Desoladies @ TI7


One of the entrances to Key Arena on the first day of The International 7.

The on-screen timer counts down to the start of the day’s games.

Sonneschimmereis and leafypeachy snapping a selfie after the games

A view from inside the arena during drafting.

Holly and leafypeachy enjoying some games and social time outside on the lawn.

Leafypeachy and sheepsticked taking a selfie, featuring sheepstick’s Meepo kigurumi! 

Leafypeachy with eykorr in her Bane cosplay.

A lovely shot of the Space Needle and the fountain next to the lawn.

Leafypeachy catching a selfie with emmydiesalone on their way out of the arena.

A leafypeachy and Ceschiii post-game selfie outside.


The view of the arena from the top!

Leafypeachy, aeroknot, and gengiraffe spending some time together at the Defense of the Patience meetup.

Beedub with Grouty at the Defense of the Patience meetup.

One of our lovely managers, Beedub!

A group table shot with some Desoladies and friends by Gengiraffe.

A cute Polaroid of Ceschiii and sheepsticked!

A group Polaroid shot of some Desoladies and friends on the lawn by Ceschiii.

Leafypeachy and Twee selfie from the Reddit meetup.

Daeja and leafypeachy with big smiles at the Reddit meetup.

Some more Desoladies and friends in a group shot taken by Gengiraffe at the Reddit meetup.

Some of the hero portraits lining the hallways of Key Arena.

o0badwolf0o and Beedub enjoying some of the games together.

Inside the very blue Redbull LAN.

Hyperlexia, Koalafication, and leafypeachy lining up to participate in the women’s 1v1 tournament!

Ephey and leafypeachy embracing the Twitch memes while watching the games.

Another view from inside of the arena.

Lawliepop and leafypeachy enjoying some karaoke.

A shot Gengiraffe took of our karaoke meetup!

Emma and leafypeachy taking a stroll together around Key Arena.

Beedub and Quicksilva snapping a selfie.

A shot from our Desoladies group photo on the last day of TI.

Another group photo shot from eykorr!

And a manager selfie! Superphrenic, leafypeachy, and Beedub.

A close up shot of the banner we had Desoladies sign.

The right side of the banner.

And the left side of the banner.


Thank you to all of the Desoladies who contributed to this photo blog and participated in our meetups at TI7! We look forward to next year being bigger and better.


TI7 KeyArena Survival Guide

               The Main Event of The International 7 starts in less than 24 hours. Make the most of your experience with this point-by-point guide on typical TI policies at KeyArena. This information was gathered from multiple attendees of previous TIs. While there may be small changes to rules this year, the locations have not changed. If you have any doubts, err on the safe side or ask a staff member once you get to the venue. Good luck, and have fun!


On Monday, the doors open at 9:00am and the opening ceremonies start at 10:30am. For the rest of the week, the doors open at 9:30am and the games start at 10:20am.

Will-call ticket pickups start at 7:00am on Monday and 8:00am the rest of the week. If you arrive early, you should have plenty of time to pick up your badge before the event starts. KeyArena has confirmed that only the box office on the east side of the arena (near the lawn) will be open for will-call ticket pickups.

There are two main entrances to the arena: one along First Ave and one by the lawn. You have your choice of stairs or a ramp at either entrance. Follow the signs to the entrance doors and prepare to open your bag for a security check. Security may also use a metal detector wand or pat you down.

While Dota drawstring bags are typically the ‘bag’ of the swag bag, consider bringing your own backpack or purse instead. It’s hard to keep track of individual bags inside of the dark arena, and it’ll be nearly impossible to track down your bag if you misplace it or pick up a stranger’s by mistake. Bags are allowed into KeyArena, within reason. You should have no trouble with a backpack or regular purse, but don’t plan on bringing a huge duffel bag or all your luggage straight from the airport.

When you arrive at the arena, make sure you have your badge on you. You cannot get in unless you tap a valid badge against the door scanners. Your badges also allow you to register for in-game drops. Use this link or one of the available computers in the arena itself to connect your badge to your Steam account.

Unlike other events at KeyArena, TI does allow exiting and reentry. You need to tap your badge each time you leave or enter. If you’re coming back in, you have to go through the security check each time.

