Throughout his career, Tal “Fly” Aizik only succeeded when he was at the forefront. Never considered the strongest position 5 player, but he remained the captain of the best team in the world for many years straight. This is the story of the new leader of Evil Geniuses, from the player Heroes of the Newerth to the nickname “Master of the Majors”.
The article consists of 2 parts: Part 1 / Part 2
Fnatic’s strongest European squad
Fly moves into Dota 2 with three companions from HoN: n0tail, Era and NoVa. Mid player H4nn1 quickly joined the team after that. The new Dota 2 roster inherits a spot in StarLadder Pro Series Season 2 from the old team and plays in the famous Fnatic shirt: this organization helps players get tickets to The Premier League 2 and The Defense 2. Fnatic qualified for StarSeries Season 3, they were unable to advance to the playoffs at any event.
In fall 2012, NoVa was replaced by Trixi. The team immediately beat DreamHack Valencia 2012, thereby gaining a place in DreamHack Winter 2012. Fnatic topped the group where only Team Dignitas was a formidable opponent, then defeated Cr1t’s team in the quarterfinals. , but unfortunately lost to Evil Geniuses in the next round. A few weeks later, the team won NoTidehunter in the final Thor Open festival (held in Sweden). A month later, Fnatic placed 4th at StarLadder StarSeries Season 4.
At the time, the Fnatic boys were seen as a formidable opponent, thanks to a meta that focused on smart macros and high teamwork. The captains then used only a limited number of heroes: nothing could compete with the power of Nature’s Prophet, Chen or Batrider. But Fly broke that rule.
This roster doesn’t have players like Miracle, or people who are good at meta heroes like AdmiralBulldog. Therefore, Fly can only depend on flexibility for the roles of his teammates and Era. The first choice in the strategy is a somewhat risky choice with Visage and Meepo. These two heroes are given to n0tail, he can also play support if needed. But the other option is the one that is effective, especially in the first months of 2013.
Meta 2013 put them in the group of the best teams, but still lost to big names like Alliance or Natus Vincere. Fnatic is more like Virtus.pro and Team Empire, who often lose to the stronger team due to many individual mistakes. However, Fnatic still lost due to Fly’s macro decisions. The final at The Defense 3 is the best example of a captain’s mistake that cost the team dearly.
Fly made two big mistakes while drafting: not banning Nature’s Prophet and picking Broodmother offlane when the opponent already had Batrider, Gyrocopter, and Leshrac. As a result, Phantom Lancer had no trouble in his lane and Keeper of the Light farmed fine in the jungle, whereas in mid and offlane his teammates couldn’t even see the creeps’ faces. Era can’t stand against 3 cores alone; Even Crazy’s mistake couldn’t save Fnatic. Fly has to help mid and offlane, either gank Batrider or work with Broodmother to push offlane. However, the captain decided to put the focus on PL alone, who only took one VP turret while the opponent pushed to the high ground.
While Fly sometimes gets caught in draft traps, the team sometimes wins a game or two against Alliance and Evil Geniuses. This earned them a spot at The International 2013, where Fnatic finished 7-8 after losing to Orange Esports.
In the match, playing too disciplined pushed Fnatic into the abyss. Fly controls the game according to the books: the team takes the turrets, all 5 players almost go together. Mushi’s Anti-Mage isn’t ready to fight yet, which means Dark Seer with Mekansm and Shadow Fiend and Black King Bar can push up. But they didn’t. Era controls Morphling with Linken’s Sphere; but this item is not enough to put pressure on the Malaysian team. The Fnatic captain gave Mushi enough time to flip the odds with simple split pushes.
Adapt or be eliminated
In several tournaments of the new season, Fly started rebuilding the team to fit the meta, using more heroes and playing at a faster tempo. They’ve always played defensively for the past year, pushing only when Era has enough gear – which always takes a lot of time.
In late November 2013, Fnatic adapted; they finished runner-up at DreamHack early in the season as well as at RaidCall EMS One Fall Season and Fragbite Masters 2013.
The team has become more active: the boys’ pick now includes both Batrider and Weaver, along with Venomancer and Night Stalker. These are clearly not slow-playing and slow-playing heroes. Fnatic is ready for battle.
Fly’s drafts are no longer confusing. Beating Puppey at the XMG Captains Draft Invitational was a big step forward. The new meta focuses on strong laning heroes, which is exactly what Fnatic has taken advantage of. After gaining the advantage, the team members and captains go up the Hand of Midas and defend until they have impactful items. Fly’s strategy can only be exploited by either Natus Vincere or Vici Gaming.
Although Fnatic didn’t win a major tournament, they were never outside the top 4. In June 2014, Era’s health declined, and the team was forced to play against Excalibur, a young carry. With him, the team reached the top 3 in 5 tournaments. Maybe the new member is more suitable for the meta, there is no room for greedy carry anymore.
Era reunited with Fnatic at The International 2014, but both the management and the players believed that this only made his health worse. The team negotiated a lot with Valve and Era itself but they were unable to use Excalibur at the tournament.
N0tail talked about this drama in an interview with Ken “Hot_Bid” Chen after the TI4 group stage:
Those who understand our problem can guess that the team has very little time to practice with the current roster. Things have been going pretty badly for the past month. You get used to a new way of playing by switching players, and now you’re back to your old style – it’s the equivalent of not preparing for the tournament at all.
