This write up was not planned ahead of time, I never would of thought the community would react in this way, but I feel like I am obligated to give a bigger picture of whats truly happened. My writing skills are quite awful so bare with me.
Our performance/Time Line:
Obviously had the team been performing recently, these turn of events would have never occurred, and so I would like to go over what has happened with nth since DH/THOR within my explanation.
As everyone knows, nth has not been performing well since DH. However, our performance has not been as bad as others have described. We defeated Empire's full roster in SL and although we did lose to EG in a bo5 3-2, the tournament was only for $100. Of course we did lose Thor to Fnatic as well. Looking back now, it really wasn't that big a deal but the team and myself included were not satisfied with our performance since DH. Personally I felt that the reason as to why we were losing was because of lack of communication. No one was making calls anymore, especially S4 and AdmiralBullDog who made quite a lot of early game decisions back at DH. I complained a fair amount about the lack of communication but the issue was not solved for a week. Eventually, I came to a realization that perhaps they aren't meant to make those calls, and that it's my fault for not making more calls as the captain. This decision would probably haunt me all the way up till now.
Shortly after these official games, it was XMAS break and I wen't to China. Not many games/scrims were played while I was in China and when I came back I was quite worried that I would under perform having not played any DotA. However, we defeated both Mouz and EG 2-1 and 2-0 respectively in D2L. I was quite happy with our results since my return, and I felt fairly confident going up against Empire also at D2L. We stomped Empire extremely hard the first game but ended up losing the bo3 in stomps as well.
This lost to Empire 1 month and 7 days ago marked our 1 month slump where we did not defeat a single Tier-1 team (Mouz, Fnatic, NaVi, nth, Dignitas, TL, EG, and VP imo) in official games. It was not a coincidence either as before this period we were doing very well against other teams in scrims, but during this month we were pretty much less than 50% win against all T-1 teams.
Slump Period/Why we sucked
I take a lot of responsibility as to why the team fell into this slump. I felt that I under performed as a player/captain during this time period. Although there are a lot of underlying reasons as to my under performance which I will get into, in the end I failed. I'm so fucking bad.
During this period of time I made a lot more in-game calls than I usually do. Looking back I think there are two reasons for this:
1. As I pointed out previously, my team made a lot less decisions, and I felt that it was my duty as captain to make those decisions for them.
2. The team literally asked me "what should we do" when I wasn't ready to make a thoughtout decision, and I felt that I was forced to make that decision right there and then.
A lot of my calls felt forced and so the chances of them being correct were much less than if I was confident about my calls. My death count increased significantly as well, and I felt like the reason for this was because I was unable to focus on my game, instead I focused on thinking for my teammates a lot more than I could handle.
However, at the same time I was also a big huge coward. There were many calls I should of made but decided not to. Like when your team is about to engage in a fight, but you should tell them to get the fuck back. Sure sometimes I was like "back" but that's really not enough when it comes to a fight, instead you should be like "BACK BACK NOW, GET THE FUCK BACK." I was scared that I would make the wrong decision, and let my teammates movements dictate my decisions too much. Instead of manning up and acting like the captain when the team needs me.
During the past week though, it hasn't been about the drafts/calls as much. Now its pretty much just everyone sucking. There's all sorts of problems everywhere.
Of course during this slump-period, like any other team, there were arguments. However, I've always had arguments with Loda, and I've never really argued with Admiral or Akke. This time though, S4 started having arguments with me as well, but we generally came to an agreement. Honestly, I didn't consider it so bad, I've had a lot worse on my previous teams and from what I've seen from other teams.
About the last 5 days ish
About 5 days ago, Loda messaged me on skype after having talked to the team. He wanted me to step down as captain and for him to take up the role. I wasn't really surprised, as I was honestly starting to doubt my own captaining abilities, and was thinking of stepping down myself. However, I was fairly pissed that we never had an open discussion about this, and Loda individually talked to everyone else on the team other than me. My response was that it's something I've considered as well, but there's no way I'm agreeing to this without a team discussion.
We had a team discussion after our scrims that day and we talked about a lot of things but the main focus was on:
1. I take up too much space in games with calls, making it hard for others to make decisions:
Although I completely agree with this statement, I explained that the only reason to why this started becoming a thing was because no one else was making those calls.
