The weekend before last, the western world’s finest Dota 2 players clashed in the climactic finals of the International 3’s qualifying stage.
Around the same time, in a pub in Kentish Town, 100 eSports fans were getting monumentally, hopelessly drunk.
My preliminary findings suggest a direct correlation between the two.
The event was the latest in the growing trend for ‘pubstomping’ - that is, scouting out a likely bar and taking it over for the dual purposes of consuming all the alcohol therein and watching eSports played at a ludicrously high level (though not before politely ringing the publican to clear the heist with them first, of course).
This one was hosted by Dota community notables Pyrion Flax and CyborgMatt at the behest of GD Studio. By all accounts, it turned London’s Assembly House pub inside-out: so that its innards resembled a quivering manifestation of pure, disgusting joy.
The organisers estimated that over 100 spectators walked through the House’s door over the course of the day - some at the end of long trips from the US and parts of Europe nowhere near London. Dota caster Pyrion Flax was quite taken aback:
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, it’s amazing,” he said. “The last pubstomp we did didn’t even have 60 people, let alone a hundred. It’s been a great success and I would love to do it again.”
You might expect the whole affair to have bewildered the staff, but then you don’t know assistant pub manager Lois Axson, veteran of more eSports gatherings than you’ve seen Zerg rushes. Even so, she was surprised by the amount of change that passed through the pub’s tills during the event.
“We didn’t think it would be as busy as it was. It resulted in one of our highest takings on a Sunday ever.” said Lois. “We regularly hold Starcraft 2 events and they’re always such nice people."
“If we were to hold another Dota 2 event we would definitely look to get some more room in the pub and probably a lot more beer while we’re at it.”
So there we have it: in a straight fight between Dota heads and all the drink in London, the booze gives out first. We think more bars ought to open nights like these; don’t you?
Additional reporting by Jeremy Peel.