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So Valve invited a South African Dota 2 expert to The International V

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Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon. If you think that is impressive, Ben “Noxville’ Steenhuisen is the first person from the African continent to receive an invite from Valve to attend the annual “The International” tournament. Okay, maybe it's not as impressive as the "giant leap for mankind", but it is a giant leap for South African eSports.

No, he won’t be competing in the tournament. Looking at the current state of competitive Dota 2 in South Africa, it will be a very long time before a local team competes on that level. Noxville will be heading to the United States, Seattle to attend The International V (TI5), the biggest e-Sports tournament with a prize pool over $15 million and still climbing. Noxville will work alongside prominent eSports personalities like TobiWan, the eccentric Dota 2 commentator. 

So why and for what purpose did Valve invite Noxville to one of the biggest eSports events of the year? The "why" requires a bit of an explanation, the "what for" is easy; he'll do the statistics preparation documents for the English casters and in-game statistics via the match live streams. If you know your Dota 2 lingo, he'll be the "Statsman". Noxville will cover the whole tournament and leaves for Seattle on 22/23 July. The International V takes place from 3 - 8 August.

Why Noxville?

Noxville is arguably the most knowledgeable South African Dota 2 caster. He writes for an international magazine called, l33t Magazine as a columnist focusing on statistical analysis of professional Dota 2 games. You can check out some of his latest work entitled “Radiant vs. Dire - Who has the advantage”. Furthermore, he has been working as a Dota stats-related writer / coder for the past few years. He is the Editor of datDota Blog and does in-game stats for various tournaments, most noticeably The Summit 3 and the DreamLeague finals.

Join me for a talk with Noxville about his TI5 invitation.

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Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen sitting on the left; contemplating some new Dota 2 Metagame stats.

Who is the player and eSports personality you look forward to meeting the most and why?

This is such a hard question. I’d think the player I’d like to meet the most is Arteezy (to see how his Twitter persona compares to him IRL) - and he seems like a good person to hang out with. In terms of personalities, probably Bruno and Nahaz!

How did you get invited to TI5?

So for a while I’ve been working with Scant doing a bunch of stats preparation documents for casters & studios (mainly at LAN events). I got asked to do The Summit 3 in-game stats (since the BTS in-house statsman was handling all the production), and then I’ve worked on a bunch of other events including the DreamLeague finals.

Flying to Seattle and staying there is quite expensive, who is covering the cost?

Valve covers all that for all the attendees. I leave around the 22nd/23rd.

How much pressure is there on a "Statsman" to perform during live games?

Not that much. We’re there to help the casters tell their story. Putting up bad or irrelevant statistics hurts them, putting up great stats only helps them a bit. It’s a hard job - and it has to be done right, but doing nothing is better than doing it badly.

Tell us a little about what a statsman does and what your duties will be at TI5

So, part of what I’ll be doing is live-stats in the games. The other part will be helping the talent prepare for their casters - giving them stats, summaries, talking points, analyzing the metagame that develops during the event, and so on. Over and above that - feeding production some stats for their overlays, and probably odd-jobs. Maybe some Compendium work also!

Closing Thoughts

Ben “Noxville’ Steenhuisen will boldly go where no African has gone before later this month. He is the perfect person for the Statsman position and I am sure he will make South African viewers proud with his on-point information during the TI5 games.

Many thanks to Noxville for taking the time to do the interview and godspeed! Hope to see you again at rAge 2015.

Noxville Twitter / DatDota Blog / Website / Stats Page

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