Tal “Fly” Aizik has come forward about fan drama between him and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein.
The discussion took place on the most recent episode of the We Say Things podcast hosted by Shannon “SUNSfan” Scotten and Troels “syndereN” Nielsen. Quadruple major champion Fly joined them to discuss his long career and the current state of professional play. After discussions on his rise through Heroes of Newerth and the state of Dota 2, the conversation turned to Fly’s former relationship with N0tail.
“It’s been about four years since this happened, and I’ve tried to move on… But the community just won’t move on from. I compete in this game because I love it. I do interviews because I still want to engage with this community, but repeatedly being labeled as a ‘traitor’ for every match or interview for four years kinda chips away at you. I think we need to set the bar higher for ourselves and our community,” Fly said.
The incident in question was Fly’s decision to leave OG in 2018 to join American organization Evil Geniuses. Before departing, Fly and N0tail shared one of the longest player partnerships in Dota 2 history since transferring from Fnatic’s Heroes of Newerth team in early 2012. OG went on to defeat Evil Geniuses in The International 2018 semifinals later that year. The solemn handshake from that match is still one of the most iconic moments in Dota 2 history.
Since then, fans have been critical of Fly for breaking off the longtime partnership. Many fans saw N0tail as the protagonist of that story, even framing Fly’s decision as a betrayal.
In reality, that iteration of OG was shaky and struggling to get results and Fly was a perfect fit for Evil Geniuses. If Fly went on to win The International 2018 and 2019 instead, fans would probably blame N0tail instead of the current narrative. Instead of dwelling on the decision, Fly urges fans to look past the event and judge players by their current decisions.
Ultimately, all parties benefitted from Fly’s decision to move to Evil Geniuses. OG put together its two-time The International-winning lineup after Fly’s departure, and Fly’s run with Evil Geniuses was very strong.
Fly describes nightmare CN bootcamp and gaming before N0tail
In addition to discussing the fan perception of Fly and N0tail’s relationship, the all-star support also shared some war stories from his long Dota 2 career.
The most extreme story was about Evil Geniuses’ boot camp before The International 2019. According to Fly, the house they stayed in was very nice aside from a major cockroach infestation in the kitchen.
The actual practice room also had 10 routers in it for an unknown reason. Poor performances resulted in frustration, especially from EG coach Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale. Fly admitted that BuLBa’s direction ultimately did improve the team, leading to a very respectable fifth-place run worth $1.2 million.
Fly also spoke on his gaming experience before Dota 2, N0tail, and Heroes of Newerth. As a child, he played Nintendo games from the Mario franchise but notably did not play any Legend of Zelda titles. During middle school, Fly would frequently play western RPGs like Diablo 2 and Neverwinter Nights at a friend’s house. The top-down perspective might have pushed Fly towards the early MOBA genre in the 2000s.