All the seating in KeyArena is general admission. Once you get in the door and you sit in a seat, it’s yours for as long as you have a way to claim it. Coordinate with friends or nearby fans to save seats while you leave to get food, run to the bathroom, or otherwise vacate the space.

Once you’re through the main doors, you’ll be on the concourse that encircles the entire arena. The concourse is actually about halfway up the seating area; the floor of the arena is significantly lower than where you enter. There’s no seating on the arena floor itself. That’s reserved for cameras, the caster desk, the player booths, and the interactive map. Once you’re in the arena, you’ll view the games on giant screens that hang in the center.

The best seats are right around or slightly below the space where you enter the arena. Too low and you’ll be stuck looking straight up at the games screen; too high and you will barely be able to see the players on the stage. If you want to get these seats, expect to be there before the broadcast starts each day. If you don’t get there until the second series of the day, don’t worry; you’ll still have a seat somewhere in the arena. But if you arrive late, don’t go row-by-row asking people in the best seats if a space is free. It’s rude, it’s distracting, and it’s far too common.

If you need accessible seating, talk to one of the staff members by the entrance. Staff will direct you to one of the appropriate sections. It’s a short, flat distance from the entrance to accessible seating, and since the arena floor is lower than the concourse, you’ll have a good viewpoint. The accessible area itself is an open space with ample room to maneuver or accommodate multiple mobility devices. If you have a friend or two going with you, they’ll be able to sit in banquet-style chairs in the accessible area. Staff can assist you with getting or removing these chairs.

You must have a valid seat or seating location. Standing in the aisles is not allowed, and staff will quickly clear out people who linger in the aisles.

Drinks and liquids are generally prohibited. Expect the TI swag bag to contain a reusable Dota water bottle. You can bring in the empty bottle and fill it up at one of the water fountains in the arena; you just can’t bring it in with something already in it.

Food is generally allowed in the arena for TI. You’ll have to get rid of any liquid food (like protein drinks) and you might be asked to finish eating first if you’re holding a giant, dripping burrito. However, if you have food packed away neatly in your bag, you shouldn’t have any issues bringing that into the arena.

Arena food is expensive and hard to eat for a few days straight. While you may want to splurge for nachos or coffee when you don’t feel like leaving the arena, make a note of outside options.

Food trucks hang out on the lawn side of the arena and sell higher-quality food than the arena at similar prices. They’re a reasonably quick alternative to stadium food for people who don’t want to stray too far from the arena. The neighborhood north of the arena has many highly rated restaurants, including Dick’s, The Melting Pot, Racha Thai and Asian Kitchen,  and Pagliacci Pizza.

If you’re looking for cheaper alternatives, check out Safeway  or Metropolitan Market Uptown . These are both grocery stores within two blocks of KeyArena where you can buy premade sandwiches and meals, snacks, or supplies to pack your own lunch.

There is no public internet access within KeyArena. Only those working the tournament, including those with press passes, receive the private WiFi password. Don’t bother asking for it, either; once the password gets out to hundreds of people, the WiFi is virtually unusable anyway.

There are multiple electrical outlets and charging stations across the arena and Seattle Center. Bring your own charger to be safe, and make sure a friend watches your seat while you stand by the charging area.

The general rules for KeyArena state that cameras and photography are not allowed. This rule is relaxed for TI. Small point-and-shoot cameras should get past security without any problems. Cameras with telephoto lenses, lenses larger than 3.5’’ / ~8.9cm, and interchangeable lenses are best left at home unless you have a press pass.

The Secret Shop is located in Fisher Pavilion on the lawn side of the arena. Last year, the pickup line for merchandise followed the path on the side of the lawn opposite the arena and went down a set of stairs. If you need an accessible path, go up the sidewalk on the side closer to the arena to the exit of the Secret Shop and let the staff know.

Place your order in advance at the Secret Shop with a Steam ID linked to a valid badge. During the payment process, you must register for an order pickup time. Slots start at 10:00am most days. The first 250 customers of the day will receive an additional gift, and those who spend more than $50, $100, $150, and $200 also receive special bonuses.

There is no storage for your merchandise in KeyArena. While you can bring your Secret Shop bag with you into the venue, you can end up with cramped legs or cranky seatmates if you try to stuff a huge merch bag into the space under your seat.

