'I need a break': OG's N0tail steps away from competitive Dota 2

OG captain and two-time The International champion Johan
OG captain and two-time The International champion Johan "N0tail" Sundstein, the most decorated player in the history of Dota 2 and the winningest player in all of esports, will be taking a well-deserved break from competitive play. (Photo: OG)

OG captain and two-time The International (TI) champion Johan "N0tail" Sundstein announced on Saturday (20 November) that he will be taking a break from professional play for "at least a year" and skipping the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season to mentor the team's new roster.

“I’m personally taking at least a year off, taking a health break so to speak… For now, all I know is that I need a break. I’m very content, very happy. I’m lucky to have played with the guys I’ve played with for the past two years. I feel fulfilled. But I need a break,” N0tail said in a statement.

Following a disappointing showing at TI10 in October where they got swept out of the tournament by eventual champions Team Spirit, OG now have no players remaining on their active roster as N0tail steps away from the professional scene.

Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan and Martin "Saksa" Sazdov also parted ways with the team earlier this month, Sébastien “Ceb” Debs has retired, while Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen has also taken a break from pro play to be with his family.

OG are expected to announce its new roster for the 2021-2022 DPC on Sunday (21 November) shortly before the pre-season roster lock.

While he will no longer have an active role within the team, N0tail will remain with the new OG roster in their headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal as their mentor. He will also be streaming and creating content during his break from competitive play.

“I think it is essential that veteran players work with new players and help them develop. After all, during all these many years we have learned so many things. About Dota, about becoming a good teammate, how it is to be a professional player. That knowledge needs to be shared. We don’t want the next version of OG to be a carbon copy of the current one. But we believe that if we can transfer what we know, and let them add to this, then the ceiling will be much higher, and we can help them get there quicker. Hopefully save them from some of our mistakes," said N0tail.

The 2021-2022 DPC season will be starting at the end of November and has been split into three Tours for the Fall, Winter, and Spring, with the regional leagues taking place from 29 November 2021 to 17 July 2022.

The winningest player in all of esports

N0tail is the most decorated player in the history of Dota 2, being the only one that can boast a list of accolades that includes five Major championships and two TI championships. He is also the highest-earning player in all of esports with over US$7.1 million in estimated winnings from competing in tournaments alone, according to esportsearnings.com.

N0tail began his professional esports career in Heroes of Newerth at the age of 15, becoming one of the most accomplished players in that game before moving to Dota 2 in 2012. He led Fnatic's then-European roster until August 2014 when he joined Team Secret's first legendary line-up that also included Kuro Salehi "Kuroky" Takhasomi, Gustav "s4" Magnusson, Tal "Fly" Aizik, and Clement "Puppey" Ivanov.

N0tail parted ways with Secret in January 2015 to join Cloud9, where he played for seven months before leaving. N0tail then reunited with Fly and joined forces with Amer "Miracle" Al-Barkawi, David "MoonMeander" Tan, and Andreas "Cr1t-" Nielsen to form the (monkey) Business roster in August 2015 that then became the first OG line-up in October.

N0tail led OG to winning the first-ever Dota 2 Major, the Frankfurt Major, in November 2015. While Miracle, MoonMeander, and Cr1t would eventually leave for other teams, N0tail and Fly continued to build on OG's success with new players such as ana, s4, and JerAx and won three more Major championships in the Manila Major in June 2016, the Boston Major in December 2016, and the Kiev Major in April 2017.

Fly and s4 suddenly left OG for Evil Geniuses in May 2018, which left the team scrambling to assemble a roster in time to compete in TI8. OG managed to fill its roster in June by having N0tail move to a supporting role alongside JerAx, having Ceb leave his coaching position and join the active roster as the offlaner, ana return as the carry, and have newcomer Topson be the midlaner.

OG qualified for TI8 through the open qualifiers and were branded as heavy underdogs entering the tournament due to its hastily-assembled roster. Against all odds, N0tail and OG on an unprecedented run to win TI8 and claim their first Aegis of Champions. The team notably outlasted Chinese juggernauts PSG.LGD, 3-2, in one of the best TI grand final showdowns in the history of the game to claim their title.

While many dismissed their run to the championship at TI8 as a fluke, Ceb and OG proved doubters wrong in the following year. They dominated TI9 and defeated Team Liquid, 3-1, in the grand finals to become the first-ever team to claim the Aegis of Champions twice and in back-to-back years.

“Johan is the light that guides OG forward. But being that source of light is specially draining on him. He is always there for everyone, always giving. But during the last year we could see how exhausted he was. You could feel it. He needs a break. And no one deserves it more, because no one gives more than him. To every task, to every project, and to every person around him. He needs a break and he is going to have all our love and support while we make a little space for him,” OG CEO JMR Luna said of N0tail.

"Dota has shaped me, shaped my life and given me countless priceless lessons. Memory lane is beautiful and I got so many people to thank for that!" N0tail said in a post on his personal Twitter account.

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