50 women in esports: a brief list

Sparked by a debate that happened yesterday about female representation and role models in esports/gaming, I decided to compile a list of women in the industry that I enjoy following on Twitter. I’ve included a little blurb about what they do and a follow button beneath all of them. I encourage you to follow them if you’re interested in expanding your horizons to the different voices within our industry.

As a disclaimer, though, I wanted to stress that there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to be a woman in gaming; like guys, they should be able to enjoy, work at and participate in whatever they want to. They are not obligated to educate you, be superhuman or deal with you longer than they want to. Some just want to enjoy their hobby, passion or job, and that’s up to them.

This is not meant to be a definitive “valuable women in esports” list. There are definitely people on this list that I am not aware of, and by all means, you should seek them out. If you know of some, share their stuff and encourage more people to check out what they’re involved in; people sharing their stuff is the best way to help them grow.

By getting a better perspective of these people and how they contribute to esports (again, in as big or a little as a way they want to), I hope we can encourage success and help our ecosystem thrive.

If any of the people listed want to be removed from this post, please feel free to get in contact.

Dota 2

Sheever is a personality in Dota 2, and streams playing the game both by herself and with other personalities. She primarily works for the ASUS ROG DreamLeague, and has worked as talent for The International and other events.

Caitlin McGee is a statsperson for The Standard Deviants, a group of people who provide on-screen stats during competitive Dota 2; she is also writes about ergonomics in gaming, and how to avoid the pain that comes with it.

ProveDota works as a freelance caster for Dota 2, and also has a YouTube channel where she makes videos such as her “History of Dota” series. She has also worked as an interviewer during TI5.

Evany Chang manages Team OG, a player-owned Dota 2 team, winners of the 2015 Frankfurt Major and the 2016 Manila Major.

LlamaDownUnder is a play-by-play caster for Dota 2, and she can be found speaking at increasingly high speeds while casting games for BeyondtheSummit and Starladder.

Sajedene plays a heavy role in the operation of DotaCinema (the largest Dota 2 YouTube channel) and Digital Chaos, a professional team. She also streams on her own Twitch channel.

Soe works as an interviewer for ESL, and has worked on camera for a number of different eSports events. She also is a talented artist and streams on Twitch.

Helen Xu is a Chinese-to-English translator in Dota, working with teams at events like The International 5 to provide a bridge between languages. She also has worked to make vlogs for behind-the-scenes looks at The Nanyang Championships in Singapore.

New for 2016

Shannon Larkin works with Valve to put together amazing events for the Dota 2 community, like The International and Majors. She is the architect of the event known as the Midnight Snack, for which players and talent are forever thankful.

AnneDroid casts Dota for online and LAN events at a speed never thought possible by mortal ears. She also tames dragons, so that’s probably where she gets the magic from.

Slotherina (aka Alyssa) manages Digital Chaos, the runners-up for last year’s The International. As any Dota 2 manager can tell you, this is equal parts triumph and herding cats.

Ashnichrist is both a streamer and a leader of the Desoladies, a Dota 2 community for women.

Andra Ciubotaru leads DotaBlast, a site that has both interviews and news for the game. Based in Romania, she also has experience reporting on politics.

League of Legends

sjokz is an on-screen personality for Riot Games’ League Championship Series, leading panel discussions and interviewing the biggest players in the game.

Bridget Davidson is the Head of Esports Player Management for Riot Games, working to co-ordinate and educate the professionals of the LCS. In most cases, if there’s a problem on that front, she’ll know about it.

Froskurinn works as a caster for the Oceanic Pro League, serving as an analyst both on the camera and off. She is also a frequent guest and host on League of Legends talk shows.

Kelsey Moser is a journalist for theScore eSports, writing about the EU LCS and LPL China regions. She writes deeply analytical articles about game and team strategy. Disclosure: I am one of the people who edited her work at theScore.

Rachel Gu is a writer and translator who works for Gamespot and writes content for GoldPer10. She is one of the major Chinese-to-English translators in League of Legends.

Remilia played professional League of Legends for the LA Renegades, and was the first female player in the LCS. She currently streams League of Legends.