If you registered for the cosplay competition (which you can still do!) you should have received an email with information about the cosplayer Discord, Cosplay Area, and contest information. Check your spam folder or reach out to [email protected] if you do not see the email.

The Cosplay Area at TI will be in Fisher Pavilion (the same building as the Secret Shop). It will be open from Tuesday to Friday, starting around 10:00am for registered cosplayers. On Monday, it will open at 2:00pm. To get there, follow the sidewalk on the side closer to the arena (as though you were heading toward the exit of the Secret Shop). The Cosplay Area will have changing areas as well as a cosplay repair station with some emergency supplies. If you have specific requests for items, please contact Diana in the TI7Cosplay Discord.

Memey signs are a fan favorite at The International. KeyArena allows fans to bring small banners and signs that don’t obstruct the view of other people and don’t involve sticks (sorry, no running around the concourse with your favorite team’s flag on a giant pole).

Typical KeyArena guidelines say that signs must be no larger than 11″ x 17″ / ~28cm x 43cm, and there’s no reason to think this rule will change for TI.

The KeyArena Information Booths by sections 103 and 125 serve as the lost and found. Bring found items to these stations and check here for your missing stuff.


The International 7: Ticket Information and Tips

Yesterday, Valve announced the dates for The International 2017, which is the largest Dota 2 event of the year. The best teams from around the world gather in Seattle, Washington to challenge each other for the tremendous grand prize.

Interested in attending or watching, but not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with a series on all the info you need to enjoy The International 2017 to the fullest! As the tournament gets closer, we’ll post more guides on getting to and around Seattle, finding places to eat, and surviving TI. Here’s the key information you need to know about buying TI7 tickets.

Highlights from the The International Ticketing FAQ:

  • The International 2017 will take place at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington.
  • The Main Event is August 7th to August 12th (Monday to Saturday).
  • Tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster on Tuesday, April 4th at 10:00AM and 10:00PM Pacific Daylight Time. Here is a handy time zone converter.
  • Full TI7 access costs $300: Midweek tickets are $100 for Monday to Thursday access. Finals tickets cost $200 for Friday and Saturday.
  • All tickets are general admission. Seating is not assigned in the arena, and no VIP tickets will be available this year.
  • Like last year, there will be an outdoor viewing screen right outside of the arena for anyone to watch the games.
  • For ticket-buyers who live in the USA or Canada, tickets will be mailed to you at least two weeks before the event.
  • International ticket orders will be available for pickup at KeyArena starting on August 5. You must bring a government-issued I.D. to claim your tickets.
  • The TI7 cosplay competition will take place during the Main Event and has a prize pool of $15,000. Contestants do not need an event ticket to enter, but you must register beforehand.

Check out these extra tips from Desoladies members and TI travel veterans:

  • Since tickets are purchased through Ticketmaster, your order will be subject to additional fees. We don’t know the exact cost, but expect to add at least $50 on top of the base ticket price.
  • Purchasing TI tickets is very competitive. Double-check your Ticketmaster account information the night before, and log in early to get ready for the ticket release. Also, try to purchase tickets on the website and mobile app simultaneously to increase your chances of snagging seats.
  • If you require accessible seating, you must purchase a general admission ticket during the initial ticket release. When you get to the arena, notify a staff member and they will direct you to the accessible seating area. The space has normal, detached (not stadium) chairs with ample space for wheelchairs and mobility devices. You and a few friends can sit together in the accessible area, but everyone needs a basic GA ticket to get into the arena.
  • If you do not get any tickets, fear not! Many people end up buying too many tickets and reselling them later for face value (or even less). While scalpers are always a last resort, you can likely get tickets for a reasonable price by checking Dota-related subreddits, Discords, and forums, or by asking around in Twitch streams or your Dota friends.
  • If you can’t get tickets at all, you can still watch the games on the outdoor screen (if the weather is forgiving).
  • The most affordable accommodations near the arena sell out very quickly after the event is announced. Book early! Check out these links for local lodgings:
  • Public transit and other methods of getting around (like Uber) are readily available, so don’t be afraid to search a little farther away from the event. Accommodations farther from downtown are generally less expensive. However, keep in mind that daily travel fees stack up the longer you are in Seattle. Plus, doors generally open at 9:00AM, so staying too far from KeyArena may mean you need to choose between solid sleep and solid seats.
  • As always, use caution and good sense when finding roommates or purchasing tickets from another person. Check reviews on everything before paying for it.

