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“Alliance Dota will live on”: Loda unveils new roster for TI-winning banner

The team is hoping to replicate the camaraderie that helped bring Alliance to victory over four years ago.

Alliance have announced their new roster for the competitive season, including several players signed on with two-year contracts, and featuring several of the players from WESG Sweden Team.

“Jonathan [‘Loda’ Berg] has been looking to create a core group that is able to represent Alliance long-term and to recreate the bond between five players that Alliance rose to fame with,” the organization shared in a press release on Wednesday.

The new roster is as follows, in alphabetical order by gamertag:

  • Samuel “Boxi” Svahn — Offlane
  • Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi —Support
  • Jonathan “Loda” Berg — Carry
  • Michael “Micke” Vu — Mid
  • Tommy “Taiga” Le (formerly “st_st”) — Support

It’s unknown when the team will make its first formal appearance in a competition.

“A hunger and inner drive in these players”

The formation of the squad isn’t just for the sake of an event or few. When asked about the goals of the roster, Berg shared to The Flying Courier that he is looking to build a strong squad from the ground up that will last for years to come.

“Apart from the money put into the cloning machine,” he stated, joking in reference to the uniformly-Scandinavian lineup, “the most important part for me, has been to trust my instinct and experience with the goal of building a team that I believe can achieve new goals both with me, and keep on reaching new peaks after I eventually retire. There is a hunger and inner drive in these players that I believe is just what we need to succeed in the long run. We are building something lasting together from the bottom up.”

Of course, his success isn’t just a hope for the far future; Berg is extremely optimistic about the team’s potential in the months leading up to TI8 next summer.

“Our short term goal is of course focusing on improving our play as a team and build a strong foundation,” he said. “For this season leading up to the next TI we are aiming to qualify and place highly in a Major. I know I speak for everyone in the team when I say that with proper preparation it's a goal we can reach for sure!”

Creating established players

In a statement for the press release, Berg shared his confidence in the selection of players, despite their lack of fame.

The Dota 2 roster will feature Loda and several fresh Scandinavian faces.
Courtesy of Alliance

“I have taken my time building this team, reminding myself what it is all about,” he explained. “Many of you were hoping to see one or two stars on the roster, it did not end that way. We are not a team that picks up established players, we create them. Barring that, some of these boys have been on LAN tournaments since they were 13 years old and already have more than one achievement under the belt.”

Sarkhoi most recently played for the WESG Sweden stack, and formerly European Team Tuho early in the Pro Circuit season.

“It feels great to follow the footsteps of so many great players and playing alongside the living legend himself,” said Sarkohi for the press release. “I believe that with the mixture of Loda's experience and our drive to improve and learn, we are going to be able to create something great. If we continue working hard, I think this upcoming season will be amazing.”

The organization has high hopes specifically for Vu and Sarkohi as professional players the long term, giving both players an extended contract with the organization—two years, according to a statement from Berg. The presser explains:

Jonathan was considering mid-player Michael as early as 2016 and is excited to finally have the young Swedish prodigy on the team. Aydin, the former Heroes of the Newerth-player, have previously played together in various teams with Michael during the past year and take the position five support role in the new team. Jonathan is positive that both Aydin and Michael will carry on the Alliance legacy even after his active years as a competitive players players and thusly both have a longer contract than what is customary in Dota.Svahn and Le, meanwhile, have mostly made appearances in event qualifier stacks. Both appeared on a team with recent Alliance player Axel "Pablo" Källman, and Le aimed for the Kiev Major qualifiers with Russian team SFTe-sports.

While Vu is on the WESG Sweden team with Berg, Sarkohi and others, the org disclosed that Vu has a hand injury requiring surgery in the winter, meaning the Alliance roster itself will need to slowly transition into its Pro Circuit chase. When asked about the team’s upcoming plans for training, Berg shared with TFC that Vu’s initial goal will be recover.

“Once Michael is back to playing we will be preparing a bootcamp and be sure to put all our focus and time into improving together and become a force to be feared again.”

“Alliance will live on”

Alliance keeps a central goal of fostering Scandinavian esports professionals across several games, including several top players in Super Smash Bros Melee, among others.

It was founded by Berg himself and several sponsors and investors from the wildly successful No Tidehunter squad in early 2013. This team kept a winning streak that season that eventually included The International 3, featuring a final match versus fellow legends Natus Vincere that’s considered to be one of the greatest in esports history.

Most recently before this, Alliance recruited a squad to attempt to qualify for The International, and Berg announced a hiatus. That specific iteration disbanded in late August during the post-TI7 roster swap period.

Now, Loda hopes to bring on “a new era” for this storied banner.

“When I say this is the beginning of something new it is due the simple reason that I am slowly preparing for my retirement and building my legacy. It is important to me that Alliance Dota will live on, not in the shadow of our previous results, but with the goal to surpass them.”