Anna B. Baumann is a legal academic in European Law, and advocates for player rights across eSports. She has served as a legal resource for journalists and has volunteered her expertise in community discussions.

Emily Rand is an eSports writer who has contributed to numerous eSports publications, such as LoLeSports, FolloweSports, GoldPer10, and more. She is the foremost English-speaking expert on the Brazilian League scene.

Curly is SK Gaming’s Editor-in-Chief, and has worked to publish numerous articles and interviews with players from around the globe.

Velvet works for Riot Games as a referee for LCS games. You can see her behind teams laying down the law when it’s needed.

Sam Brown has worked as social media and promotions for League of Legends teams and currently works at streaming company Twitch. Beware: she has memes and knows how to use them.

Brittany Brown has worked for companies like OnGamers and Gamespot as an on-screen talent, and has experience with radio as well. She currently works as a Partnerships Associate at Twitch.

Nicola Piggott is a Communications Manager for Riot Games’ eSports operations, and is the main point of contact for everything press-related when it comes to the LCS and beyond. Practitioner of photo stealth.

Becca Roberts works in PR at Riot Games for the eSports operation. Often posts behind-the-scenes photos at some of League of Legends’ biggest events.

Katherine Stull has written about eSports for LoLeSports, the Daily Dot, Team Dignitas. Currently a game design and journalism student.

Erika Tseng worked in Player Relations for Riot Games, and helped lead the Taipei Assassins to a Season 2 World Championship title. After departing from Riot, she now works at Epic Games.

Sigils is the manager for the Chiefs eSports Club, working in Australia to help build the International scene of League of Legends. Her team has attended numerous International Wild Card events.

Jamaica King works in Web Content Operations for Riot Games, and helps them publish videos, articles and infographics about the LCS. She also is a fitness/running blogger in her non-eSports time.

Amanda Stevens is a journalist and hosts The Analyst Desk, a podcast about analyzing League of Legends.

Cassandra is one of the hilarious people behind eSports Express, a satire site about the people and storylines that make eSports colorful.

Grace is a Korean translator for League, contributing to LoLeSports and offering a look into KR media that may otherwise get ignored.

Leah B. Jackson is an eSports Web Content Co-Ordinator for Riot Games, and helps make LoLeSports function. She also writes articles and provides observations through social media.

New for 2016:

Alex is a freelance video producer and editor, working with teams like TSM, Dignitas, Renegades, Team Liquid, and more.

Smash Bros (Melee, 64, 4, etc)

Pidge is a Smash 64 Tournament Organizer and has done a number of things to ensure the survival of that competitive scene. From volunteering to pushing for acceptance of DIY solutions to the shrinking supply of N64 controllers, Pidge is an advocate for a niche community.

Lilian Chen works for Google as a designer for YouTube Gaming. In the past, she has given a Ted Talk about “responding to sexism in gaming with empathy,” and has advocated for a more inclusive gaming community.

Holly Hua works at a major gaming company in public relations; she is also a frequent Smash Melee competitor and streams her gaming on her Twitch channel.

Yink is a Smash Tournament and charity organizer, speedrunner, and committed Nintendo fan.

Narcissa Wright competes in both Smash 4 and Melee, and is a prolific speedrunner. She has held world records in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

New for 2016:

Alicia is a graphics designer for ShowdownGG, a company that produces weekly game nights, including the ever-popular “Get Smashed at the Foundry” series.

scf3 streams for Splyce and competes in Smash tournaments; besides Smash, she’s primarily affiliated with the Pokemon series, and does graphic design work for other streamers.

Suzy is an artist, clothing designer and organizer at a grassroots level, but is also a core part of the nigh-unstoppable “Pewzy” doubles team with Kevin “PewPewU” Toy.

Other eSports

Lauren Scott is a commentator for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, World of Tanks, Dirty Bomb and Battlefield 4. She works for ESL in both online tournaments and live stadium events.

Sophia Lyon works in marketing and content for Titan, one of the biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive brands.

Hafu is a Hearthstone pro gamer, playing it competitively and streaming for her fans. In the past she has played World of Warcraft, Bloodline Champions and Diablo 3 at a high level.

Emily Chow is a Product Manager at ESL, helping to bring some of the biggest eSports events in the world to life. She is also a former FGC competitor, and apparently can beat you (yes, you!) at Soul Calibur.

Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn is a Starcraft II player that is regarded as one of the top foreign talent to play the game.

Rachel Quirico is a veteran host and personality of numerous eSports. She has lent her interviewing talents to numerous shows, agencies and operations, and was a member of the FragDolls.

TL Taylor is the author of Raising The Stakes, an academic look at competitive gaming and the forces at work within the industry. She has also co-authored Ethnography and Virtual Worlds, a guide for those who want to study virtual worlds.

Helena Kristiansson is a photographer for ESL, and produces some of the most iconic looks at players’ happiest (and sometimes lowest) moments.

Anna Rozwandowicz works for ESL as Director of Communications and Boss of PR. Essentially, if there’s information coming out concerning ESL, she is the one overseeing it.

Susie Kim is a commentator, Korean translator, interviewer and resource for creative player selfies. Currently living and working in Korea for Twitch.

Jaycie “Gillyweed” Gluck is a commentator for the burgeoning Heroes of the Storm competitive community, and has casted live LAN tournaments including Blizzcon 2015.

Sue “Smix” Lee is a Partnerships Associate at Twitch, and also works as a host, interviewer and personality for multiple eSports.

GN4Rcandy is a former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player and manager that has since moved to Dirty Bomb, a team-based shooter. Currently streams and radiates positivity.

Sunset is a writer and personality that writes about Starcraft, League of Legends, Smash 4 and Heroes of the Storm. Has freelanced for Red Bull eSports and LoLeSports’ Oceanic web site.

Tricia Sugita works for Azubu in Talent Management, and is a Tournament Organizer YouTuber, streamer and for multiple games.

As I said above, this is a personal list, and not a definitive one. I do not mean to offend by omission.


Matt Demers writes about eSports on a freelance basis. You can follow him on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube and Facebook, and support his work on Patreon. He writes two newsletters about eSports/work/productivity, and BetterDota.

Thanks, Marcus – a Dyrus obituary

Some of you know that eSports is something I came into by accident; it was never supposed to be a career, but more a hobby.

Marcus helped pull me in.

I started playing League of Legends casually in 2010, a little bit before Season 1. Garen has just been released, putting my start date around April of that year; I was garbage at it, and to a certain extent, I still am.

Marcus helped me get better.

I picked his stream out of a lineup of the popular players of the time; I started with Chauster, migrated to TreeEskimo, then finally found a chill stream with a monotone guy who wasn’t above the occasional trolling.

Marcus wasn’t (and isn’t) totally emotionless; you just had to grasp the subtleties of his happiness, frustration and triumph. When he did emote, you knew it was something both serious and worth paying attention to.

Like that stoic dad who never needed to raise his voice, it became easy to respect the guy behind the keyboard because a lot of us could empathize with what someone in his position faced.

That’s particularly what draws me to eSports: seeing how young men and women with a very specific skill set deal with a massive amount of attention and expectation. Marcus did as well as anyone could have hoped, but also seemed to hide his struggle behind a barrier that few of us will ever really pass by.

And that’s fine. He’s entitled to.

This weekend we saw Marcus’ tearful goodbye speech at the 2015 League of Legends World Championships, along with an outpouring of gratitude and memories. While his statement was somber — he thought he had let his fans down — it felt like he didn’t need to apologize. He tried his best, stayed true to himself, and that was enough.

While some might argue that he isn’t worthy of the praise that people might heap on him now that he’s done, I think there’s value in someone who’s performed at a consistently high level during his career, represented his generation of players and stayed loyal to his teammates.

When others stepped to criticize TSM, Marcus was one to defend them. When people thought to speak for him, he realized that people could never see the whole picture. Like I said before, he was stoic until he needed to be otherwise, and even if people disagreed, they tended to listen.

Despite never winning a Worlds, Marcus will be remembered by the League community as a unique personality and voice. However, as he retires, a number of his posts seem to point towards a period of rest and reinvention.

