Podcast video topics and time stamps:
3:00 - What's LodA been doing the last 6 months?
5:45 - On being the acting CEO of Alliance while still playing
7:30 - Building something that will outlast himself with Alliance
13:40 - Micke will be the best midlaner in Sweden
22:40 - The L-God will retire after two more TIs
32:05 - Thoughts on the new Major/Minor system?
35:48 - Are you targeting a specific event for Alliance's return?
44:14 - History as a player and transitioning from DotA to Dota 2
Jonathan "LodA" Berg has been playing Dota for 12 years. His career and stardom have spanned both the original DotA and Dota 2. Now the 29-year-old has embarked on what could be the last arc of his competitive career — rebuilding Alliance.
Appearing on theScore esports Podcast, LodA revealed that after two more The International events, he'll retire from competitive Dota. And those two Internationals — TI8 and TI9 — will, if all goes well, be played alongside the relatively unknown Alliance squad that he hand-picked to carry on his legacy.
LodA is coming off a prolonged break from competitive Dota, revealing that he was acting CEO of Alliance prior to and during his time off, which started in May of 2017.
After taking time away from the dual pressures of performing in and out of the game for Alliance, the L-God ultimately decided to make a return to the esport he loves.
It was during this time that LodA secured Michael "miCKe" Vu, Samuel "Boxi" Svahn, Aydin "iNSaNiA" Sarkohi and Tommy "Taiga" Lee as the Alliance roster that could define the team's future in Dota 2.
He's looking ahead to a team that can be something consistent, not necessarily an immediate success, he said.
"The most important thing is not that we win right now, but that they will grow into an amazing team," he said.
“With these guys I want to build something, as you guys know, that’s going to outlast myself as well," said LodA. “I’ve had conversations with already accomplished players, and the issue for me is that in most of the cases I can’t really trust that they would want to continue their career with a team and want to make something good out of that," he said.
It's that mentality that lead the Dota legend to Alliance's current roster of untested up-and-comers. LodA spoke particularly highly of miCKe, who he thinks is "going to be the best mid laner in Sweden" in a year.
"It’s hard to put into words sometimes [how I evaluate players] but he just has a very good combination of being extremely talented but also having a good approach to [the game] and being a good teammate," LodA said. "So I see a lot of promise there.”
High hopes for the new roster aside, LodA still feels some of the pressure of Alliance's future on his shoulders.
"I'm playing for myself this time and the most important thing is not that we win right now but that they grow into becoming an amazing team," he said. "Of course I feel pressure, but for once I’ve been able to let go of that, it doesn’t as much as you think sometimes what these infinite people say."
With that said, the superstar carry has set a deadline for his retirement and departure from competitive play.
“I’ll just give you a clear answer — yes I will quit after two TIs," said LodA. "Sure I could be the coach potentially, who knows ... but yeah I'm not looking to play more than two more TIs."
Looking ahead about a year-and-a-half from now, when LodA plans to leave professional Dota for good, he does have a goal. He told theScore esports about the importance of finding someone to carry on his role with Alliance — another star player who will care about the club and its future like he does. He said he needs to see that star rise before he'll be comfortable letting go of the organization he "feels responsible for."
That does seem to be what this process has been about for LodA, a responsibility to leave the team that his career will be remembered with — as the linchpin that kept Alliance together.
"I was there from the beginning," he said. “I can’t really let go if I know no one else will carry on."
Keith Capstick is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.