Thanks for checking out part one of our TI7 rundown! Look for more information as we get closer to the event, and follow Desoladies on Twitter for more updates.

    (PS: If you are a Desolady, check out our #ti7 Discord channel dedicated to all things TI, including finding roommates, getting tickets, organizing meetups, and more!)


Reinessa talks cosplay with LeafyPeachy

This week in Desoladies Discord Discussions, veteran cosplayer Reinessa spoke with Desoladies manager LeafyPeachy about her cosplaying experiences. Reinessa got her start by making ice skating costumes for herself. Now, she primarily cosplays Dota characters and has been to several TIs and other Dota events. Listen to the interview below to hear more about Reinessa’s Dota cosplays, her advice for new cosplayers, and what happened when she burst into the local Comcast store dressed as Beastmaster.


Want to learn more about Reinessa? Check her out on Twitch, YouTube, and social media!


Photo from ReinessaGaming

Wang Theatre Staff on the Boston Major: “The people are really, really nice.”

With only 2,800 seats available for the Grand Finals, Boston’s Wang Theatre was much, much smaller than other Major venues. While the limited space was new for a Dota event, hosting a video game tournament was completely new to the staff. Theater employees were not given any special instructions or information for working at the Boston Major—but they had a great time.

“It’s a video game championship. That’s all we knew. And work is work,” said Robin Jones, assistant chief usher. She’s worked at the Wang since 1978 and says the Dota 2 crowd has been the best audience she’s seen in her years at the theater. “Every one of my ushers is commenting on how nice the crowd has been. And [the ushers have] been enjoying it. They’ve never seen this thing before and they’re all like ‘Do you know what’s going on?’ ‘No, do you know?’ ‘No.’ But we’re having fun,” Jones said.

“Every one of my ushers is commenting on how nice the crowd has been. And [the ushers have] been enjoying it. They’ve never seen this thing before and they’re all like ‘Do you know what’s going on?’ ‘No, do you know?’ ‘No.’ But we’re having fun,” Jones said.

Diana Deyermenjian, an usher with the theater for about a year, worked only the last day of the Major. “I was curious as to what this was about, having come in totally cold,” she said. “The first thing a fellow worker said to me was ‘Oh, the people are really, really nice.’'” Deyermenjian explained that, from an usher point of view, the action on stage is only a small part of the job. “[H]ow the crowd interacts and treats you really makes a huge difference…whatever the performance happens to be.”

Throughout the theater, the enthusiasm and energy of the fans was contagious. One female usher, old enough to be the grandmother of the players, did not recognize anything on the stage except for the country flags. But that didn’t stop her from trying to understand; she asked several fans “Did the American teams win?”

Other staff members asked about game mechanics or why the audience seemed to start shouting at random times. “It was cool that, by the end of the event, the theater staff would ask how games were going and who had won the last one,” said Natalie French, event attendee.

A view from the audience that shows large screens with Dota on the stage of the Wang Theatre.
The Boston Major at the Wang Theatre

The stage lighting effects and in-game graphics were fascinating to theater employees who were unfamiliar with the world of video games. “The other night, I said ‘Oh my god, look, there are shadows when the dragons are flying, you see shadows on the ground,'” Jones said. “The graphics, the colors, and how beautiful it is to look at.”

Outside the main doors, the security team also had a smooth experience dealing with Dota fans. “We planned for this several months ago,” said James Carozza, security supervisor. “From my perspective of security, it went very well.” He explained that the Shubert Theatre across the street shares stock and staff with the Wang Theatre, and the Shubert also had a full performance schedule the week of the Major. Fortunately, there were no major issues at either theater. “No medical problems, not one call…not one incident report written in four days,” Carozza said.

One unexpected arrival? The amount of equipment required for the tournament. “My boss has [spent] 30 years doing shows here and Broadway,” Carozza said. “This was the biggest load-in of five days of 25 trucks, the [biggest] amount of equipment..and servers and computers we’ve ever seen…Pretty impressive.”

“My boss has [spent] 30 years doing shows here and Broadway,” Carozza said. “This was the biggest load-in of five days of 25 trucks, the [biggest] amount of equipment..and servers and computers we’ve ever seen…Pretty impressive.”