2. Our tri lane vs tri lane sucks:
I completely agree with this too. During the slump month, I've died way too much while thinking about random shit, or Loda dies when I'm roaming. Although I think I should roam a lot less, I really can't take full responsibility for the tri lane synergy sucking. Loda should really play more safely when I do end up roaming, even if I shouldn't roam as much. More on my style of tri lane vs tri lane, I feel that in the past the way I roamed really randomly was very effective, but nowadays as teams study us it has become predictable and I shouldn't do it as much. Fucking liquid/dignitas buy pre-emptive tp scrolls on their supports when they are level 2 expecting me to roam.
At the end of our convo, I complained quite a lot about how we handled this situation. That we all put our hopes and dreams in DotA and take the game very seriously. And because of how important it is to us, we should all speak up if there are any problems and put everything out there in the open. That I don't want any hard feelings or internal problems and that all issues need to be fixed in the open. Of course I'm not saying it wasn't my fault, I'm sure I can come off arrogant or w/e, but honestly it really doesn't matter. If the game really is that important to you, and you respect your teammates, you should always put out everything in the open and discuss it together, no bullshit.
In the end, I asked for another week as the captain, so I can try some shit, and to see for myself how I would captain under all this pressure. That I would step down myself if I cannot overcome my walls and obstacles within a week.
The day after that (maybe two days), after our scrims/officials, I had a long talk with s4. I talked about what I think of myself as a captain, what I think of the team and it's players, what happened to the team, and why it all happened. How we all just suck, and how our play has given me a hard time as captain. How other teams have started playing, how the chinese teams play, our vision of how the team should play when we get better, and our approach of the game. We pretty much agreed on everything.
I also told him about my personal view of putting Loda as captain and what I think it may mean.I felt that Loda was a wildcard when it came to captaining. He doesn't really participate in many drafts as a whole, usually hes either afk during the draft, or comes back at the end of the draft to complain. I felt that when he offered suggestions it was like "sniper!" A one hero suggestion with somewhat little thought. However, I'm not saying he wouldn't have well thought out strategies if he captains seriously. Maybe he'll still be the legendary captain he was back in the SK days. But I had one huge issue in letting him captain. I felt that we couldn't just simply try it out. That once Loda takes up the captain role, even if it doesn't work out, I could never get it back. That the team would break once the opposite happens, and we have a discussion about his captaining skills.
But regardless of all this, I told s4 that he gives me the most helpful and thought out suggestions. That he studies drafts and watches replays/streams seriously and has a very high understanding of the game. And I would really like it if he stops being a coward and takes up the captaining role. He accepted my proposal and now hes the drafter.
With our new approach to the game and s4's drafting, we did end up defeating Empire. Of course we lost to fnatic and mouz shortly after but I was still really happy with the outcome. I wasn't happy about our results, but how our communication and directing has changed for what I think is the better.
S4 now takes up a lot of space in the game, I no longer have to make as many decisions for the team, and because of that I was able to play well. I was finally able to focus, didn't have to direct the team as much, didn't have to worry about what the team thought of my decisions, and drafts. Against Empire, although i did miss a stun with nyx (T_T), I barely died and played well overall. A ridiculous 2 death shadow demon in a losing game where I kept the enemies gem for 15 minutes participating in 15/22 kills.
Although we lost to fnatic and mouz shortly after beating Empire, I still had high hopes for the team, and that we would come back stronger with s4 as the drafter. But about 30 minutes after losing to Mouz, Loda messaged me on skype and I knew what was coming. I asked that if what he was to type to me was important, I rather talk on skype than have him type it.
Of course the talk was about my departure from the team. The convo went on for about 30minutes. The main focus of the talk had to do with a few things:
1. How hes always wanted a full swedish team:
How that split second faster communication (talking in native tongue) might be necessary to become a top team. I pointed out LGD.INT and a bunch of shit. But in the end, after his discussion with the team (that didn't involve me), they feel that in the long run, speaking your native tongue is optimal.
2. That I don't let s4 pick alone, and captain alone:
This is true, I don't. But we never came to an agreement that I would in the first place, plus s4 has never told me to stop helping him, instead we agreed that I would help him in both the draft and in-game captaining. How come Loda has an issue with this, but s4 has never told me or even hinted that I shouldn't help him too much? This is why a team should always talk out everything in the open. Of course I did tell him that me and s4 talked it over, and honestly had he wanted me to step down even more I would have done so. But I was never given the chance. Nor did we ever talk about this.
