The Story of Fly and N0tail: The Dota Brothers
8 Comments


Fly and N0tail have been playing MOBAs together for almost a decade. They’ve played on the same teams for most of their lives. In the same games. In the same roles. They’ve grown together, won together, and even lost together. But they’ve done something few other players have. Together they’ve built one of the most stable orgs in Dota history. With four Major wins to their name. And it all started because the two men who led OG found a brotherhood through Dota. A connection they wanted to share with a team of their own. This is their story Tal “Fly” Aizik and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein met through video games, when they were 14. Fly grew up in Israel and Canada, with fitness and exercise as a core part of his identity. His father trained him in martial arts, instilling in him with a sense of how important discipline is to any serious competitor. And that became a core part of his leadership style. In Denmark, N0tail grew up obsessed with video games. That obsession developed into a dream, school. and soon he decided to dedicate himself to them full-time while he was still in high school. Fly and N0tail’s paths first crossed online in Heroes of Newerth, one of several MOBAs that cropped up between Dota and Dota 2. The pair eventually signed with a Fnatic roster that is considered one of the best in that game’s history, with wins at DreamHack Winter 2010 and 2011, and DreamHack Summer 2011 and 2012. But as HoN began to wind down, Fnatic’s roster transitioned to Dota. The team didn’t pick up too many wins early on, but were a consistent presence in the Top 8 of various tournaments, and most notably picked up a win against No Tidehunter’s soon-to-be-legendary roster at Thor Open 2012. (Casting) Despite coming short of placing first at a significant tournament, the team was invited to The International 2013 and played well in the group stage, (Casting) Although their early tournament performance was respectable. The bracket phase of the competition proved to be too great a hurdle for Fnatic to overcome. (Casting) The next season didn’t treat Fnatic much better. The team performed well at qualifiers and minor events, but the bigger, better teams always won out at premiers. But through their formative years with Fnatic Fly and N0tail’s signature styles became apparent. N0tail was the team’s leader. He was brash, loud and animated. “I’m here with N0tail from Fnatic or as I’ve now been informed, Big Daddy?” “Yep, that’s right.” “Why?” “Why not?” Fly, on the other hand, became a student of the game. He was the man behind Fnatic’s drafts and served as a calming presence for the team. “Even inside if I think I was probably going to lose, I would still say I’m going to win. Because it helps your mentality.” Outside of Dota 2, they were the best of friends, but that chemistry alone, was not enough to carry Fnatic to victory, against the game’s best teams. (Casting) Fnatic would make it back to TI in 2014, but this time, they bombed out in the group stage. (Casting) Fly and N0tail were the first to leave Fnatic following their abrupt TI4 exit. The duo joined up with legendary Natus Vincere players Puppey and KuroKy and Alliance’s S4 to form Team Secret. According to N0tail, the organization was supposed to be something different. Most Dota teams would switch rosters just days after a tournament if they didn’t win. Secret was intended to be a place where the players would work things out instead, and at first, it looked like things were going according to plan. (Casting) But behind the scenes, that wasn’t the case. Fly was removed from the support role and pushed to position 2. He wasn’t leading the team, And he wasn’t drafting. He was out of his element, and unable to show what had made him so valuable to Fnatic. “I’ve seen this before in other games as well, actually in Dota 2 as well. Where you build a superteam and inevitably, one of the players is highlighted as the weak link as it were, and he’s been highlighted as that already, but it doesn’t mean he’s a bad player.” By December, Secret kicked Fly. Fly ended up wandering for a bit, playing for MeePwned, an EU stack, and eventually Complexity Gaming in NA. N0tail didn’t stick around much longer. By January, he was off Secret as well, and went to Cloud9. It was the first time Fly and N0tail ever played on different teams. From January to August 2015, the brotherhood forged by Dota was broken up. Neither player made any significant waves leading up to TI5, but the tournament brought them back together, only on opposite sides of the battlefield. Complexity stomped C9 2-0 in the group stage. But both teams would end up drowning in the deeper waters, of the lower bracket. after a season playing apart with little success between them, Fly and N0tail decided that something needed to change. Major and TI victories had escaped the duos grasp time after time. They weren’t young, rising stars anymore. They were veterans that had supposedly hit their peak. And they weren’t going to get signed as a package deal. But Fly and N0tail knew that they were better together. They were tired of teams kicking players right after TI. The knee-jerk decision always seemed to make sense in the moment, but it rarely panned out. So they put their heads together to build something new. An organization that believed in working through mistakes and focused on developing a core set of players. They built the foundation of OG; Monkey Business. “We wanted people to feel comfortable to be able to share whatever they have to say. And just you know have some fun together while still working towards the same goal.” “So it was two different things combined.” Fly brought MoonMeander with him from Complexity, and the team went on to recruit Crit-, a longtime Danish player who had yet to get a big break on a major team, and then there was Miracle- a pubstar with the highest MMR in the world. With Fly and N0tail’s philosophy of positivity and perseverance fueling them, the new roster announced themselves to the Dota world. (Casting) After qualifying for the Frankfurt Major, Monkey Business rebranded as OG and entered their second ever LAN tournament with