Theater staff ordered additional concessions to stock both the Wang Theatre and Shubert Theatre, but the supply could not keep up with the demand. “We ordered a bunch of stuff before you guys came, and we’re running low on that…You guys are crushing us,” said Billy D., theater concessions employee. The most popular items? “Sapporo beer went the fastest. And pretzels. We sold out of pretzels.”

During the Major, some Dota fans were calling each other out on Reddit and Discord about the amount of trash left in the theater. However, Jones noted that the amount of garbage was no worse than other shows she’s worked, and was actually much better than usual during the first few days.

She shared the story of one fan who was very concerned about keeping the place clean:

“I had a kid the other night who split a muffin with his friend. And he got crumbs on the carpet. He came up looking for something to clean it up with, and I said ‘It’s okay, it’s the last game of the match. We’re done for the night and the cleaners are coming through…’ He said ‘No, no, no, I really want to clean it up. I feel bad that I made a mess.'”

The interaction left a positive impact on Jones, who said Major attendees generally did a great job of picking up their garbage.

The overall success of the Boston Major left theater employees wanting more. Each staff member interviewed said that they would love to see Dota return to the theater or even host a different video game tournament. “We’d welcome them back with open arms,” Carozza said. Jones said that she approached the building manager to tell him that the Dota crew could come back “any time they want.”

While the Wang Theatre staff may not show up in your ranked games any time soon, the experience inspired at least one employee to learn more about the game. Jones intends to read up on Dota after the Major ends. “Will it make me a gamer? Probably not, but I will definitely look up [the game] and try to figure out what I was watching,” she said.

Disclosure notice: Several staff members received a Dota 2 emoticharm pin in an unrelated interaction before being interviewed.


Boston Major Survival Guide

It’s December 1st, which means the Main Event for the Boston Major at the Wang Theater is only a week away. If you don’t have tickets, a limited number are still available at Ticketmaster.com. Prepare yourself for your Boston trip by checking out this advice on getting around the city, finding places to eat, dealing with the weather, and enjoying your stay. While this guide doesn’t cover everything Boston has to offer, it’s a great starting point for people who have never visited the city before.


Click the transportation type below to find out how to get to the venue and around the city.

If you’re arriving by plane, you’ll likely land in Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston’s main airport. While you can take a taxi or Uber from the airport to your destination, it’s also easy to use public transportation. Boston’s subway, known as the T, connects to Logan in two ways: the Blue Line and the Silver Line.

To access the Blue Line, take a free shuttle from the airport to Airport Station. At the station, buy a pass and board a train heading towards Bowdoin/Government Center. Get off at Government Center, then transfer to the Green Line. Take the B, C, D, or E trains headed south. Stay on the train for only two stops and get off at Boylston Street stop. This station is about two blocks from the Wang Theater and the many accommodations in the area.

Alternatively, if you need accessible stations (or simply don’t feel like hauling luggage up stairs), take the Blue Line to Government Center, then take the Orange Line towards Forest Hills. Get off at the Chinatown stop, which has elevators to street level and is only slightly farther away than the Boylston stop.

The Silver Line is another option from the airport. Take the free Silver Line shuttles from Logan to South Station. The SL1 line only goes between the airport and South Station, so you’ll have to transfer to the Silver Line bus SL4. Take this bus to Washington St @ Tufts Medical Center. Washington St runs parallel to Tremont St, so you’ll end up on the same block as the Wang Theater, just one street over. All buses are accessible.

Note that the Silver Line turns into a bus line, and it is often subject to service alerts due to traffic and construction. The SL4 line also falls under the bus fare price of $1.70 per ride compared to the subway cost of $2.75.

For more information about the T and its fares, see The T section.

Trains in Boston arrive either at Boston North Station or South Station. From North Station, you can easily take the Green Line to Boylston Street station. Again, look for any B, C, D, or E trains–not Lechmere trains. If you need accessible stations, take the Green Line to Park Street station, then transfer to the Orange Line. Take the train towards Forest Hills and get off at the Chinatown station.

South Station is about .06 miles | 0.96 km from the Wang Theater, which would be an easy walk if not hauling luggage in cold or snowy conditions. For public transportation, follow the same directions from the airport section: Take the SL4 Silver Line bus to the Washington St @ Tufts Medical Center stop to get you in the vicinity of both the theater and nearby hotels.