3. Our tri vs tri lane still sucks:
This is still true, but I personally don't think we had enough time to change the way we play with each other. Although we've always known that our tri vs tri sucks, I honestly don't think we've ever discussed it hardcore and tried to truly fix it, like we have just done. Maybe laning synergy is just a thing that two people have, maybe its a thing we can seriously work on, oh well, we will never find out now I guess.
4. What I've brought to the team and how they think of me as a player:
We spoke about whether DH was just a lucky coincidence, and we both agreed that it wasn't. Loda even said that he truly believes that the main reasons for DH was because of s4 and I. And that I've helped both Akke and Him grow as players, and the team as a whole. The team doesn't think lowly of my individual skill as well.
In the end, he concluded that the main reason as to why I was dropped was because its better in the long run to have a full swedish-line up. I didn't believe it, I called bullshit. There's no way I can accept that, there's obviously a combination of reasons. I argued that I'm more dedicated than any other player, and that had everything been discussed in the open that I would have definitely changed for the better, for whatever we end up concluding as a team. But we never have these discussions. Everything's kept locked up till the crucial time. Our team is going through a phase right now, that I really think with s4 doing drafts, we will get much better as a team, and everything will work out.
How can you just drop a player, when the team has so many gameplay issues right now, why wouldn't we try to address and fix those first before having this major change. We already just had a major change with s4 doing picks, why not give it some time before making another one. After this discussion, Loda talked with the rest of the team (I wasn't involved), and came back to me 15 minutes later with the statement posted on JD. About 15 minutes after that Akke wrote me the other statement. I have still not talked to admiral yet and s4 told me about 3 hours later that he would talk to me tomorrow.
Jonathan 'Loda' Berg:
I spoke to everyone. And I did have a long talk about. And we decided that we believe more in a all swedish team, and that has to do with language, but also with synergy. You've done a lot for this team, and sure you have invested a lot, but so has everyone else. Thnx for everything uve done, and for helping us grow as players. And I know for sure that u will find a new team, u are the best at what you do, and I think we have helped u grow as a player aswell. Now u can do anything, and a lot of players will play with you. The reason for us is the nationality issue."
Joakim 'Akke' Akterhall:
For whatever it means, I put in a really good word for you when we spoke about it. I said that I've never played with someone who was as good as you when it comes to the synergy of the 2 support players but Loda has a very clear though of what's best for the team and you probably understand that it aint an easy choise for me when it comes down to Loda or you. I'm not saying this to ease my conscience but because I want you to know that I think very highly of you as a player.
After Alls said and Done
I personally don't think they made the right decision, but I may be wrong, perhaps any sort of change may spark a new motivation and develop their play. Perhaps this change was the correct decision and they suddenly get better as a team. Or perhaps they stay where they are.
However, I strongly believe that the way this incident was handled was awful, and that a team should have enough respect for the other members to bring everything out in the open. And all problems should be heavily discussed together and dealt with before an accumulation of problems build up and its too late.
Regardless I still respect my previous teammates as players.
S4 is the best player 1on1 player I've ever practice against. And one of the best mid players in general.
Admiralbulldog is the most dedicated player, doing many small things just to improve his play, and practicing the same hero over and over when hes asked too.
Akke's micro is really good and his plays always solid, the most stable of any player I've ever played with.
Loda excels when hes serious, a trait that's necessary when it comes to big lan tournaments.
In the end although we played in "Loda Time" (being late to every scrim), he really wasn't that late and we still scrimmed around 5 days a week. I believe we were the most dedicated team since september in the western scene. Though it sucks that the practice didn't really payoff since dream hack. I guess practice is pointless if problems aren't fixed openly.
A lot of people are putting a lot of blame on Loda, but even though he initiated this change, in the end it was a team decision. He has the balls to come out as the bad guy and tell me even though we had our differences and I give my props to that. Thank you Akke for putting in a good word for me, and still helping me out even though we are no longer teammates.
To my fans and friends, I'm handling the situation much better than I would have expected. I'm really not that bitter, or sad. I had a good run with nth, and I learnt a lot from the team and experience. My future for DotA isn't very clear right now but I haven't given hope yet and I'm not going to take a break either. I'll try my best to get better and perhaps join a new team.
"Mysterious Sponsorship" - The sponsor was bought to us by Loda and will stay with him and the rest of the team