How NatTea got her start in Dota 2 as a talent

Dota 2 host NatTea got her big break by hosting the qualifiers of The International 10. From there, she has grown into one of the best hosts in the scene and worked during The International 11. (Photo: Yahoo Esports SEA)

As a big Dota 2 fan, then-engineering student Natalie “NatTea” Mahoney did have dreams of being a panellist or a caster for her favourite esports game.

And while she says she’s not very good at playing the game, she still loved its esports scene.

“I used to consume so much esports for Dota. Back when I was studying at uni, it would be like half my screen or one of my monitors would be some random tournament or some random Dota game being played. And then the other screen would just be my uni work,” said NatTea.

“So I’d consistently just be watching as many games as I possibly could for about like two years straight.”

However, it was only in 2021 before she finally got the chance to break into the scene.

Beyond the Summit co-founder and commentator, David “GoDz” Parker, reached out to her to host the Southeast Asian and Chinese qualifiers for The International 10 (TI10).

She also previously worked on the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) regional leagues for Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe for the studio.

She had just gotten her first cup of joe for her 9-to-5 engineering job when she decided to check her Twitter and saw a DM from Godz.

“I’m like reading it and I’m just like, wait, is this for real? I’m like, no way,” said the 26-year-old Australian.

“And there’s this internal screaming and cheering that you can’t do out loud. Because I’m in the middle of an office at my engineering work and I’m just like, this isn’t real life. I’ve woken up and this is an alternative universe or something.”

And while she’s famous amongst Dota 2 fans, NatTea says only three people from her engineering job know she even does anything in esports.

She’s also never really talked about it, since her colleagues are of the older generation and not really into video games.

That’s all moot though, as she’s quit her job to pursue her talent work full time.

Since then, she’s hosted a bunch of Dota 2 events, including the PGL Arlington Major 2022, some DPC tours, and the biggest one of all, The International 11 in Singapore back in October.

“This was my first TI. It feels weird to work some part of a TI before ever attending one. It’s just this bubble of magic for Dota and there are almost no words that I can use to articulate the feeling of actually being there and seeing close games,” said NatTea.

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He’s really into cats and is currently reviewing products at

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