Driving yourself is not recommended in Boston if you are unfamiliar with the layout of the city. Boston is one of the older American cities, so streets tend to be shorter and narrower. This also means that Boston has tons of one-way streets and oddly positioned roads that sometimes turn into dead-ends.

Besides that, parking can be a nightmare since many street spots are reserved for residents and the unreserved ones fill up quickly. If you must bring a car, consider keeping it in your hotel’s parking garage or a public garage for the duration of your stay. Expect to pay $30 a day or more for parking.

Taxis and Uber are always an option if you need door-to-door service or are traveling after the T stops running. Taxis and Uber may also help if you need accessible travel since not all T stations have elevators.

The T is the most popular way to get around Boston. Rides cost $2.75 with a disposable ticket or cash-on-board. Alternatively, you can pick up a plastic CharlieCard at the Park Street station (and other select locations) from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Add money to this reusable card at the kiosks in any T station. With the CharlieCard, fares are discounted to $2.25 and some transfers are included. You can also load your CharlieCard with an unlimited weekly pass for $21.25.

The major drawback is that the T stops running between midnight and 1:00 a.m., depending on the line, and doesn’t start up again until around 5:00 a.m. Make sure you have alternate arrangements if you are staying out late or arriving earlier than normal T operating hours.

Not all T stations are accessible, so check the map if you need accommodations. The major accessible T stops to remember are Park Street, Government Center, South Station, and Chinatown. Chinatown is the closest accessible stop to the Wang. The other three stations are strategically placed stops that include multiple lines.

Also, note that the Boylston Street stop has separate entrances for inbound and outbound trains. Make sure to enter the right station because there’s no way to switch without exiting the station and paying another fare. If you are heading up to the North End or to Park Street station, enter the Inbound station at the corner of Boylston and Tremont. If you’re headed west, then you’ll have to walk past the Inbound station to the Outbound station located across the street from the Loews Theater.

Boston is a very walkable city—when it’s not covered in snow and ice. The city is generally flat with no real hills, though there is a slight incline while walking north from the Wang Theater toward City Hall.

The shorter blocks also may make Boston seem bigger on a map than it is in real life. For reference, the walk from the Park Street T stop to the Boylston stop takes about 6 minutes and is only 0.3 miles | 0.48 km. Other distances are similarly short, though you should add a few extra minutes to wait for street lights.

The area around the theater is well-populated and generally safe to walk around. However, every city has risks. Review your destinations and directions before leaving the venue or hotel, especially if you are traveling alone. Avoid stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to check your phone or go through your bag. Besides the safety risk, it’s also inconsiderate.

Food and Drink

If you’re limited in either time or budget, there are several cheap options for food close to the Wang Theater. All of the directions use the theater as the starting point.

Subway: One block north at the intersection of Tremont and Stuart.
Einstein Bagel Bros, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks: One and a half blocks north at the intersection of Boylston and Tremont.
McDonald’s: Walk north to Stuart, then turn right and walk one block.
City Place: Walk north to Stuart, then turn left and walk until you see the City Place entrance. This indoor plaza has several quick dining options, including Panera and Chipotle. Most of the restaurants are also accessible from the street.
South Street Diner: Walk north to Stuart, then turn right. Walk straight for .38 miles | .61 km until you see the old-style diner. While the food is typical diner fare, the diner is the only 24-hour restaurant within easy walking distance.

Empire Garden: 690 Washington St. Dim sum and Chinese food in an old theater.
Irashai: 8 Kneeland St. Sushi restaurant in Chinatown.
Gourmet Dumpling House. 52 Beach St. It’s in the name.
Pho Pasteur: 682 Washington St. Popular pho restaurant also in Chinatown.

Mike’s Pastry: 300 Hanover St. One of the most popular pastry shops in Boston’s Italian North End. In competition with Modern Pastry.
Modern Pastry: 257 Hanover St. Another popular pastry shop and tourist destination.
Giacomo’s: 355 Hanover St. Popular restaurant in the North End. Note that the restaurant is cash-only and they do not take reservations. You’ll recognize this place by the line of customers waiting on the sidewalk.
Antico Forno: 93 Salem St. Pizza, pasta, and Italian dishes at a great restaurant for a reasonable price. Make an OpenTable reservation to guarantee a spot.
La Summa: 30 Fleet St. Highly rated restaurant down a side street in the North End. Better quality than some Hanover St restaurants without the wait.

