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Story of the world's richest esports player: N0tail

(Image via OG Twitter Handle)
(Image via OG Twitter Handle)
ANALYST
Modified 22 Apr 2021
Feature

In the world of esports, where rosters are often shuffled, friends turn to foes in no time.

However, there are a few exceptions, like Johan "N0tail" Sundstein. He chose to believe in friendships.


Early Life: Before Dota 2 and early Dota 2 days

(Image via Spiel Times)
(Image via Spiel Times)

N0tail started out in Heroes of Newerth, like most professional Dota 2 players at the time. There, he met his team and brother in arms, Tal "Fly" Aizik.

Together, Fly and N0tail took HoN by storm. They won four consecutive DreamHack events.

With the game's popularity dying, they shifted to Dota 2. The two had already won everything they could in HoN. They now had their sights on the biggest prize of them all: The International(TI). N0tail and Fly joined Team Fnatic, which was surprisingly eliminated by the Malaysian Team Orange.

Fly and N0tail struggled to establish themselves in Dota 2 as they did in Heroes of Newerth. Unable to find a group of truly like-minded players, those who valued loyalty and synergy over raw talent, they spent years just below the top tier.

They did; however, find themselves playing beside Dota 2 Legends Clement "Puppey" Ivanov, Kuro "Kuroky" Salehi Takhasomi, and Gustav "s4" Magnussen.

They ultimately ended up with disappointing results and got kicked out of Team Secret.


Formation and breaking of OG

(Image via OG Twitter Handle)
(Image via OG Twitter Handle)

N0tail and Fly decided to form their own team after getting kicked out of Team Secret to find like-minded individuals who shared their passion for the game. From scratch, they built a team that was truly a super team. It consisted of Fly, N0tail, Andreas Franck "Cr1t" Nielsen, Amer "Miracle" Al-Barkawi, and Steve "Xcalibur" Ye. Cr1t left later to be replaced by Gustav "s4" Magnussen.

N0tail won five majors with the team but faltered when it came to the biggest stage of them all. The team was heavy favorites to win every year but somehow failed.

Then came a dreadful day. The team got called to a conference room, where Fly and s4 said they were leaving OG for Evil Geniuses. As N0tail said in an interview, It was a rainy day, and there was a gloomy atmosphere all around.

The entire esports community was shocked to its core after hearing this news. Roster shuffles are very common in esports, but no one seemed to believe that Fly and N0tail could be separated. This was also just months before TI.

The esports community stood beside N0tail at the time. At that particular point in time, N0tail had almost no chance of being a top-tier core player in any team.

That's when the value of friendship, though rarely seen in esports, came into N0tail's life. JerAx stayed, and Ceb turned himself into an off-laner, bringing back their old stand-in mid-laner Anathan "Ana" Pham as the carry.

With the team struggling to find a mid-laner, JerAx suddenly found a player in a pub match, Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen, who had a rather unorthodox playing style and an unorthodox hero pool.


OG's fairytale esports journey

(Image via redbull.com)
(Image via redbull.com)

OG were the ultimate underdogs coming into TI8. They had N0tail, who switched positions to become a support and captain. They had Ceb, who became a player from a coach.

Most surprisingly, they had Topson, an unknown pubster whose first LAN tournament of Dota 2 was TI8. Yet, OG managed to squeeze its way into the upper bracket of the TI.

OG would have been eliminated in the upper brackets itself had it faced any other team, but as fate had it, it faced the Evil Geniuses.

OG played a different Dota 2 altogether. It seemed as if it were a different esports team. Topson was exceptional in that series, and the entire team played with a different fire within it.

Even though Evil Geniuses was the better esports team, OG managed to beat it and take the Dota 2 series by 2-1. N0tail's famous stare at Fly when the two shook hands after the game is still one of the most revered moments in Dota 2 and esports history.

OG reached the Grand Finals of TI that year, and it is widely regarded as the greatest final of all time. OG defied insurmountable odds and came back to take the series 3-2.

It was redemption for N0tail, who the entire esports community had discounted as a failed carry player. It was a story of flowers and friendships; a story of reveries and rainbows.


Post TI8 and TI9 Win

OG had achieved something nobody believed it could. After the win at TI, OG took a vacation for the rest of the year, and it was back in esports before the next year's TI. The previous year, it was the ultimate underdog. People considered the feat a fluke, and nobody in the esports industry thought that it could be achieved again.

But this was OG. For TI9, it was the bully. The team bulldozed its way to the TI finals and achieved something that was deemed impossible by the esports community. It won back-to-back TIs.

N0tail has been immortalized in the esports history as the player who led a team to repeat TI wins. He has cemented his position as the most able captain, the most supportive friend. He is the beloved child of the esports industry.

Published 22 Apr 2021
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