It’s been a rough past year for us. As most of you know, we have had ups and downs, but a few months ago you could start to see a glimmer of hope after a long slump. Akke I decided to team up with Pajkatt, but we were not convinced of the other two players. We did try to play with EGM again, but we did not find the same synergy as had before, and removing him from the team again was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made. The lineup changed a bit during the weeks afterward, but in the end we found a stable lineup with Madshka and Niqua. It was a great time, and we had some minor achievements – perhaps not the biggest, but every single win we got together meant the world to us – and this could not have been achieved without Niqua. I count him as one of my true friends, and I doubt we will stop playing together outside of professional Dota, but at the same time I couldn’t stay blind to the lack of synergy we had as a team as soon as we were put on the spot. Adapting, swapping lanes, and other elements which are fundamental to a Tier 1 team didn’t work out so well for us. There were some clashes of play-style between Niqua and other members on the team, and it made the team experience much less smooth than you might think.
On top of that, we had a lot of in-game problems when it came to communication. It might sound easy to voice chat with your team and point out everything important: moves you make, wards you place, and at the same time keeping a good flow on voice chat without creating chaos. But it takes a lot of experience, and sometimes not even that is enough; sometimes you just need to have personalities that fit with each other better.
I actually did consider the possibility of swapping out Niqua before StarLadder, because I knew there were problems within the team. But I had faith in Niqua, probably more so than the rest of the team did, and I wanted him to get the chance to go to StarLadder with us, to make sure that we get a real chance to play together at a LAN, because those are the kinds of experiences that truly define a team. And, yes, we had… results. We did beat Secret, and Niqua played well. But still, the same problems were there. It’s very hard to remove your friend from a lineup he dedicated so much of his time to, but in the end I know it is the right choice. I’ve made a lot of decisions in the past that some people might call questionable, but in the end I have to trust myself and my gut feeling, that’s what I have always done. Re-adding Bulldog is a step back to balance. It will fix some of the problems we have right now – not all, because we are still a work in progress – but with some time, we will be a force to be reckoned with, mark my words :). We will make all of our loyal fans proud, and just as importantly, we will make ourselves proud.
This is the final lineup. This is Alliance.
Jonathan “Loda” Berg