Here are some other dining options, loosely arranged from the least expensive to the most expensive.

Star Market: 53 Huntington Ave. A full-sized grocery store in downtown Boston that’s open 24 hours a day.
Fanueil Hall: 1 Faneuil Hall Market Place. Faneuil Hall is a major tourist destination with more than 40 restaurants and food vendors.
Thinking Cup: 165 Tremont St. An upscale coffee bar that also serves breakfast and sandwiches.
Tasty Burger: 145 Dartmouth St. Local burger chain that’s open til 2:00 a.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Fire & Ice: 205 Berkeley St. Choose your vegetables, sauce, and meat, then let the chef grill it up on the huge circular grill in the center.
Barking Crab: 88 Sleeper St. A well-rated seafood restaurant on the water.
The Salty Pig: 130 Dartmouth St. Pork, pizza, beer, and wine.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House: 45 School St. The Boston location of this upscale chain.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse: 200 Dartmouth St. Brazilian steakhouse with a salad bar and all-you-can-eat meat.


December temperatures in Boston average around 40°F | 4.4°C during the day and they dip below freezing at night. Boston is actually the windiest major city in the United States with an average wind speed of 12.3mph | 19.79kph, though the wind can get much stronger during storms. Pack a durable coat, hat, and gloves to keep yourself warm. Also, make sure you bring warm boots or non-slip, water-resistant shoes. Sneakers, heels, and flats are more likely to slip on icy sidewalks and won’t help against puddles or snow.

A daily chart showing the average temperature in Boston during the week of the Major.
Historical average temperatures for the week of the Boston Major. Information from Weather.com.

Sightseeing and Entertainment

If you have extra time to spend in Boston, check out some of these local points of interest.

Museum of Science: 1 Science Park. Museum on the Charles River. Currently running a special Da Vinci exhibit.
Institute of Contemporary Art: 25 Harbor Shore Drive. A striking modern building with free admission on Thursdays from 5:00p.m. to 9:00p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts: 465 Huntington Ave. The MFA is a huge museum with more than 450,000 pieces of art. You could easily spend a full day here.
New England Aquarium: 1 Central Wharf. The aquarium is right on the water and features a four-story coral reef.

Faneuil Hall: 1 Faneuil Hall Market Place. Besides the restaurants in Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall has dozens of shops in the marketplace.
Newbury Comics: 332 Newbury St. Newbury Comics sells not only comics, but CDs, DVDs, toys, and assorted geekery. This store has a second location at Faneuil Hall.
Newbury St: Newbury St. Starting at the Public Garden, Newbury St runs for 8 blocks and contains dozens of restaurants as well as chain retails and small boutique stores.
Copley Plaza: 100 Huntington Ave. Upscale shopping center with Barney’s, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and more.

Frog Pond: 38 Beacon St. The city freezes this public pond in winter for ice-skating.
Public Garden: 4 Charles St. Though the flowers aren’t blooming in the winter, Fallout fans might enjoy visiting the pre-War home of super mutant behemoth Swan.
Freedom Trail: . The Freedom Trail starts outside the Boston Common Visitors Center. It is a literal trail of red bricks that creates a 2.5 miles | 4km path that passes by 16 historical sites. You can take a guided tour or download the paid app tour (proceeds go to preserving the historical landmarks).
Rose Kennedy Greenway: Purchase St. Years ago, the Central Artery was a huge, elevated highway running through Boston. The 20-year construction project known as the Big Dig put the freeway underground and placed the Rose Kennedy Greenway in its place. The Greenway contains public art, murals, attractions, fountains, and parks designed around the neighborhood’s identity (such as the Chinatown Park and North End Park).

Emergency Services

Emergency Services: Call 9-1-1 from any phone and be prepared to provide a location. This number connects you with police, ambulance, and/or fire department services .
Boston Police Non-Emergency Number: (617) 343-4240. This number goes to the local police district that covers the Wang Theater and surrounding areas. Click here to view the non-emergency numbers for other districts in Boston.
Medical Assistance: Tufts Medical Center: 800 Washington St. A full hospital located next to the Wang Theater. The hospital offers online emergency room check-in for minor medical emergencies. For serious emergencies, call 9-1-1 for an ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital.
International Assistance: List of Consulates with Offices in the Greater Boston Area


Underlord Update: How Has He Fared Since Release?