After giving so much of his time to this game and seeing competitive League of Legends evolve from fighting about players streaming weekly online cups to competing in a full-year, unified league, I would not blame anyone for wanting that time.

While the Internet tends to reward those who go “all in” on their passions to make a living, there’s a sad problem where it tends to suck the fun out of it. For a little while it’s been more evident that long-time players are tired, burned out, and that can cause negative feelings to seep into something they once loved.

Trust me, that really sucks.

Despite League being such a unique and vibrant phenomenenon, sometimes you just need to step back and find out who you truly are. We might see Marcus step back to the spotlight soon, or we might see him fade away and be more comfortable watching from the outside.

I don’t think anyone should blame him for taking either route.

Thanks, Marcus. You were different, in a good way. I hope you find the peace you deserve with the people who support and love you. You gave me a personality to empathize with and follow as I waded into the shallow end of eSports, and you were still there while I tread water in the deep.


Matt Demers writes about eSports from Toronto. Follow him on Twitch and Twitter.

Experiences with the Valve/HTC Vive VR

This past week at The International I managed to get some time with the Valve/HTC virtual reality project, the Vive. I’ve never tried VR before, but tales of friends who have Oculus Rift developer kits and the general progress that the industry has made really got me interested.

The Vive is a combination of a headset/visor and earphones that you wear; it has a “tail” of cables that come out of the back of the visor and really gives the vibe of being plugged into The Matrix; keeping in mind where the cables are when you’re moving around the Vive environment is crucial, not only to break from immersion, but because I wanted to keep from possibly breaking the demo model.

>After signing into a desk for the demo, I was taken into a room alone with the presenter; the room had four laser projectors on poles, which I was told were to coat the activity area with something for the headset to reference. In essence, it was like the Wii, where an IR emitter (the Wii bar) was used with a sensor (in the remote) to determine where you are, what you’re facing, and what to show you. After some research, it looks like these emitters will be mounted on walls in a consumer usecase, because I’d imagine setting them up in a house might be awkward.

Articles have stated that these emitters will be able to sense where objects are in a room and plan accordingly, so you won’t need to have a specific blank space to interact in. If you do reach a boundary inside the demonstration, a grid of light lines comes up, signalling that you’re hitting a “wall”.

Putting on the visor, I was taken into a test environment that had a lobby of different scenarios. It was kind of like the Wii’s home screen, but closer to an art gallery. I was given two controllers, and tested some buttons: eventually a ballon blew out of my left controller, and I was able to bat it around, watch it float upward, and blow new ones. The left controller also had a wheel to choose balloon colours, which was responsive and gave enough feedback that you felt you were actually there.

A large concern for me coming into this demo (and VR in general) was the immersiveness of it. Things like me wearing glasses caused worries that I would not be able to kind of lose myself in what was being presented; that ended up not being a factor at all (here’s a photo that I snuck of me wearing it).

All in all, I do not hesitate to say it was a life-changing experience.

Numerous demos showed off different things. I explored a sunken ship’s bow where minnows swam away from my “hands”, assembled a sandwich in a kitchen to show off interactivity between objects, painted with light in a 3D space and explored a Secret Shop, straight out of Dota 2.

Despite the environments not looking completely photorealistic, everything just kind of sucked me in. The audio and the resolution of the eyepieces were at such high quality that eventually I kind of forgot what I was doing; I was largely pre-occupied with the demos, but I remember having the biggest grin on my face because one of the most attractive tropes of science fiction was actually here.

The controllers have thumb pads for things like menu selection and fine manipulation, as well as side and bottom triggers for things like grip. There was never any virtualization of arms or legs, but sometimes the implements made a big deal, since menus and options were projected onto them.

With the light painting, I could spin menus on my left implement with my right, dabbing as if I was choosing paint off a palette. In the Secret Shop, I got my own light source, and moving it around the environment cast dynamic shadows and could cause reactions from simulated characters.

These moments just felt… amazing. Discovering new things and fighting the conditioning that you’ve learned from “normal” video games was exhilarating: simple things like reaching into a giant soup pot and realizing that there was no awkward collision mechanics just blew my mind.

