Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of Rivalry.
For a studio that was created to be all about Dota - The Summit has never been about Dota. That’s the magic of it. BeyondtheSummit’s unique, intimate, and innovative tournament style has given us the ‘inside look’ that fans crave while delivering the high level Dota we care about. It’s no secret that the DPC system and the introduction of more and more TOs has crippled BTS’ ability to secure the top teams. You don’t have to look any further than The Summit X to see this. The studio originally planned this tournament for December, but they were unable to confirm teams due to DPC scheduling and other factors.
BTS does nothing halfway, and they should be commended for quickly replacing the December LAN with “I Can't Believe It's Not Summit!” and then executing a brilliant tournament now during the lead up to TI. The teams weren’t quite the caliber of the past VP, Secret, Liquid, OG, Wings etc events - but it’s less than a month before TI - what else would you expect? Fans got their access to pro teams on the couch and a LAN to break up the wait until TI9.
Unfortunately, the change in teams and caliber of event probably led to an overcompensation on talent and style to maintain the allure and “clippability” of a Summit.
Before we launch into my disappointment, I need to really highlight why I felt let down. Simply put? Because The Summit was just as brilliant as always. Alliance spoke to their team dynamics. We could tell how intimate of an event it was when the casting couch could be heard up in the playing rooms. The originators of Beyond The Sellout even took sponsorship integration to a whole new level. Rather than being thrown the same cheesy ads, we saw ridiculous Monster promos from Mason and creative… acting from Beastcoast.
The Uber Eats sponsorship was the most impressive aspect of the event. Competition after competition pitted talent against each other in food related challenges that ultimately let Twitch chat decide who the victor would be. The easy discount code also made this one of the first sponsorships that was immediately useful.
Whether we had absolutely ridiculously styled casting, random tidbits of insight, or unique cosplay related content, it felt like a true Summit, an experience we had been missing in the more rigid DPC system.
If only they had trusted themselves to deliver on their brand. Instead, they went too far.
It’s funny, I would comment on what I was seeing happen on the BTS stream - and no one knew what I was talking about. Everyone had the stream muted. They couldn’t handle the culture that was developing, they had no interest in hearing dong said 30 times in a row as a “comedy” piece or yet another rant about Chads and cucks. Any cool content? They linked from Twitter, where whoever was handling social media was making the right choice to edit out the cesspool that was that stream. Whether it was relatively PG content, like Kotlguy rating a woman on Tinder as a joke, a step up to Grant’s fetish discussion, or Mason’s piece of interview genius “Chest or Thighs” (shown below) - this was not the BeyondtheSummit I respected in the past. This was not an event I felt comfortable watching. With each day that passed, they went further and further, with nobody speaking up. Myself included.
I recommend watching that clip to the end - the derisive laughter and subsequent “GIANT BONER” shout from Mason says all that needs to be said. Want to enjoy some more compelling discussion from the couch? How about Mason and Febby’s advice to “jack off before a match.”
I’m not against some of this style of humor. This wasn’t advertised as family friendly. Drop as many F bombs as you want, shove your face full of nugs, and have a testosterone inspired push up competition that would be at home in any frat house. But there is a line. They didn’t play with it, they didn’t go a few steps in the wrong direction - they loaded up into a tank and bulldozed their way across that line, destroying any sense of decency in the process. And no one stopped it.
The worst part? It didn’t have to go this way. Alliance was brilliant on the couch. Grant and Brax and even Mason know how to behave if they know they are supposed to. Content pieces and sponsorship promotions were, as always, masterfully done. Reddit and Twitch chat would’ve loved this tournament if it was 50% as “locker room” styled - let alone the 80% that I think would have been most appropriate without facing any “special snowflake” accusations.
BeyondtheSummit has always had my respect for playing with the line between ridiculous and entertaining, supporting the community, and standing up for being better.
On an even more personal note - this was a hard decision for me to speak publicly about. Both personally and professionally. I am criticizing people I respect and a tournament I have always loved - the tournament that got me started in Dota. Without the Summit, I never would’ve even had a chance in this world. Criticizing locker room talk, bro culture, and misogyny certainly isn’t a great way to continue working in the Dota scene - but some things are more important than risking being called oversensitive. Some things need to be publicly stated.
In the end, this felt like a strong departure from what they have always stood for - promoting Dota, promoting players, and promoting the community. Ultimately, I left feeling disappointed. This could have been great, and instead the tenth Summit started destroying a legacy that I used to believe in. I can only hope that the next Summit will be better. I trust them to be better.
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