Deep below the ground underneath, countless amount of unknown horrors roam free in the Abyssal Horde—the world ruled by Vrogros the Underlord. His reign of terror goes beyond his containment, causing mayhem onto the surface.

Underlord is a strength hero who was unveiled during The International 6 and released on August 23, 10 days after the Grand Finals. How has Underlord performed since his debut?

Underlord was announced during TI6's All-Star Game
Underlord was announced during the All-Star Game of TI6.

According to Dotabuff, Underlord’s win rate is above 50% and has hovered around 53% to 55% since his arrival. This number has been staying quite consistent, even after the 6.88e patch.

Underlord’s pick and win rates vary by MMR. In the past month, according to Dotabuff, Underlord was picked only 4.2% of the time at 2k and below. The number increases to 5.1% in the 3k to 4k range, and jumps again to 8.7% for the 5k+ bracket. In ranked games at 5k MMR and above, Underlord actually has the second-highest win rate with 56%. He is second only to Omniknight, whose pick percentage for the past month was around 20%.

In general, the longer the match, the lower his winrate is compared to All Heroes, defined by the Dotabuff metrics. Level 12 Underlords show up in 3.9% of games and have a 56.2% win rate, just slightly above the All Heroes win rate of 55%. Level 25 Underlords show up in only 0.15% of games and have a 62% win rate, compared to the All Heroes 70.9% measurement. In comparison, Spectre (a hero designed for the late game) has a 75% win rate in the 0.9% of matches where she reaches level 25.

Underlord is typically put into the offlane, and his skills are quite efficient during laning phase. The typical ability build skills Atrophy Aura first for maximum harass damage. This aura removes a percentage of base damage granted by the enemy hero’s primary attribute, making it difficult for enemies to last hit. This debuff is especially effective in the early game—before enemy heroes start to build damage-dealing items. Atrophy Aura also grants temporary bonus damage to Underlord when a nearby enemy dies under its effect, making this hero more powerful as teamfights continue.

After the initial point in Atrophy Aura, most players choose to focus on Firestorm and Pit of Malice. Firestorm, his AoE damage skill, is the next skill to level and the first to max out. Pit of Malice is a crowd-control ability that should be skilled third and maxed second. Underlord’s Q and W can help clear out creep waves and harass his lane opponents for a relatively low mana cost and cooldown.

His ultimate, Dark Rift, teleports himself and nearby teammates across the map to any friendly unit or building. It can be used offensively or defensively. His abilities give him great utility in team fights, offering outstanding area-of-effect skills that damage and roots, while his base stats mean Underlord is quite beefy.

While Underlord is great at bringing down enemy heroes, he is not as strong at killing buildings. He requires teammates who can take down towers (and preferably quickly, to capitalize on Underlord’s advantage during the early stages of the game).

Guardian Greaves, Blade Mail, Crimson Guard, and Blink Dagger are the most common item choices for Underlord.
Guardian Greaves, Blade Mail, Crimson Guard, and Blink Dagger are the most common item choices for Underlord.

The most common item pickups for Underlord, in order, are Guardian Greaves, Blade Mail, Arcane Boots, Crimson Guard, and Blink Dagger, according to Dotabuff. Greaves and Crimson Guard synergize well with his aura, making Underlord an incredible tank who can soak damage while providing support for his team. A Blink Dagger, especially combined with a Blade Mail, allows him to initiate by affecting enemies with Atrophy Aura while tanking the damage hurled at him. Blinking then immediately throwing out Pit of Malice lets him trap the enemy for 2.5 seconds when the skill is at max level.

Underlord can also serve as a Gem of True Sight carrier. He’s often in the middle of fights, providing vision for his team. Then, his durability and escape mechanism mean he has a good chance of surviving fights or, at least, saving the Gem.

Ultimately, Underlord proves to be a hero worth picking up. His strong laning phase, incredible team fighting utility, and flexible ultimate make him an effective pick. On top of that, his abilities and popular items allow him to be an amazing tank. Vrogros has had a strong debut in the months since his release, but each new patch is sure to bring new uses—or weaknesses—to this otherworldly strength hero.