In that cooking mini-game, I noticed how much I relied on games to fill in complicated blanks, which I actually had to do here. Reaching deep into a pot instead of waiting for an ingredient to snap to my hand, or just not having a “press A to pick up” prompt just felt alien; this is a good thing, because it signals that this medium will actively change how we approach interaction in a digital space, and from a futurism perspective, it’s crazy to think that it will be available now, instead of twenty years.

I know they were just tech demos, but I couldn’t help but think about the possibilities of using a Google Sketchup open-source marketplace to design and publish models that could be brought into a VR environment and then manipulated, annotated, or studied. I thought about the blue whale I saw on the ship’s deck, and how we could simulate an aquarium without the need to house animals.

I thought about the implications of a virtual reality-influenced existence, where people may get addicted to an ideal, controlled environment.

That last point is obviously a job for more accomplished philosophers than me, and is kind of scary to delve into.

This demo instantly made me a believer that VR could be done right, and has kickstarted a little bit of a fire in me. I want to see where this medium goes, and I want to grow up alongside it, so to speak; depending on the price, I might just be an early adopter, but I can’t wait to see what five or ten years will do for it.

Until then, it’s just a matter of waiting.


I’m Matt Demers, and I write about tech, eSports and more. Follow me on Twitter, Twitch and Instagram for more like the post you just read. Subscribe to Matt dot 808, my weekly newsletter, for recommended reading, streaming schedule and mini-thoughts that don’t make it to my blog.

Dota Reborn is out! Here’s things I like so far

I recently had the chance to play around with the Dota 2 Reborn beta after it launched earlier this week. Obviously, being a beta, there’s a bunch of stuff that needs to be improved — things like connectivity issues during custom games, spectating and Hero MMR are all kind of struggling.

However, I thought I’d write a bit about what I did like, which was quite a lot; as I said before, in my previous blog post, the main enjoyment I’m getting out of this is knowing that Valve are implementing and improving Reborn so quickly that it doesn’t feel like I have to just deal with the crap for the foreseeable future.

The Interface


The interface for Reborn is smooth as hell, and that’s something that really makes me grin. With some games you just feel good going through the menus, and this is one of those times.

There’s less of a loading time going from tab to tab. Things load quickly, and assets rarely “snap in” unless there’s some kind of model to load. For screens like the hero select or the armory, you have an easy-to-navigate set of buttons that click, snap and shift with awesome effects.

Things like the “ready to play” button moving from “accept” to a list of icons to show who’s ready just look awesome.

The Friend Feed


These kind of features tend to be a little cyclical: if no one uses them, they fall by the wayside. However, I’ve made a habit of checking and commenting on friends’ stuff from time to time, just to give a bit of light-hearted ribbing or just see if it works.

Knowing that my friends are playing and progressing gives me an idea of where I stack up against them, and that’s always a motivator to get better. I’ve been playing more Dota over the last two weeks than I have in months, and having incentives like streaming, the Compendium and friends to play/compete with are really helping me get more out of the game.

It also helps to see who’s queuing up for custom games, and I’ve already found myself grabbing lobbies with people I haven’t talked to in years because “hey, what’s one game?”

The Game Itself


Reborn made a bunch of changes to the map, both aesthetically and functionally, and from the few games I’ve played on it I really enjoy it. It’s not something so huge that I’m sitting there saying “Damn, never again am I going back to Source 1,” but at the same time things feel snappier: I played a Viper game where killing creeps seemed simpler. I played a Keeper of the Light game where I was a bit let scatterbrained than normal. I had more awareness. I was more clutch.

Completely subjective, obviously, but that’s the whole point of this article – for all I know, playing on Reborn with the mentality of trying something new out could’ve given me a huge placebo effect.

I mean, that’s at least better than hating it, right?


I really can’t wait for Reborn to get to the point where the things I love about Dota 2 1.0 (heh) are implemented: I play a lot of Compendium Challenge games, and not having those count for heroes and challenges kind of sucks.

