N0tail’s success came relatively late in his career, but he has since cemented two TI wins – a feat which was unheard of before he hit the scene – and founded his own highly successful team. Starting his professional journey with Fnatic as ‘BigDaddy’, n0tail quickly transitioned through several other teams to find his home in OG – a creation of his own, along with long-time team-mate Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik. It was here that his playstyle and skill level continued to improve, culminating in some of the biggest victories Dota 2 fans have ever witnessed.
The last few years have been spent exploring new ways to help the Dota professional scene grow, and scouting new talent to be nurtured under his unusual tutelage.
In the latest episode of Unfold, n0tail gives us the lowdown on his successes, and you can watch how he hopes to pass his winning skills and attitudes on to newer Dota 2 players through his unique approach to bootcamps and coaching.
“Video gaming for me started when I was very, very young,” says n0tail, providing a voiceover for a photo which proves just how small the Dota star was when he began. The hobby took over, becoming his whole life, and so the prospect of professional esports seemed “too good to be true”.
In the video, n0tail describes his slow start, playing for a $200 salary and going four years with no real success. His mantra seems to be that hard work gets you where you want to be, as he emphasises the huge dedication and faith he was required to show, even from the start. His contemporaries mention that he appears to see the game at a higher level, looking at it from another dimension – a skill that he has now turned into the start of a training empire.
If just one team likes being here, then that’s a success to me
He is often seen encouraging his team with a carefree attitude, pulling them together and emphasising the enjoyment of the game over the possible strain of obsessing over a win. This approach appears to have done wonders for members of OG, and n0tail is now taking this to a wider audience of Dota players.
Even though he’s the highest earning esports tournament player in history, n0tail seems unfazed and somewhat jovial about his newfound wealth, as evidenced by his introduction to his “humble mansion” in the video. This is far more than an opulent living space, however, as he explains the purpose of owning such a large building in the Portuguese countryside, referring to it as “our house”. “My vision for buying a house this size is mostly to have the bootcamp setup that I always wanted,” he remarks while showing the specialised rooms and their functions.
During the video, n0tail guides us around the sprawling property, showing dedicated rooms for OG bootcamps. The main gaming room features some state-of-the-art rigs and is situated next to a ‘base’ where teams come together to relax. This bean-bag filled room, n0tail claims, will heal “any rough days”. The secondary gaming room is accented with sunflowers, a symbol n0tail often uses to refer to himself and his team.
Taking a holistic approach to professional esports development, he has designed an open and welcoming space for his team to bond and unwind. He cites the importance of the “ideal conditions” and says that these include a balance of “the sunlight, the food and time outside”.
The theme throughout – whether in the warm, white, sun-filled rooms, or the flowers dotted around the place – is focused on growth and nature, and the video even shows n0tail with his “first ever tomato” which he grew himself. The fulfilment and “mother instinct” that he mentions when proudly showing off this flourishing plant is an indication of his ability to nurture and grow his team from nothing but seeds. His plans for the property include a soccer field, a climbing wall, and a “proper garden”, where his training team members can truly grow themselves in all aspects. “If just one team likes being here, then that’s a success to me”.
Positivity and team spirit have elevated OG and n0tail above the standards many Dota players can ever hope to reach. He has persisted and been a part of the game for so much of his life that his style is almost immediately identifiable. It is no wonder then that so many teams feel he has something to offer them in his training space, and n0tail himself comments on how other teams are also human beings and should be treated as such.
His dedication to growing and nurturing talent has been clear from the start, and the skills he has refined have given members of his team a cutting edge in the competition, contributing to them winning TI twice. The space he sits in quite calmly as the video rolls is somewhere he has created with this in mind – a place where other players can be liberated from their stress and fatigue, and elevated as individuals within the team.
Here, n0tail has proudly created a space that he refers to as “one of the prime LAN party spots in the world”.