James "2GD" Harding is Back as a Host for TI11
The impossible has happened! Valve has brought back James "2GD" Harding to host The International, after spending nearly six years away from the game. He last hosted The Shanghai Major in 2016, following which he had a famous public spat with Valve CEO Gabe Newell, with the latter calling the British host an “ass.”
2GD is hosting the panel from the PGL studios in Norway and made his appearance on stream following the Team Secret vs PSG.LGD series.
Who is James “2GD” Harding?
James “2GD” Harding was one of the first hosts for The International Dota 2 championships, leading the panel in the early editions of the tournament and made his name with his clever humor. However, after hosting The International 2013 and The International 2014, he did not return for The International 2015 and was absent from many major panels for months. However, he finally came back at The Shanghai Major 2016.
The Shanghai Major 2016 is one of the most chaotic esports events in the history of Dota 2. It was plagued with technical difficulties and a myriad of problems with the broadcast which caused Valve to be criticized in public. Adding to the problems, James “2GD” Harding the host of the tournament made some crass and cringe-worthy jokes on the main broadcast of the tournament which caused him to be let go on the second day of the group stage.
Consequently, Gabe Newell himself created a thread on Reddit addressing the problems associated with the Shanghai Major. In it, he criticized the production company that organized the tournament and 2GD. He even proceeded to publicly blast Harding, stating, “We've had issues with James at previous events. Some Valve people lobbied to bring him back for Shanghai, feeling that he deserved another chance. That was a mistake. James is an [expletive], and we won't be working with him again.”
Since then 2GD has made sporadic appearances on streams, with the latest coming at ESL One Stockholm 2022 Major where he made a few brief remarks from backstage. It will be interesting to see if Valve continues to work with 2GD through the entire event and perhaps future tournaments.