game win over PSG.LGD.
For everyone on the team except Miposhka, their $3.68 million take home this year represents over 99 percent of their total lifetime earnings, according to Esports Earnings. That number still makes up over 93 percent of Miposhka’s total prize pool payouts, though.
PSG.LGD’s Dota 2 roster – $1.16 million per player
- Wang “Ame” Chunyu
- Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang
- Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
- Zhao “XinQ” Zixing
- Zhang “y`” Yiping
PSG.LGD’s near-flawless run at TI10 may have resulted in a heartbreaking end, but the players can feel a little better looking at their $1.1 million payouts. The team out of China can be considered one of the best Dota 2 squads of the year with wins at the WePlay AniMajor and the OGA Dota Pit Invitational under their belts.
The second-place finish at TI10 pushes Ame, Faith_bian, and y’ into the over $3 million lifetime earnings category. Ame is the highest lifetime earning Dota 2 player without a TI win (two second-place finishes, one third, and one fourth).
Team Secret’s Dota 2 roster – $742,000 per player
- Lasse Aukusti “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
- Michał “Nisha” Jankowski
- Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
- Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
- Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
The members of Team Secret are no strangers to winning. The veteran roster of familiar Dota 2 faces came into TI10 with high hopes, with MATUMBAMAN and Puppey each looking to repeat as champions and zai trying to finally claim the Aegis that’s eluded him for so long. They fell short this year, losing to Spirit in the lower bracket finals. But $720,000 for a third-place finish isn’t too shabby of a consolation prize.
With that result, MATUMBAMAN moves into the No. 9 position in all-time earnings for Dota 2 with $4.5 million total ($2.1 million coming from Secret’s TI7 win alongside Puppey). Zai became the second-highest earning Dota 2 player without a TI win behind the previously mentioned Ame.
Natus Vincere’s CS:GO roster – $687,000 per player
- Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
- Denis “electronic” Sharipov
- Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhaylov
- Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy
- Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi
Finally, we get some names that aren’t Dota 2 players in the reigning CS:GO Major champions Na’Vi. This was the best year on record for the Na’Vi CS:GO division with first-place finishes (and big prize payouts) at the BLAST Global Final, IEM Cologne, and, of course, the PGL Stockholm Major. Na’Vi as a whole took home $600,000 from BLAST, $400,000 from Cologne, $1 million from Stockholm, and an extra million from completing the IEM Grand Slam via their Cologne victory, plus a smattering of other first-place finishes.
For one of the game’s all-time greats in s1mple, his 2021 winnings represent just over 50 percent of his lifetime earnings. Conversely, his rookie teammate b1t’s take home represents over 97 percent of his lifetime earnings in his young career.