My journey as a manager : Part II

Before I continue my story, I’d like to bring some light to some minor events that have happened between the last post and this, apparently, Absolute Legends are attempting to come back to life, their site is back up with a ‘new look’ on http://www.absolutelegends.net I really don’t know how to feel about this, if anyone trusts them anymore it’s on them and not on aL, that’s all I can say.

Another impressive feat for shady people is the launch of Netolic Pro League Season 5, not only are they creating a new league, they’re actually getting officially monetized for it through Valve’s Dota TV tickets. Laurent “Ange” Blum, while being extremely shady, is nothing compared to Marco, or any of the other people over at Netolic. I was extremely appalled when I saw the news, I had to deal with those people as a team manager and it was one of the worst experiences ever, they’re highly incompetent and shady. I encourage everyone to boycott them, be it as a player, organization, or most importantly a viewer; do not let the scum of the earth profit from eSports.

Team formation alongside MaNia

It’s time to continue where I left off in Part I, following the decision to kick everyone but MaNia from Absolute Legends, it was time to start our new team from scratch. MaNia and I were really close, it was obvious that we had to work together on this one. The only thing we knew for sure was that miGGel was going to be part of it, MaNia has been wanting to play with miGGel since before we decided anything, they’re really old friends and enjoy playing with each other more than anything. We needed three more players, MaNia had been after Merlini to join him on this for a while, and Merlini was thinking about it. Unicornxoxo had been talking to MaNia when he learnt about the new team, MaNia saw potential (and he was damn right) in him, we were looking for another support to join MaNia when I realized that Miracle was teamless for a while, I seeked him out through Pajkatt and asked him if he was willing to return to comp. Dota 2 and he said this team sounds nice enough for him to try. There we had it, we were going to go with MaNia, Merlini, miGGel, Miracle and Unicornxoxo, we even have had a few official matches with this roster, it looked really promising and the PR aspect of the team (mainly thanks to Merlini) was huge. However, Merlini had come to the decision that he can not play with the team because he had to move, and was not ready to go competitive again, it was a big blow in our face, especially as aL would have paid more money if we had Merlini, but we had to move forward.

Synderen was always an option at the time but the players were skeptical about his strength as a solo mid, as well as his commitment towards Dota 2 as a player, Ryze also wanted to join, even though he did not fit the role we needed (Solo mid), the team decided to go for Ryze because they enjoy playing with him and they were confident enough in their versatility as players. This team went on as Absolute Legends for around two months before we decided to leave because payments were super late, and we just felt like it was a sinking ship. The team obviously was not the most committed in the world, they were extremely laid back, but I loved them and I truly loved managing them. They’re some of the best bunch of people you could meet in eSports on any day, every single one of them was extremely nice and down to earth, it was entertaining for me to manage them even if they were never going to hit Tier 1.
After we left Absolute Legends, we had the big issue of attending LAN events, having qualified for DreamHack and EMS One, it was time for me to get my game face on, we qualified for DH 15 days before the event, and without a sponsor the players said they most likely will not go, I could not stand the idea of that, I felt like they had to go even if their chances were not that great. I started seeking sponsorships left and right, my goal was to get this team to the next LAN events, as well as hopefully reach a long-time stable sponsor. I announced the situation on websites as well, to increase my exposure to sponsors. We were in talks with many organizations, including Copenhagen Wolves, Ninjas in Pyjamas, MYM, and Denial. However, it seemed like all of those sponsors were not willing to send us to DH on such short notice, which is understandable.