Like I said, though, I’m amazed that there’s been a wealth of changes already from Valve to fix things that players are noticing: this isn’t something that’s released as a novelty in order to sit on the shelf and rot. This is the next life of Dota 2, and hopefully one that will last as long as possible.

In short, it’s pretty awesome from the get-go, but what’s really great is that this is only the foundation from where things get better.


Matt Demers writes about eSports. He lives in Toronto, and works as a Supervising Editor for theScore eSports. Follow him on Twitter or Twitch.tv, where he streams Dota.

Dota Reborn: Three things I’m excited about

A couple days ago Dota 2 fans were treated to the launch of Reborn, a web page devoted to the updating of… a lot of things.

The first part focused on the out-of-game experience, which includes the client and the way we can watch matches from within it. This is really important, as it serves as a foundation for how we experience Dota: it’s like a city that needs good logistics, because otherwise it becomes a convoluted mess.

As someone who’s played League of Legends since beta, one of my main gripes is that its client is pretty much held together with duct tape. It also lacks certain features that other games — well, let’s be real here, Dota — do really really well. This update reminded me how much I value a good infrastructure and how much I love little bells and whistles.

Here’s three things I like about what the first part of Reborn brings to the table:

1. Improved Viewing Experience

Let’s look at this image. Real time graphs. Minimap. Chat. Ad space for tournaments. Side UI elements that (hopefully) can be hidden. Third-party streams. Hopefully real-time item build/timing information. I’m pretty biased because all this stuff really makes my job easier, but it also makes it easier to step inside the mind of the pro as they’re playing.

Knowing when/how pros get their timings make emulating them easier; obviously I’m not going to be able to be like them completely, but suddenly you have a concrete idea of what’s slow, fast or in-line with how the good people are playing.

2. Hero Tinkering

I’m going to confess that sometimes I play Dota 2 like a dress-up game. I like to see cool combinations of cosmetics, and if I want to test a hero I rarely play, it can be a pain to load up a custom game, make sure cheats are enabled, only to disconnect and recreate because I want to try something else.

It looks like Dota’s going to make it easier to tinker with heroes, and I’m definitely all for that. I’m a huge fan of guides built in to the client (sometimes to a fault) and reading them before I’m in game and under a time pressure will be awesome. I’m also really curious about there being “more information to help you determine if a hero is right for you,” because a question I commonly ask my stacks is “what should I play?”

Sometimes you just need to be nudged in the right direction, and hopefully with the new information the game is going to be tracking on you (see below), it’ll be able to be accurate.

3. Playstyle Analytics

This is the big one for me. I’m not exactly a hardcore data geek, but I love looking at numbers and seeing my performance quantified — even if I suck, tell me where I’m sucking and where I can get better. Even if I don’t end up trying to fix things, at least I know where my strengths lie.

I think that’s why I’m kind of enjoying the 10 Hero Challenge in this year’s Compendium and the associated Coin Challenges; they give me a reason to step outside my comfort zone, and when I accomplish them, I almost always have a moment where I mentally remind myself that it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Sometimes it’s really easy to take those challenges and be self-defeating. With the integration of deeper stats and visualizations, players might at least be able to gain confidence to where they excel so that their shortcomings don’t hit as hard.

It’s this kind of information that helps me invest in playing the game for a longer span of time because I won’t hit roadblocks as hard; if I want to stay and play Dota 2 (which I do), I will have more tools to get more out of the game and learn from mistakes.


In the end, I’m happy to see Dota 2 getting a massive upgrade because it makes me feel that Valve cares about their player base; sometimes it’s easy to just feel like you’re funneling money into the game, but at least large, sweeping improvements like this show that complaints aren’t being ignored.

In the Reddit reaction thread to this update, someone said that this literally took concerns from the past two years and fixed them all at once. Then someone else reminded people that this was the first of three parts to Reborn. I legitimately felt like a game I enjoy was both secure for the future and in good hands.

That’s something I’m really not used to.


Matt Demers is a Toronto writer who is a Supervising Editor for theScore eSports. He’s also still waiting for replays in League of Legends. Follow him on Twitter and Twitch, where he streams Dota 2.