Overall, I think it’s not just that but a lot of things that led to this disappointing result, and there’s not much we can do about it.
While Fnatic played confidently in the group stage, they didn’t look like a team in the games they’ve won. As n0tail said, the team quickly adapted to Era, who hadn’t practiced in over a month. He had to play heroes of a different meta than his usual hard carry like Brewmaster, Wraith King, and even Tidehunter. Trixi and H4nn1 are given everything, and Era is not used to not being able to farm; Many teamfights failed because of his mistakes. Fly is forced to consider the old meta and the current meta. Fnatic only achieved a 6-9 record in the group stage and was forced to leave the tournament. This is the last tournament where this squad will play together.
Monkey Business Revolution
Fly went on to have a normal year of competition. At the beginning of the season, he joined Team Secret with n0tail and played as an offlane. After a few months, he left Secret. In early 2015, Fly reunited with H4nn1 and Excalibur at MeePwn’d, a mix team that lasted less than two months.
Fly qualified for The International 2015 with compLexity Gaming. Under Kyle’s leadership, the team entered the winner’s bracket, but lost to both EG and VP. After that, Fly and n0tail formed Monkey Business, mixed this team and then became the OG lineup.
Joining them are MoonMeander, Cr1t and the conqueror, Miracle-. N0tail changed to carry position. At the start of the season, the team qualified for three tournaments, including the first Dota 2 Major in history, The Frankfurt Major 2015. A month before the tournament, Monkey Business finished in the top three at the MLG World Finals and the Dota 2 Champions League. Season 6.
At this point, they understood the number of heroes that a pro team should know how to use: in just one month, Monkey Business used 62 different heroes. In Frankfurt, OG started the playoffs in the loser bracket after losing twice to Vega Squadron – now with Solo, No.[o]ne, and 9pasha. However, in the end, Fly and his teammates defeated 6 opponents to advance to the final.
In the final match of the tournament, OG faced candidate Team Secret. But they’re not afraid of anything: OG is ready to fight, turret, and do whatever it wants. The members barely paid for their actions, with Miracle- controlling Invoker and Fly holding Dazzle standing on the other side of the river, while MoonMeander and Cr1t circled around. It seems that Fly has picked supports that can save teammates, and always orders attacks and retreats at the right time. Miracle- took care of the rest, he only lost one game in the finals.
MoonMeander praised Miracle- like this on ask.fm:
[Miracle-] play anti-mage or SF and carry the whole 1v9 match by yourself. We simply created the environment for him to shine: Miracle + four teammates 4k mmr
This joke is partly true. If Meepo is not in the lineup, Miracle- is the recipe for victory. In general, OG tries to win through great pressure from macros: Fly often picks all-round strong heroes like Doom or Shadow Fiend – often able to farm alone and control most of the map.
After winning the Major and the subsequent ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season 4, OG took a break. Fly didn’t want to change the way the team played, but by mid-season, teams were starting to move into teamfight-focused drafts. A few positional errors were enough to take away the advantage OG got from the Dark Seer/Disruptor combo. In addition, n0tail performed poorly in this moment. As a result, the team was only 7-8th at the 2016 Shanghai Major. This was Valve’s only Major where OG didn’t win the trophy.
Wanting to rethink their way of playing, the team hired a coach, 7ckngMad. With him, Fly diversified OG’s tactics, while the members tried to keep up with Miracle-. A month later, OG returned to the throne by winning The Manila Major 2016. Their draft featured Dark Seer, Batrider, Invoker and other heroes that helped in teamfight. OG’s playstyle became more active, the team dominated early game and rarely lasted too long.
N0tail and Cr1t are the real heroes of The Manila Major, not Miracle-. The Danish players are no longer a support for Miracle-. They can create mutations when the meta requires. N0tail and Fly incinerated their opponents with their Faceless Void/Phoenix combo, while Cr1t was determined to outmaneuver JerAx’s Earth Spirit tackles. In the final series, Team Liquid was only able to win one point against OG, partly because n0tail’s Alchemist performed so well. The final score was 3:1.
On the eve of The International 2016, the team won ESL One Frankfurt 2016 and placed second at The Summit 5. OG is the contender for the biggest event of the year. Although Miracle- can handle the opponent in mid, but in the late game, OG can’t control the Korean carry. In game 3, MVP brought PA to an easy lane, not giving n0tail a chance to deploy. Then, in the losing bracket, TNC Predator dealt a fatal blow to the “Major Boss”, which is considered the most unexpected top team loss in Dota 2 history.
In the first game, Fly drafted a bit greedy, with Medusa, Drow Ranger and Faceless Void. At the 28th minute, OG pushed to the opponent’s high ground. That’s when the captain started making mistakes: instead of continuing to pressure the lanes, the team started hitting from a distance. As a result, the Phantom Lancer gets what he needs, and destroys Medusa. The following game also started with OG playing overwhelmingly, but after 50 minutes, the team could not take advantage of it, only breaking one side of the barrack. Then the TNC was unstoppable: nothing could escape the perfectly placed Chronosphere and the Huskar and Drow Ranger snipers.
According to Cybersport
Watch Part 2
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