Toby “TobiWan” Dawson is a seasoned and passionate veteran in the esports scene best known for his tenure in the Dota 2 scene, screaming play-by-plays into his microphone to deliver some of the most exciting commentating esports has to offer. Having started at the bottom, TobiWan has climbed his way to the top of the ladder of esports personalities, where he now sits at the top alongside names like Paul “Redeye” Chaloner and Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles, even if he isn’t as visible of a presence.
Let’s take a look at the man behind the mic.
1. He Grew Up in Maleny, Queensland
The Australia-native’s life began in a hospital in Nambour, but his parents raised him in a small coastline town in southeast Queensland called Maleny. In an interview on Real Talk with JP McDaniel, he described his hometown as a wonderful place to grow up in that he would like to return to when it comes time for his retirement. When speaking on how much he enjoyed returning home, TobiWan compared breathing the air to taking drugs in jest.
“Just breathing the air from where I grew up, was like being on drugs,” he joked, “I’ve never done drugs, but if I ever thought there was an equivalent to being on drugs, it would be breathing the air from where I grew up.”
His parents originally did not care for his enthusiasm for gaming, and generally only allowed it as a reward for completing his chores. As a result, his pastimes involved traditional sports like cricket and tennis, as he was restricted to a maximum of two hours per day. While reminiscing about his childhood, TobiWan admitted to convincing his mother to allow him to have a computer in his room for studying purposes, though he mostly used it to play game emulators.
2. In His Spare Time, He Enjoys Minecraft and Anime
In fact, he cried when he heard the news that Bleach was coming to an end. In an interview with Vigilante from Team Dignitas, TobiWan touched base on a memory he had during an event where there was an anime store next to the stage that had a Zanpakuto in the window, which he fanboyed over.
Additionally, his primary game outside of Dota was revealed to be Minecraft to unwind (though he denies playing Minecraft Dota). He has even attempted to build Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings, and joked about how he didn’t understand just how large of a project it would be when he started building.
“Like, you have trouble rendering the ground from the top,” he laughed, “That’s how high the Minas Tirith mountain is, and there’s a lot – there is a lot to do for that.”
TobiWan also hinted that he has an interest in livestreaming his Minecraft gameplay to his Twitch channel.
3. He Wasn’t Always Known as a Dota Commentator
TobiWan first sank his teeth into casting during Call of Duty: United Offensive, but it wasn’t a terribly successful start due to the rapidly declining fanbase. When GameStah refused their request to broadcast matches, a tactic TobiWan and his friends hoped would revive some interest in the game, he formed United Offensive Talkers and broadcasted the matches he commentated to Touch Tech Gaming. Ironically, while Gamestah rejected their request due to the game’s lack of popularity in comparison to Call of Duty 2, the site actually crashed due to the overwhelming influx of viewers, and the popularity of United Offensive Talkers is what prompted Gamestah to hire him as a Call of Duty commentator.
“They invited us to join them, but I was like, “no, because you told us to piss off before.” So they ended up just giving me the Call of Duty section,” TobiWan told TheVerge’s Vlad Savov, “I took over from one of the other guys, and they passed on a couple of tricks of the trade on how to broadcast, which definitely increased our quality.”
World Cyber Games 2005, which was the first major event of his career, was where TobiWan would venture into casting for Dota (known then as Warcraft III: Dota All-Stars). While he was attending as a Call of Duty commentator, he heard word of the Dota games being in need of casters, so he manned the desk. While he moved on to cast for other titles, including StarCraft II and Counter-Strike: Source, he naturally gravitated to the Dota scene as his interest in the game grew.
He was later invited by Valve to cast the inaugural The International at Gamescom in 2011, which could be argued as the defining event of his career. While he has acted as a shout caster at every The International since, the following years were also full of appearances at other non-Valve events, such as DreamHack Summer 2012 and the 2015 MLG World Finals. As a tournament staple, TobiWan also commentates at ESL’s majors, the most recent being The Kiev Major 2017 in April.
4. “TobiWan” Is a Tribute to His Father
As his father died when he was quite young in 1991 due to cancer, Tobiwan and his siblings were primarily raised by his mother and step father. Although he admittedly does not recall much about his him, he remembers his father, who was an avid fan of the Star Wars franchise, nicknaming him as “TobiWan,” which is an obvious mash-up of his first name and the Obi-Wan Kenobi. As he himself is also a fan of the series, TobiWan felt it was appropriate to use his father’s old nickname as he moved forward with his career.
5. His Passion for Commentating Almost Got Him Evicted From His Apartment
It’s no secret that TobiWan got to where he is today by his ability to bring hype to whatever game he was casting for. In fact, at one point, that unbridled excitement nearly had him thrown out by his landlord thanks to the cops being called one too many times about noise complaints.
“We had to close the window, because I actually had the cops called on me multiple times because I commentated so loudly during the night while I was casting European matches,” he explained in an interview with The Verge, “I was casting at like 2, 4, 5, 6AM in the morning. My neighbors complained so much, they called me saying the TV was turned on too loud.”
When the complaints reached his landlord, TobiWan claimed that his landlord threatened to evict him if he didn’t quiet down.