Suddenly, Pandepic (ex-manager of Natural 9, after they left aL) messaged me on Skype wondering if we needed help going to DH, saying he could most likely send us there with help of his current employer. I was really happy to hear such news, we discussed things and it seemed like he wanted to try this alley of marketing for his company, his company hosted and managed several projects, which IsMyGolf.com was one of at the time. Our job was to promote IsMyGolf.com as much as possible, and in exchange they would pay for everything we needed to go to DH. Less than a day later, another old friend (Hector ‘Frost’ Rosario, who used to work at aL) spoke to me when he heard about the news, he had recently started his own organization located in the US (Flip.Sid3 Tactics) and although they were new they were doing quite well with that RIT LAN as well as a few youtube shows. He showed interest in acquiring this team on the long run, I told him about IsMyGolf, and unlike most CEO’s in this industry, he was more than happy to work alongside with them. We reached a deal where IsMyGolf.com would only sponsor our team for DH, so they will have main tag there, then F.3 is the main sponsor onwards. I was really, really happy to see such great responses from the community as well as from old friends with small ideas that were willing to help my team. Going from Absolute Legends to Flip.Sid3 Tactics was like a complete twist, everyone is so genuine and truly caring about the players at F.3, despite being small and having very few sponsors, they were able to give us basically all they had to make sure the players were getting what they deserve, and it saddens to me to this day that they’re not getting as much attention as they deserve, hopefully that will change soon. Shoutout to everyone at Flip.Sid3 Tactics, you guys are truly some of the best.

Following a long break before, and during TI3, it was time to talk business with the team, I knew that this team needed to either adapt a new approach, or change players, I had a meeting with them and asked if they’re willing to start a new year with the goal of going to TI4. As a manager, despite loving the team, I wanted to do something big this year, even though our role is simple and completely out of the game, I wanted to ‘manage’ a team to TI4, and I’m working on that at the moment! There was a lot of back and forth talk, but basically the decision was to not play with Ryze and Miracle any more, we told them and they accepted it gracefully, I’m still in contact with both of them and they’re great, great fellows. MaNia, miGGel, and Unicorn wanted to continue, although Unicorn was unsure about his time this year cos of school commitments, they were approached by Socks and Mad, and they gave it a try. The team was doing extremely well in scrims, but Unicorn had decided to walk away from Dota 2 at least for a while, mainly because of his studies (I also think he was not enjoying playing with the new team, but that’s just an assumption).

FATA was an obvious replacement, everyone knew that he’s one of the best free agents in the scene, and we didn’t hesitate for a second to ask him to give it a shot, he tried it out and was ready to go further. Sadly after a few games, MaNia shocked me with the news that he has decided to retire competitive Dota 2, saying that he had planned that this would be his last team, but because he was not enjoying playing with this team, he had made his decision to end it right away. He thought it was best for him, and for the team. I think he disagreed with 7ckngMad’s approach, but again, everything was handled in the most professional, friendly, and generally ethical way. I was really sad to see MaNia go, hell I’m still sad about it, anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him well would tell you how great of a person he is. The team accepted it, and after a few discussions, they decided to try paS out, and after a few scrims everything was back to normal, going stable and steady, and since then we’ve been stable. I skipped through the organizations part because it really was extremely back and forth, I think it would be really boring to read about it, but if enough readers are interested I will write it in a separate post. Regardless, we ended up with a new idea, Sigma.int, a structure with an investor’s funding and the knowledge of every single player as well as staff member, including myself and ShiBa, the two managers of the team. 7ckingMad runs a big part of Sigma.int, and he’s doing a really fine job at it so far. The team is going at a great rate, and although we could have done better at the last LAN, I still believe we’re 100% on the right track.

Life is rather easy at Sigma.int, as a manager, since ShiBa is basically managing the team with me, although recently he’s been rather busy, he’s always available to help if I’m not here. 7ckingMad himself does a lot for the team, in terms of everything from PR to scheduling, it’s just a really easy team to manage, but I still enjoy doing it and I love those players. The mutual trust relationship I’ve always had with my players is something I take a lot of pride in.

This pretty much sums it up, I know this wasn’t the most interesting read, but I wanted to shed some light on the process of team creation, what happens when you’re forced to make a change to the team. I also wanted to share that you CAN get a sponsor for events if you try your hardest, I hope I gave some helpful advice in this aspect but you can always ask me if you have any questions.

Update : For anyone who is interested, I will be joining the great Finch tomorrow in the First Pick show, where we will discuss many things related to managers, this blog, as well as the scene in general. There’s a good chance that my good mate Charlie ‘Monolith’ Yang, ex-manager of Dignitas and current manager of Speed Gaming will be joining as well!

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