tons of promise. Pundits felt that OG were strong, but too green to lift the trophy. “In terms of LAN experience, the players individually on OG has a lot, but as a team, they’ve yet to perform.” “They were at MLG as their first LAN together and they went out pretty early on.” At first, OG proved them right. The group stage was rough and two losses to Vega Squadron forced them down to the lower bracket. (Casting) For any other team, that would have been the end of the line. The road to victory was too long and riddled with a gauntlet of Dota 2’s most dangerous teams. But OG was built to work through adversity. Fly and N0tail’s veteran experience resulted in a team that was made to work together and win. And they did. (Casting) Mineski came next and crumbled under OG’s might. (Casting) Next was Virtus.pro, OG’s first challenge, but OG rallied after a first game loss and took the series 2-1. (Casting) After casting aside CDEC Gaming, EHOME, and TI5 Champions Evil Geniuses, OG had finally made it to the Grand Finals. “It’s been an incredible story, and the first team ever to come from the very first round Bo1 games and reach a Grand Final at a Valve sponsored event.” There they faced Team Secret, the team that kicked Fly and N0tail all those months ago. The team that led them to play apart, the team that OG was built to be better than. (Casting) Secret would momentarily halt OG’s momentum in game 3. (Casting) But in game 4 the Green Machine would not be denied. (Casting) (Casting) With that victory, Fly and N0tail lifted their first Valve trophy. To cap off the most incredible lower bracket run in Dota 2’s storied history. “A huge run, the dream run.” “Achieving what no other team has done.” “And no other team will probably achieve for a very long time.” Secret would avenge themselves at the Shanghai Major a few months later, knocking OG into the lower bracket, which, this time, OG could not recover from. But despite their lapse in form, OG stuck together and kept pushing, all the way to the Manila Major which they would conquer from the upper bracket. (Casting) Things were looking good for OG in 2016, but at TI, the team that had looked so good all year bombed out after back-to-back losses to MVP Phoenix and colossal underdogs TNC. (Casting) (Casting) “OG, eliminated on day number two at TI6” “OG’s early TI exit was a tough pill to swallow for N0tail and Fly. “I feel like as a team and myself, I wasn’t able to get in tune with everyone. I also felt I was talking way less.” “This tournament, it brings out something like that other tournaments don’t either.” “Like forget strategy part, doesn’t matter you know we could be at like way better than other team but they have that fire and we don’t, we’re gonna lose.” This time, change was unavoidable. Crit, Miracle and Moonmeander left, and were replaced by JerAx, S4, and Ana. But Fly and N0tail – the heart and soul of OG – were still there, and they had no plans of giving up. With their new lineup, OG bounced back from the disappointment of TI at the Boston Major. Only dropping two games en route to capturing an impressive third Valve Major title. “You guys redid your entire team, and you did it again. You two are the only survivors, And that’s your third Major! How? How’s this possible? How have you done it?” “It’s definitely thanks to these three. No way and of course coach Séb. But ehh… I mean we just just play like some oldies. You know we just made some rusty dota and then we get carried.” In Spring of 2017, OG attended the Kiev Major making it all the way to the Grand Finals. “They’ve never lost a major final either, and they’ve had three out of three so far, they’re in their fourth final as an organization. I wonder whether that will stay on as well. Their opponent, Virtus.Pro, came into the series hot. They had only dropped two games the entire tournament and were being hailed for their incredible flexibility and ferocious team fighting. (Casting) “VP right now look absolutely incredible.” As the only CIS team in the bracket stage, VP had the crowd at their backs. And now face to face with the defending champions. They looked poised to drag OG into a bloodbath. “Will they be the ones to stop OG?” OG took game one. (Casting) But VP answered back by taking two games in a row. (Casting) Following game three, morale was low. But after years in the trenches together, n0tail and Fly weren’t too worried. “Think about it this way, this is what I’m doing. I’m going to have another thousand Dota games. I might as well enjoy them, each one of them. No reason to be sad about any of them.” “Be happy that we’re here, and that we have this chance. It’s not over, nothing’s over.” “It’s a reset.” “How many best of threes did we do this? “Yeah it’s just two more games, think about it.” And that positive never-say-die attitude was rewarded in game four. (Casting) VP stormed out of the gate taking a commanding lead in game five. (Casting) But through sheer will and determination, OG clawed their way back from the brink of annihilation. (Casting) (Casting) From there, OG couldn’t be stopped. (Casting) Unfortunately that win at the Kiev Major is OG’s last premier win. Although the team struggled yet again at TI7 And the roster may have changed. Fly and N0tail’s philosophy remains the same. “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” “Work hard. Enjoy the challenges in life and accept the failures along the way like they’re there and you can’t run away from them.” “Always do your best. And remember to always get back up no matter where you are in life.” Over the course of eight years, Fly and n0tail have grown alongside one another. And through the solidarity and friendship they found in each other. They assembled one of Dota’s most stable, successful, and beloved organizations. (OG chants) Whether or not they win TI during their careers remains to be seen. But one thing that can’t be denied is the determination they’ve shown along the way to confront every challenge together. “Can’t stress on it more, honestly these two guys are not only just in the game incredible, but out of the game.”

8 thoughts on “The Story of Fly and N0tail: The Dota Brothers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *