The Life and Times of KuroKy – Part 1

Helena Kristiansson ESL One Birmingham Kuro Ky
Kuro Salehi Takhasomi – KuroKy (Image credit: ESL/Helena Kristiansson)

What is it that sets a leader apart from the masses? Talent? Luck? Skill? We’ll probably never know for sure, but we can recognize a good one when we see them. Well, Dota 2 player Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi proved himself to be one of them – but not without troubles on his journey there. This week in our two-part series, we take a look at his tale.

The Stats

Kuro Salehi Takhasomi, better known as KuroKy, is an Iranian-born and German-raised Dota 2 player that made his first big break in 2013 when he joined team Natus Vincere and came in second at that year’s The International.

He jumped team several times – among others, he was with Team Liquid, and mousesports. Since 2019, the talented player has been with Nigma. One of the definite highlights of his career was his win of the International in 2017, at the time with Team Liquid.

He's won millions of dollars throughout his career so far, making him one of the most high-earning esports pros in the world – he is also one of very few Dota 2 pros to have participated in every International to date.

KuroKy is more than his CV though – here is his story.

KuroKy. (Image credit: Team Liquid)

The Story

Born in Iran, KuroKy was raised in Berlin – making him one of THE names in German esports. That didn’t happen overnight, though… in fact, the early stages of his esports careers were anything but a success.

Passion for the game isn’t enough to make someone an esports player – as most fans can attest to. It takes more than that, and KuroKy had plenty of time to develop that "it"… even if it wasn’t always by choice. Suffering from a medical condition from a young age prevented him from going out and playing sports the way many of his peers did – in other words, it laid the groundwork for an inside hobby – Dota.

The game allowed him to live out his competitive side, despite his physical challenges, and like so many, it managed to draw him into playing it – a lot. By the time he was a teenager, he was already among the better players out there, but it wasn’t until he was 16 and joined mousesports that his career actually began.

Thrill of the Competition

In interviews, KuroKy has said that one of the big reasons he plays isn’t for money, fame, or even glory, but just because he likes the thrill of being challenged and competing against others. Known for playing Mirana and Morphling as well as his versatile plays, he didn’t just put himself on the map, but his team as well.

He won the GosuGamers "Carry of the year" award in his very first year of competing on a team – and that with an amazing 52% of the votes. It seemed he was destined to shoot straight to the top – and he had help on the way.

During the early days of his career, he befriended Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, an Estonian Dota 2 pro. They bonded over their love of the game, and shared attitude towards playing it… and decided to form their own team, called KingSurf International in 2009.

Our mindset looked like this: "Let's make the best gank-team in the history!" This was the beginning of, where Puppey took the place of a captain, and we started to execute our ideas and started to show the world what we are capable of.

Despite being new on the circuit and one of their players having to sit out their first competition due to visa issues, dominated the Dota League Masters 2009. Under the leadership of Puppey, Kingsurf became one of the top teams in the European circuit – but by the end of the year, KuroKy had lost his drive and switched teams to Meet Your Makers.

A few short months of success later, a rather tragic loss at SMM 2009 led to him leaving the team once again – to join back up with his old friend Puppey, who had formed a new team.

Hopping teams

It wasn’t to be, though – the new squad wasn’t up to Puppey’s standards, and KuroKy ended up taking an offer from Natus Vincere, a top team in the Dota world. It was nearly the end of KuroKy’s esports career as he didn’t want to continue playing at all – it was the other players on the team that motivated him to stay on as their leader.

It worked – his team made the jump to Dota 2 and eventually participated in The International 2011… where they failed to win even a single match. A rather dejecting experience for the competitive KuroKy that led to him taking a break for almost half a year.

In 2012, his passion for competition brought him back, with a new team yet again. 2012, he tried to qualify with Virtus.Pro for that year’s International, without success. The team failed to qualify.

A name from KuroKy’s past saved the day though – his first team mousesports needed a stand-in for the event and invited him. He accepted, and found his passion for Dota 2 yet again, despite his team landing in the lowest bracket at TI. He stuck with mousesports for the rest of the year, until once again, Puppey recruited him for his team.

KuroKy joined Natus Vincere, and together with Puppey, they managed to fight their way through the next events, only to come in second to Alliance at the third TI. Widely considered one of the best series ever played, it wasn’t so much as a loss for NaVi as it was being the second winner – and it proved that KuroKy belonged in the Dota pro scene.

What KuroKy's fans might not know is that he gave his portion of the TI winnings – over $120.000 – to his parents, who had supported him along his way.

This act of generosity wasn’t the end, though – far from it. Come back for the rest of KuroKy’s story in The life and times of KuroKy – Part 2.

And if you like reading about the best and brightest in esports, check out our other pieces in our Life and Times series:


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