If you’re someone who keeps up with the Esports world, then there is no way that you wouldn't have heard of the legendary Dota 2 player, Johan Sundstein aka NOtail. In today’s blog, we’re going to look at his career in the Esports world and how he started his journey to become the best Dota 2 player in the world.
Johan’s early life
Sundstein, whose parents are from the Faroe Islands and whose grandpa is the former Faroese Prime Minister Jógvan Sundstein, was born on October 8 and raised in Denmark. When Sundstein was two years old, he first started playing video games. Sundstein graduated from high school early so that he could focus only on esports. At the young age of 15, Sundstein, who was then a solo middle, became one of the youngest professional Heroes of Newerth players. He began by playing haphazard pub games on HoN servers before deciding to team up alongside Tal "Fly" Aizik and Jascha "NoVa" Markuse. The manager of Fnatic noticed them and took them under his wing as an unofficial side project. The start of Johan's professional career was precipitated by this event.
Johan played the solo mid role in Heroes of Newerth and was one of the world's youngest competitive gamers. After the transition to Dota 2, Johan assumed the support role and rose to fame for his portrayals of Chen and Wisp. He quickly honed his micromanagement abilities during this period of transition, which led to his legendary Meepo play. Johan was the Fnatic.EU Dota 2 team's in-game captain despite his advanced age.
Heroes of Newerth - NOtail’s trio/ team
At the age of 15, N0tail met Tal "Fly" Aizik and Jascha "NoVa" Markuse in-game, where they made the decision to begin playing together. The trio evolved into Danijel "StreeT" Remus, the manager of Fnaticunofficial's side project. The group combined with the original Fnatic players Henrik "FreshPro" Hansen and Kalle "Trixi" Saarinen following changes to the Fnatic Heroes of Newerth lineup and the performance of N0tail and his buddies. The team soon started to succeed in online competitions, winning their first LAN match at DreamHack Winter 2011. Johan was able to lead his team to first-place finishes in four straight DreamHack competitions.
Sundstein's first Esports tournament
N0tail got his start in esports through Heroes of Newerth, a competitive MOBA that was released as a spiritual successor to Dota. He formed his team with his best friend Tal “Fly” Aizik, and it was sponsored by Fnatic. They won first place at every tournament for the first six months of 2011, as well as the Heroes of Newerth World 2010.
How did NOtail make $9 million by gaming?
Johan "N0tail" Sundstein is the highest-earning e-sports player in the world, having taken more than $7.4m (£5.4m) in prize money to date. "n0tail" also captained his underdog Dota 2 squad to an improbable first place finish at The International 8 in August, netting the roster over $11 million in winnings. Sundstein's team is sponsored by Red Bull.
He has made a huge fortune by winning numerous tournaments, multiple endorsement deals, advertisements, sponsors, etc. NOtail has become a brand name now in the Esports market and he is rightfully one of the most famous players in the world.
Highlights from NOtail's career
- NOtail had the highest average deaths per game (9.55) at The International 2018.
- He holds the record for the most deaths (20) in a single game at The International. He achieved this feat while playing for OG as Pugna against Virtus.pro during Game 2 of their Group Stage series at The International 2017.
- He is the player with the highest tournament earnings in Dota 2 and Esports.
Does NOtail plan on making a career in Esports?
N0tail has come a long way since this 2015 loss — he’s a two-time winner of The International (2018 and 2019), a four-time major champion, and a co-owner of OG Esports — but he had to refine his leadership style in order to get to where he is today. N0tail retired from professional play in early 2022 and is now focused on being co-owner of OG Esports. He’s transferred the energy that he’d put into those winning teams to developing players in esports outside of Dota, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and VALORANT.
NOtail's views on gaming and his own journey
“He’s always been this beacon of light. And purity, you know?” OG’s CEO JMR Luna said of N0tail. “He’s always been kind and always loving. Before he was just like this free soul, and now he’s more like a contained leader, very approachable. He has learned how to craft and shape that light that he gives. It feels more purposeful and more intentional. But, at the same time, it is still completely authentic. He’s super, super authentic every single second.” NOtail's often been appreciated by his contemporaries in such a way.
"The competition basically asks for all of your time, so you need to be ready to sacrifice all your time. If you're not the best, if your peak, your talent, and whatever else you have is not good enough, then the only thing you can do is work harder," said N0tail in the Monkey Business podcast on 11 Jan. With the current format, N0tail said that “Dota is not so much about peaking anymore. It’s about making it throughout the year then peaking at TI". Johan’s story is the one to take inspiration from. And he is just one of the many people who have proved that making a career in Esports is possible and not just a career, but you can thrive in it if you have the right skills and talent.
We hope this blog gave you an insight into the life of Johan Sundstein and how he achieved so much through gaming.
You can also head to Tournafest's official YouTube channel for informative videos related to gaming and the Esports industry!
If you enjoyed reading this blog, you might also like to read about other blogs from Tournafest from varying genres of the gaming industry.
If you enjoy playing video games, you might want to download the Tournafest app from Google Play or the App Store to compete in Esports Tournaments and Scrims for games such as BGMI, Free Fire MAX, Pokemon unite, CS:GO, CODM:MP, Valorant and Call of Duty and win exciting prizes! You may also organize tournaments and fetch unmatched perks.
Stay tuned for more and we will see you later!
Until next time,