Some have been calling for it for years.
Some never thought they’d never see the day.
Loda is out of Alliance.
Here’s a link to the official announcement from the organization.
Alliance’s history has been tumultuous. From their contentious decision to drop EternalEnvy in favor of a 5th Swede just before TI3 to kicking EGM three times, Alliance has certainly spawned some drama. Since their big win at TI3, they’ve been unable to recreate the magic and maintain top-tier status. At TI4, where deathball strats reigned supreme, Alliance finished 11th-12th. Now, four years later, the Dota roster is an unrecognizable shade of its former self. AdmiralBulldog left to pursue streaming. S4 left for OG. Throughout years of roster instability, the core of Alliance was always the seemingly inseparable duo of two IRL friends: Akke and Loda. Akke’s departure in August of 2016 should have foreshadowed the old squad’s demise.
After Akke’s departure, the roster lived on, and Loda was now the only remaining player from the “original” lineup. Alliance added ex-Ninjas in Pajamas players jonassomfan, Handsken, and Limmp. The team placed third at WESG 2017 but hasn’t posted a first place finish since the beginning of 2016.
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Detractors of Alliance claimed that Loda was only weighing the team down at this point. Fans and critics suggested that he simply couldn’t keep up with the new generation of Dota carries.
And so, after yet another round of disappointing performances from the Alliance crowd, Era has replaced Loda on June 9th.
A Cornerstone of Professional Dota
Loda’s been around a long time. When you think about guys who basically got the scene started, we’ve got three names: Dendi, Loda, and Fear. At 29, Loda is also one of the oldest pro players still part of the scene. He’s been playing video games professionally since 2006, which is basically around the time Twitter was created. Chew on that for a minute. His partner, Kelly, has been an active champion of player rights and quality-of-life improvements. Loda also holds a position in the Alliance organization along with Akke.
An immensely popular public figure across the world, Loda’s mostly been regarded as chill and nice dude. However, he got into a physical altercation with esports journalist Richard Lewis at a DreamHack event in 2015. After issuing an apology, Loda has avoided stirring up any additional drama about the event.
Loda is photogenic and appears incredibly comfortable during interviews, a somewhat rare trait among professional gamers. His personality comes through on screen, and it’s part of what has earned him an impressive and loyal following of fans around the world. His friendship with Akke gives us a nice bromance storyline, and Alliance’s historic rivalry with Natus Vincere (El Clasico) is one of the foundation of professional Dota.
I still can’t imagine Alliance without Loda. I’ve been following professional Dota for three years, and his departure makes me feel wistful and nostalgic at the same time. As someone who is trying to deal with aging towards 30 myself, it makes me sad to see pros like Fear and Loda retire at 28 or 29. We have a bunch of new faces at the pro level, which is great, but it’s human nature to try and cling to the things we find familiar and comforting. I don’t want to believe that the old guys are all washed up just yet.
Cutting off the iconic ponytail – prophetic?
A now-deleted tweet alluded to his possible return in 2018. And it is possible that perhaps he’s just taking a break. However, a series of also-deleted tweets from his partner [ex-Alliance manager] Kelly implied that “stepping down” wasn’t actually the truth. While no further information has been made available at this time, we can speculate that is perhaps the polite Swedish way of being kicked. Only time will tell. In the meantime, here’s hoping that Loda will continue to be active at Dota events and maintain a public presence.
Thank you, Loda, for all that you’ve brought to the Dota scene.
Despite mixed competitive results, professional Dota 2 wouldn’t be where it is today without you.